Bentley Arnage T oozes elegance

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                            Bentley Arnage T oozes elegance
                            [By Mark Maynard]
                            The Bentley Arnage T reminds me of a lovely, old English manor that has been updated with modern plumbing and
                            appliances.



It retains the bearing walls, flavor and attitude   For California cars, fuel economy on 9           “No matter what you want, we can do it if you
from the country of its manufacture, but with       octane is an Environmental Protection             can write the check - and as long as it is not
some allowances for electronic conveniences         Agency rated 0/5 miles per gallon city/         illegal,” says spokesman David Reuter says.
and enhancements. But just some.                    highway and /6 in states not requiring
                                                    California’s similar emission controls.           Just about everything you touch and feel
While this English make and model rolls on          Bentley says the engine is ULEV rated, but        inside the car is leather. The rest is wood,
in an aura of untouchable luxury, the broad-        the www.greenvehicleguide.com gives the           chrome and some high-grade carpet.
shouldered sedan is at once a quaint and            engine an above-average 6 out of 0 for air
                                                                                                      The leather work is gorgeous to admire - except
charming stage for scorching, thunderous            pollution but zero for greenhouse gases.
                                                                                                      for that little wrinkle I noticed in the front seam
acceleration.
                                                                                                      of the dash-top stitching. The “hides,” in Bentley
                                                    At idle, the engine vibrates the ground. At
                                                                                                      terms, are aromatic and comfortable as applied
And it handles well for 2.5 tons of steel           full chat, it has a primal, locomotive bellow.
                                                                                                      to the multiadjustable seats, front and rear.
bolted to a body-on-frame chassis. It’s not as      The acceleration is stunning. Once you’re
modern as Bentley would like, but it is a car       beyond the low-end turbo lag, then hold on.
                                                                                                      The polished wood veneer is book-matched,
that was new in 998, when the brand was            Zero to 60 mph takes 5.2 seconds, according
                                                                                                      in which wood planks are cut down the
purchased by Volkswagen/Audi.                       to Bentley, and it’s believable.
                                                                                                      middle and laid open like a book for a
                                                                                                      graining match. If you look along the
The car received an extensive redo for 2002         The six-speed automatic has a sport mode
                                                                                                      centerline of the dash, the graining and
and more improvements this year, not the            and manual shift gate. Grab a double-
                                                                                                      features are mirror images on the right
least of which was the six-speed automatic          downshift at 55 mph, floor it and the 9-inch
                                                                                                      side. The top rail as it meets the window
transmission and electronics upgrades, new          tires claw for traction. And that type of
                                                                                                      is identical on driver and passenger side,
turbos and interior bits. There will be no          driving wipes out any hope of getting  mpg.
                                                                                                      Reuter says. Leftover veneer is archived to
significant changes for 2008.
                                                                                                      the individual car at the factory for possible
                                                    There is no logic in choosing such a car as
                                                                                                      replacement needs.
The Arnage is nearly 8 feet long and 7 feet        this. It’s more of a lifestyle decision. The
wide, but with the interior space of a midsize      typical Arnage driver is in his or her 50s to
                                                                                                      As phenomenal as the handcrafting are the
sedan and trunk space no larger than that of        60s and older, has net worth approaching
                                                                                                      disappointments in capacity.
the new Nissan Sentra.                              $30 million and parks seven to 0 other cars
                                                    at home and other properties.                     The traditional, three-box body style allows
The engine is a grandchild of the same V-8                                                            upright seating with clean sightlines over
architecture that was launched in 959. It          To this person, the $250,085 starting price       the long hood and over the shoulder. The
has modern electronics and computerization          of the Arnage T is certainly less than a new      trucklike chassis provides a high floor and
for emissions and performance.                      personal jet or an island in the Caribbean.       seating position. And a notable benefit of
                                                    With options, including stainless matrix grille   the frame is side rails that are high and
The hulking “four-twelve” with a 42-cubic-         mesh ($2,890) and veneered picnic tables in       wide - ideal for protection in side-impact
inch, 6.75-liter V-8, is enhanced with twin         the front seat backs ($2,090), the as-tested      collisions.
turbochargers for 500 horsepower and a              price was $268,085, including the $4,500
blacktop-ripping 738 foot-pounds of torque.         gas-guzzler tax and $2,595 freight charge         But front seat travel barely allows legroom
The rear-drive car modulates acceleration           from Crewe, England.                              for those taller than 6-foot-2-inches. Back
force with electronic traction and stability                                                          seat legroom is comfortable for those of
controls. All-wheel drive would not be a            And 90% of Arnage sales have some form of         average size, but there’s no need for a
waste to also manage the thrust.                    “Mulliner” customization, which is Bentley’s      footrest as in the long wheelbase BMW
                                                    in-house “bespoke” coach-building.                7-Series. Worse, there is no rear center



