Arnage was born as a derivative of Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. While the
RR used BMW’s normally aspirated V12, the Bentley twin-turbocharged the
BMW 4.4-litre V8 to 350 horsepower. However, Bentley’s customers never
got accustomed to its weak torque - though 413 lbft, it was no match
Bentley’s usual 600 lbft, and it needed rev to exploit the performance.
taken over by Volkswagen group, the latter made a logical decision to
the BMW engine and rework the old 6.75 V8 turbo. The result is Arnage
Label, with 400hp and 619lbft.
ancient V8 could
not cope with tougher new EU emission regulations, thus Volkswagen
re-engineered it in 2002 and launched two models - the hotter 450hp
T first, and then the standard Arnage R with 400hp. See below for more
above report was last updated on 14 Oct 2002. All Rights Reserved.
Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph - the forerunner of
first all-new Rolls-Royce for 18 years....the first Rolls-Royce
V12 engine....the first Rolls-Royce built largely on German
its name is 100% traditional to Rolls-Royce - Silver Seraph.
looks very bit a RR - huge, aerodynamic inefficient ( cd. 0.38 ) but
and well built. Rounder edges gives it more modernised feel
preserve traditional style. Quite adequate to RR. Under the skin, you
find a 65% stronger chassis that prevent the car from flexing as severe
as before, accompany with stiffer suspensions, Silver Seraph rolls less
in corner and provides much more confidence in fast driving. However,
is just relative to the old car. It still feels bulky by today's
Nor the wooden steering can help.
for the benefit of handling. Inevitably it hurts, although slightly,
low speed ride. Nevertheless, shock absorption is still good enough to
compare with other luxury cars. High speed ride and stability is
engine is supplied
by BMW, as well as the adaptive damping, ZF 5 speed automatic and other
components that comprise of 30% of this car. 322hp is 4hp down from BMW
750il, but who notice ? It is not as powerful as the 400hp Flying Spur
that it replaced, but far more smoother, quieter and less thirsty. So I
think no one will mind the little deterioration in performance.
It looks modern and classy. Still covered by beautiful wood and leather
everywhere. Autocar criticised that its rear head room has been reduced
- it no longer leads other luxurious cars in this aspect.
above report was last updated in 1998. All Rights Reserved.
Bentley Arnage T
Rolls-Royce/Bentley’s standard, the 4-year-old Arnage is still young.
the standards of EU emission regulations, it isn’t. Remember, the
push-rod V8 started life some 40 years ago, while another engine - the
BMW-sourced 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 - has been rejected due to
pressure. The whole car is not much better, as it was developed in
budget when the company was still owned by Vickers. Vickers is renowned
for making tanks, therefore the Arnage also drives like a tank.
and Dr. Piech’s personal preference of this marque (his daily company
is a Bentley), and with the help of German engineers and their R&D
facilities, Bentley has upgraded the Arnage to Series II. With more
and money spent to the reengineering than that spent to the original
this car should be promising. To attract the attention of automotive
the first Series II car launched is Arnage T, the hottest model of the
With the "T"
we can’t help comparing it with the coupe Continental T. Both uses a
turbocharged V8. The Continental T cranks out 420 horsepower,
but the new Arnage T adds another 30hp. Cool. In terms of maximum
although the Arnage is 5 lbft shy of the Continental’s 650 lbft, it is
still the second most torquey car in the world. Compare with the
Arnage (Series I) Red Label, the new engine generates an extra 50hp and
26 lbft. Moreover, the torque curve is flatter and keener at low rev
turbo lag is reduced. Most important, the new engine complies with EU4
emission regulation effective in 2004. The old engine complied only EU3.
contribute to these improvements is a 50% new engine. The V8 still
the ancient push-rod and 2-valve-per-cylinder architecture, but most
parts were revised, such as using new pistons, lighter Nimonic exhaust
valves, revised valve timing and lift, new management system, improving
coolant flowing in the block and using double-wall stainless steel
manifold, the latter reduces cold-start emission. However, the most
change is switching from single big turbo to two smaller Garret T3
This boosts power while reducing turbo lag. Twin-turbo format also
the catalytic converters to be positioned nearer to the exhaust
reducing preheat time hence cold start emission. This is very crucial
complying with EU4 regulation.
