The basic Bentley sedan is largely hand-built and is essentially the same as the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. But the Arnage has a slightly different appearance noticeable especially at the grille and it possesses several unique features. No substantial changes for the Arnage have been announced for 2002. Bentley is a slightly lower-priced companion brand to Rolls-Royce, though neither marque sells motorcars that cost less than $200,000.
Bentley Motors introduced a special Arnage Long Wheelbase model at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2001. Painted in Tungsten Grey, the extended-length sedan features an interior with mobile office and entertainment systems. Seats are covered in linen-colored leather with a deep grain finish. The veneered rear center console contains a bottle chiller and cocktail cabinet, double-folding writing tables and a mobile phone storage compartment. Bentley has not announced any production plans for the extended-wheelbase sedan. If you think in terms of very successful individuals who are completely in tune with todays fast-moving business world, then this very contemporary Bentley personal limousine is the perfect car for them, says John Killick, director of personal commissioning for Bentley Motors.
On sale elsewhere in the world, Bentley also produces a Green Label model that carries a 350-horsepower, 4.4-liter BMW V-8 engine with twin turbochargers. Only the Red Label Arnage has been sold in the United States recently, and it carries Bentleys own 400-hp, 6.75-liter V-8 with a single turbocharger. Bentley claims that the Red Labels engine produces more torque 619 pounds-feet than any production sedan in the world. Both models use automatic transmissions: a five-speed on the Green Label, but a four-speed on the American-market Red Label.
Bentley and Rolls-Royce still retain their original ownership, but this will change on Jan. 1, 2003. At that time, Volkswagen will assume ownership of Bentley, while BMW takes over Rolls-Royce. Until then, the companys current owners will produce, sell and service both marques worldwide.
Many people expect a hand-built car of Bentleys stature and pedigree to be virtually the size of a yacht. But this isnt so. The Arnage is a relatively modest 212.3 inches long and measures a few inches shorter than the Lincoln Town Car. The Arnages wheelbase, however, is on the long side at 122.8 inches.
Weight is another story. The Arnage has a curb weight of 5,864 pounds, and Bentley has estimated that a fully loaded sedan tips the scale at a hefty 6,275 pounds. Outside mirrors can be folded in electronically, when required, and feature electrochromatic glass to reduce night glare. A satellite-based navigation system with a 3-D horizon view is standard. In addition to more than two dozen standard factory colors, custom finishes can be specified. A 26.4-gallon fuel tank is installed for good reason, as fuel economy is not a reason to buy a Bentley.
Bentley buyers may choose walnut, oak, birds-eye maple or black lacquer interior trim to complement what the company calls grade-A hide upholstery, which is available in 23 colors. Tucked amid all this traditional luxury are several technological treats: A satellite-linked navigation system includes a screen that pops up from the dashboard when in use but is concealed when shut off. The drivers seat automatically moves rearward to ease entry and exit, and both sides of the rear seat also shift positions.
Under the Hood
In the Red Label model, Bentleys turbocharged, 6.75-liter V-8 engine develops 400 hp and works with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Bentley claims the Red Label Arnage can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is a phenomenal figure for a car that weighs more than 3 tons. Its top speed is governed at 155 mph.
Engine specifications for the new Arnage R are similar to the Red Label, but the twin-turbo V-8 in the Arnage T produces 450 horsepower. Bentley claims the T sedan can reach 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard. Side-impact airbags have not been available in the Red Label, but they are standard in the Series Two models. Curtain-type airbags also are included in the new Arnage T and Arnage R sedans. An Electronic Stability Program also is installed in Series Two models.