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headrest and that seating position is less        Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph, 5.2 seconds; 0-        PLUSES: They do still build ‘em like they
accommodating than a jump seat in a small         00, 5.5 seconds; top speed, 79                  used to. Scorching acceleration; historic
pickup truck. Not that passengers would                                                             preservation.
complain in this leather-lined pleasure zone.     EPA fuel economy estimates:  mpg city, 6
                                                  highway; premium fuel recommended                 MINUSES: Yester-technology at its limited
The air conditioning takes about 0 miles                                                           best.
to get cool on a mid-70s day. The optional        Trunk space: 3.2 cubic feet
picnic tables in the rear seat backs are too                                                        SIDEBAR
high for any practical use, but impressive to     Length/wheelbase: 22.6/22.6 inches
friends and neighbors. Some owners would                                                            Life in the fast lane
complain about some misaligned door seals.        Curb weight: 5,637 pounds
And the remote key fob is the size of a small                                                       By Mark Maynard

cell phone with just two functions, open and      FEATURES
lock. No trunk release, no panic mode. And                                                          Bentley sold 995 cars worldwide in 2003.
                                                                                                    Last year, it sold 9,386 worldwide, 4,07 of
the switch-blade style key is cut on just one     Standard equipment includes: remote
side, requiring it be inserted in the ignition                                                      which were in North America. And 90% of
                                                  locking, multizone automatic climate
the correct way, teeth up.                                                                          those sales came from Continental GT coupe,
                                                  control with dehumidifier and pollen filter,
                                                                                                    Continental GT convertible and Flying Spur
                                                  navigation system, six-CD audio system,
For a quarter of a million dollars, I’d think                                                       Sedan - the gorgeous, 2-cylinder model that
                                                  premium leather upholstery in 27 colors,
the potential owner could be considered                                                             went on sale in 2003.
                                                  one- or two-tone leather-wrapped steering
adaptive to such advancements as keyless          wheel, 42 paint color choices, no-cost
entry and starting. Once you’ve tried that,                                                         It is the marque’s fastest car and was
                                                  sunroof, power front and rear seats,
most don’t want to go back.                                                                         successful beyond the company’s wildest
                                                  electronically controlled adaptive sport-
                                                                                                    expectation in exponential terms.
                                                  tuned suspension, microalloy ventilated disc
Is the Arnage the most modern car? No, but        brakes, two-piece alloy wheels and 255/45R
there’s not a car that can touch it in terms of                                                     “It has educated us and our competition
                                                  9-inch performance tires, driving lights,
cachet and character, Reuter says. “That’s                                                          that there is a huge market for a car at this
                                                  xenon headlights with washers
important to customers in this segment                                                              (price) range if you have the right product,”
                                                                                                    Bentley spokesman David Reuter says.
of the market instead of having the most          Safety equipment includes: front, side and
gizmos on the inside.”                            curtain air bags; electronic stability control,
                                                                                                    “It was a coming together of phenomenal
                                                  anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force
                                                                                                    design, terrific engineering and smart price,
                                                  distribution, traction control, hydraulic brake
                                                                                                    at $50,000 to $55,000,” he adds. “We were
                                                  assist and aquaplane detection
                                                                                                    the only game in town for a car like that.
                                                                                                    And today, others have jumped in, including
                                                  PRICING
SPECS BOX                                                                                           Mercedes and Aston Martin.”

                                                  Base: $250,085, including $2,595 freight
                                                                                                    Bentley Buyers:
2007 Bentley Arnage T                             charge and $4,500 gas-guzzler tax

                                                                                                    - Continental: In 40s and 50s, net worth of
Body style: midsize, five-passenger steel         Options on test car: USA Sports
                                                                                                    about $3 million, not including real estate
monocoque body                                    Combination, $2,540; stainless-steel matrix
                                                                                                    holdings. Three to five other cars in the fleet.
                                                  mesh to grille and lower front bumper
Engine: 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8         apertures, $2,890; veneered picnic tables,
                                                                                                    - Arnage: In 50s to 60s and up, has net worth
                                                  $2,090; four umbrellas fitted in trunk, $240;
                                                                                                    approaching $30 million. Two completely
Horsepower: 500 at 4,200 rpm                      two-tone fascia top roll, $240
                                                                                                    different demographic groups. Seven to 0
                                                                                                    other cars in the fleet. But many Arnage
Torque: 738 foot-pounds at 3,200 rpm              The competition: Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin
                                                                                                    buyers also have Continentals.
                                                  Vanquish
Transmission: six-speed automatic with
                                                                                                    Mark Maynard is driving in cyberspace at
sport and manual modes                            Where assembled: Crewe, England
                                                                                                    mark.maynard@uniontrib.com.

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Description: 2007 Bentley Arnage T Looks Like A Royal English Manor That Has Been Updated With Modern Plumbing And Appliances. Its Six-Speed Automatic With Sport And Manual Modes Makes It Unique From Others. Continental GT Bentley Car Which Made 90 Percent Of Sale In 2003.
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