the V8 was
not changed. It is again the GM-sourced 4-speed automatic, the only
in the world that can handle the torque of Bentley.
braces increased chassis rigidity by 10%, although they also brought 15
more kilograms. 57% stiffer suspension setup at front wheels and (for
first time) an anti-roll bar at rear wheels lifts roll-resistance
and less understeer too. Wide 255mm tyres wrapping 18-inch wheels (or
optional) improve grip. In case of losing control, the new ESP
control can also prevent tragedies from happening. Finally, to give
sporty feel to the driver, power steering has been tweaked to increase
weight, while adaptive damping has been reprogrammed to bias towards
On the Road
The Arnage has
presence, not only because it is huge but also due to its elegant
It feels far more prestige than any German luxurious sedans - S-class
7-series included. I love its mesh grille, unique headlights and a lot
of chromed details. As I can imagine, this is the only car appropriate
for serving Royal families. A S-class ? no way.
and it is
another league higher. What you see is the world’s best craftsmanship,
unlike the mass-production feel of other luxurious sedans. Predictably,
it uses the best materials - beautiful wood and high-quality leather
everywhere. And the way these materials put together is stylishly done,
also full of character. Dark color scheme looks tasteful enough, so is
the 5 retro gauges above center console and the metal dashboard panel
milled patterns. The latter reminds me another British classic - Morgan
Aero 8. The lacquar-heavy wooden transmission tunnel is another visual
joy, especially the shifter knob and gate are so expensive-looking.
more refined than the old one, power delivery is more elastic and the
delivery is smoother. That said, some might miss the old engine’s surge
once the single turbo cut-in. On straight line, the Arnage T is
very fast. Whether it is "the fastest production 4-door sedan in the
as claimed by Bentley is quite debatable. Officially, it does 0-60mph
5.5 seconds, which is of course not the fastest. The tricky point is
does not limit the top speed electronically, allowing the car to reach
its aerodynamic barrier at 168mph, unlike most other sports sedans that
are voluntarily limited to 155mph. If these cars have their speed
disabled, I am sure many will out-perform the Bentley. Despite of
the Bentley has a drag coefficient so poor that it refuses to reveal.
realize that the T is much keener to change direction than the Series I
Red Label. Stiff suspensions and grippy tyres help a lot. Ride quality
is not as good, of course, but for a car weighing 2.6 tons and having a
wheelbase exceeding 3.1 meters, it can still cover any surfaces at
it does not provide a ride as supple as S-class and 7-series either.
who would have spent big development budget into air suspensions ?
If you want to
drive it like
S63AMG or 760Li, you are probably either a) crazy or b) naive. The
is not only too big and too heavy, but whose chassis design also came
the old school. Drive it in tight bends, it will roll, it will
rear wheels will spin under throttle (think about those 645 lbft !).
result is ESP engages all the time.
Arnage is still
in a class of its own, at least before the BMW-engineered Rolls-Royce
out. If you want the ultimate prestige car, this is the only choice.
T might not be the smartest choice, because all its good points will be
seen in the forthcoming new Red Label. Perhaps a less sporting tune
suit Arnage more.
above report was last updated on 23 Feb 2002. All Rights Reserved.
Bentley Arnage R
means something hot for other brands, but Bentley uses it to represent
the standard Arnage, versus the hotter Arnage T. Compare with the T,
R gets softer suspension setup, slightly smaller wheels and higher
tyres, and more important, the 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 has been
from 450 to 400 horsepower, from 645 to 616 lbft. The result is a
car - but still seriously quick - and more comfortable ride. Everything
predictable. Also predictable
is it still
makes little sense if you can have some fine German limousines at half
the price yet offering more comfort and far sharper handling. Yes, it
a lot from the Red Label, but a Bentley is still a Bentley.
above report was last updated on 14 Oct 2002. All Rights Reserved.
