The Azure convertible is manufactured in Crewe, England, at the same facility that turns out Bentley's Arnage sedans and special Mulliner editions.
At a dedicated Azure assembly area, about 6,500 spot welds are performed by hand using robotics to locate and clinch all closure panels. Finishing work is done in the Mulliner department, and the use of lightweight carbon-fiber cross braces contributes to the Azure's "exceptional levels of body stiffness," according to the company. The car hits U.S. dealerships in spring 2006.
Bentley says the new model's design was inspired not only by the 1995 - 2002 Azure, but also by the 1955 Park Ward S1 drophead coupe. In addition to borrowing its double-wishbone suspension and rigid body structure from four-door Bentleys, the new two-door Azure shares its front fascia with the current Arnage sedan.
The bumpers are body-colored, and chrome trim runs the length of the car's lower sides. The Azure's three-layer fabric top is hydraulically operated and can stow beneath a hide-trimmed tonneau cover in less than 30 seconds.
Up to four people can fit inside the Azure. The company's stated goal was clear: to create an opulent and inviting seating area that reflects its status as a car that is at home in Palm Springs or the Riviera.
Under the Hood
The Azure's twin-turbocharged 6.8-liter V-8 develops 450 horsepower and 645 pounds-feet of torque. A four-speed-automatic transmission is standard.
Front and rear side-impact airbags and an electronic stability system are installed. Pop-up bolsters can deploy in the event of a rollover, and the windshield has been reinforced.