£223,000 Azure is the most expensive Bentley as well as the most
expensive convertible luxury car in the world. This car is designed for
the world's richest people to travel gracefully and relaxingly during
weekends, enjoying sunshine and fresh air.
The Azure is basically a 2-door convertible version of Arnage. It
shares the luxury sedan's very long wheelbase to ensure the cabin –
even eaten up by the hood storage – provides plenty of space for the
rear passengers. As you would expect, the cabin is trimmed with the
best wood and leather in a conservative design, while the fabric roof
is a high quality item. It consists of 3 layers, so the cabin is well
insulated from noise and heat. By pressing a button, the soft roof
closes by hydraulic and, 25 seconds later, stores neatly under the hood
For a convertible with a
wheelbase so long, chassis rigidity must be a big problem. Therefore
apart from the usual reinforcement at windscreen pillars and side
sills, Bentley / Volkswagen's engineers thought of a solution never
tried before: they added 2 immensely stiff carbon fiber cross braces to
reinforce the floorpan, linking between the front and rear subframes.
As a result, the Azure's chassis shows little signs of flexing or
scuttle shake. It offers nice ride quality and refinement, while
handling isn't far off from Arnage T.
Of course, you won't expect
Mercedes S600 level of handling in the 2.7-ton Bentley. But scale back
your expectation, relax your body in the big leather chair and enjoy
the tremendous torque from the 6.75-litre twin-turbo (whisper:
push-rod) V8, the effortless performance of Azure still is worth
admiring. It has 450 horsepower and 645 pound-feet in reserve. Top
speed is 168mph while 0-60 mph takes 5.9 seconds. That should be more
than enough for a luxury open cruiser.
However, the point of Bentley (as well as Rolls-Royce) is not
performance, but to offer the best quality things regardless of price
and weight. This separate it from the mass market Mercedes. It won't
have any direct rivals at least until the arrival of the new generation
above report was last updated on 28 Jun 2006. All Rights Reserved.
500hp Arnage T
6.75-liter V8 can be traced back to the 1959 Bentley S2. It is hard to
believe that today it is still surviving, complying with the latest
emission standards and still amazes its customers by its tremendous
torque. BMW once tried to replace it with a modern multi-valve
4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but in the end the ancient engine outlasted
the new engine and becomes the longest serving engine in automotive
Under the management of Volkswagen group, the old V8 received a second
lease of life in 2002, thanks to a switch to twin-turbochargers, new
engine management system, exhaust control and many new components. At
the same time, the aging chassis of Arnage was also updated. (See my
Four years have passed. It's time for Bentley / Volkswagen to update
the car again. The first thing under surgery is the engine. The
existing Arnage T has 450 horsepower on tap while the lesser Arnage R
has 400hp. They are not actually short of power. But as everybody else
is adding horsepower, more punch won't be a bad idea. Therefore
Volkswagen replaced the 2 Garret turbochargers with 2 new Mitsubishi
turbochargers which boost more power, and employs roller rocker
followers on the valvegears to reduce friction. As a result, the Arnage
R now has the same output as the outgoing Arnage T (that's 450hp and
645lbft), while Arnage T itself is upgraded to a full 500 horsepower
and, wow, 738 lbft of torque. In S.I. unit that is a magic number: 1000
Nm. It levels with AMG's twin-turbo 6-liter V12 and trails only the
mighty Bugatti Veyron, which is still an untouchable 987 lbft.
With the increased power, Arnage T now takes 5.2 seconds to go from
0-60 mph (previous: 5.7 sec), very respectable for a 2585 kg limousine.
Thanks to the free of speed limiter, top speed is raised from 168 mph
to 179 mph. Apart from stronger performance, the Mitsubishi
turbochargers have lower inertia thus quickens throttle response
markedly. The driver feels better connected to the machine and
therefore more satisfying.
However, the biggest progress is not the engine but the gearbox.
Bentley finally said good-bye to the outdated GM 4-speed automatic and
replaced it with a ZF 6-speed automatic. This is the first time the ZF
unit (first born in BMW 7-series and since then used in many luxury
saloons and grand tourers) fitted to an engine so torquey. It requires
strengthened internal clutches to handle the 1000Nm of torque. The
shift quality of the 6-speed unit is far smoother than the GM unit, and
the extra ratios reduces the power fluctuation further. Moreover, in
swift driving the ZF unit locks up its torque converter to deliver
instant response, so that the laggy feel of the old transmission is
Unlike the powertrain, the chassis is mostly untouched. The only
modification is an improved ESP, which intervenes more gently. That
said, the big Bentley is not a match for the smaller and lighter
Mercedes S-class, BMW 7-series or Audi A8 for driver appeal. Its
steering, brakes and bulkiness leave many things to be desired. Despite
of the increased power and performance, it still is a luxury car in the
first hand. Its strongest cards are still the British style,
luxuriously crafted cabin and the effortless performance enabled by the
ample bottom end torque. The new found refinement from the engine,
transmission and stability control just adds to this luxury feel. So,
is it better than Rolls-Royce Phantom and Maybach? my head says no, but
my heart says yes.
above report was last updated on 14 Sep 2006. All Rights Reserved.
|The last derivative of Arnage family
remains high on style and quality
10-year-old Bentley Arnage is going to enter history next year, when a
new Volkswagen-developed large Bentley replace it. Before this happen,
Bentley is going to produce 550 units of this Brooklands coupe based on
the Arnage platform. You can see it as the successor of the late
Continental T coupe, or more precisely, the hardtop version of the
current Azure. As you would expect for a Bentley coupe, it is huge,
gracefully styled and impeccably built. Handsomer than Rolls-Royce
Phantom Coupe and more dynamically competent as well. It will top 184
mph and accelerate from rest to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat. This could be
the ultimate luxury coupe regardless of price.
|Same wheelbase as Arnage gurantees a
lot of room
As seen from
the Brooklands has an unusually long wheelbase for a coupe, i.e.,
actually the same as the Arnage sedan. No wonder it provides the
roomiest rear seat space I have ever seen in a 2-door coupe. The rear
seats are set 100 mm further back compare with the convertible Azure,
so two 6-footers can sit behind 6-footers with plenty of legroom and
head room to
spare. The luxurious interior is truly delicious, a perfect combination
of British-luxury styling, the finest materials and craftsmanship. The
four individual seats are super-comfy. The lower roofline and free of
B-pillars adds a special feel.
|Which luxury coupe has a more
delicious cabin ?
lack of B-pillars does not deteriorate chassis rigidity. On the
contrary, the Brooklands is stiffer than the sedan, thanks to the
strengthening carried over from the convertible Azure (A-pillars, door
sills, rear quarter panels etc.) and the welded steel roof. The immense
chassis rigidity allows a stiffer (by 50-60%) suspension setting
without ruining refinement. The optional carbon ceramic brakes (with
huge 420mm front discs and 356mm rear) contribute to unbelievably good
braking and better ride quality as well. In addition to the lower
center of gravity, the big Bentley coupe feels noticeably more agile
and responsive than Arnage. The steering is crisper yet well damped.
Body control is tightened. The Brooklands feels quite sporting, and
more dynamically competent than you would believe from its size and
2665 kg kerb weight. In fact, it is actually a more engaging drive than
the lighter and smaller Continental GT Speed !
|The best Bentley of the current
6.75-liter twin-turbo push-rod V8 used here is the most potent version
ever appeared. Thanks to freer intake and exhaust and revised valve
timing, it produces 530 horsepower or 30 hp more than Arnage T. An
astonishing 774 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm guarantees stronger
acceleration than the billionaires ask for. Above all, the engine and
transmission are refined, working in harmony with the suspensions to
deliver a quiet driving environment. The Brooklands is not only the
last derivative of Arnage family, but also by far the best.
above report was last updated on 20 Feb 2008. All Rights Reserved.