Crewe, 2004. Bentley Motors today announced details of wide-ranging changes to its outstanding range of Arnage luxury saloons. The continued investment in the Arnage range is aimed at reinforcing its credentials, both as the only true driver’s car in a high luxury sector, and as a range that has increased comfort, deeper luxury, classic design language, and the greatest scope for personalisation.
More than ever, the Bentley Arnage now stands as the symbol of British coachbuilding and handcraftsmanship. With an unrivalled heritage, a skill-set handed down through three generations working on the same site, and an ability to tailor cars to precise customer wishes unapproached by any other marque, the Arnage retains an unique appeal.
Every Arnage is built to order and over half are further modified by Bentley’s coachbuilding arm, Mulliner. The Arnage is the culmination of over 80 years continual experience of building Grand Touring Limousines: no other production car in the world can be built more closely to the customer’s precise specification. It is perhaps no surprise then to hear the comment of one regular customer that determining the specification of an Arnage is like having your own, private car company. Another told us he considered his Arnages to have been born, not made. Considering the care that goes into each one, it’s an understandable point of view.
-New exterior design, featuring round headlamps with Xenon dip and Halogen full beam, a revised bonnet line and the choice of either a matrix or vaned radiator grille -New wheels available for all models -Interior design dramatically updated with new dashboard top, switchgear, better ergonomics with secondary controls hidden behind panels, fresh instruments and new DVD satellite navigation unit, and with non-critical controls hidden behind veneered panels. -Increased specification and customer choice through unrivalled paint options from 40 standard colours plus dual tones, and 27 interior hide options -Revised rear suspension layout and overall settings to both enhance ride quality and provide more consistent handling response -Price and specification has now been increased across the range: Arnage R: 160 000 GDP (216 270 Euros) and Arnage T 170 000 GBP (229 787 Euros), providing an improved specification and range of choice
Chassis / Engine
After the end-to-end re-engineering of the Arnage chassis introduced in 2002, further changes have been made to the 2005 model year Arnage to extend its already formidable chassis capabilities. By repositioning the lower mounting point of the rear damper from the upright to the lower wishbone, a marked improvement in suspension control has been achieved. This, in conjunction with other detailed changes to spring, damper and bush rates (as well as a newly developed Pirelli P-Zero Rosso tyre for the Arnage R and RL) has resulted in much improved ride quality, particularly for those travelling in the back.
The 6.75-litre V8 engine that powers all Arnages was effectively redesigned from the ground up for 2002, featuring twin-turbocharging and record-breaking torque figures. As such, little change was needed for the 2005 model year. Nevertheless, the engine has now been made fully compliant with the new Euro IV emissions regulations, due in 2005. This ensures the viability of this much loved powerplant, that can trace its origins (if not its componentry) back to the 1950s, for many years to come.
Interior / Exterior Styling
The 2005 model year Arnage is instantly recognisable thanks to new front end styling designed not only to tidy and freshen the Arnage’s appearance, but also to bring the range in line with Bentley’s iconic design language, as evident on the Continental R & azure and latterly on the Continental GT. Most notable are the headlamps that comprise twin individual lights with chrome bezels, clear lenses and integrated indicators. These lights now comprise xenon bulbs for dip beam and halogen bulbs for full beam.
The Arnage also has a new bonnet, radiator shell and grille, all designed to give a greater sense of occasion and an even more powerful look. The central vee of the bonnet has been raised relative to its lower surfaces and merges seamlessly with the revised radiator shell to give a new and integrated look. The new bonnet line also works particularly well in markets where duo-tone paintwork is popular.
A cabin as legendarily cossetting, attractive and elegant as that of the Arnage should not be altered without great thought, and the same principal internal architecture has been retained. Even so, Bentley’s designers felt that both the appearance and efficiency of the fascia could be improved further with no loss of the cabin’s essential charm.
Attention was focussed in particular on the centre console, where a new range of unique switches has been designed for the many functions located there, including the climate control and ventilation systems. These new switches are thoughtfully arranged in an ergonomically efficient and attractive manner that is entirely in keeping with the outstanding ambience of the rest of the cabin.
Switches for the electric windows are now more intuitively arranged, while controls for the electric seats, their memories and heater are now located under a sliding panel behind the gear-lever.
The ability to conceal these functions as well as the stereo, ash-tray and more minor ventilation controls behind wood panels has allowed the Arnage’s interior designers to create a wonderfully ‘clean’ look to the cabin. Uncluttered by the legion of switches and buttons that are so often a feature of luxury car interiors, the Arnage is able to present its driver just with those controls likely to be in frequent use, while the others are hidden from view unless required.
Other new interior features include a new top to the dashboard, allowing the DVD-based satellite navigation system to be flush fitted, creating a cleaner look to the top of the dash. Because it is DVD rather than CD-ROM based, the satellite navigation covers entire continents down to the smallest detail, on a single disc (Europe and US). This means the owner is spared the time and expense of selecting a new disc and re-programming the navigation every time a border is crossed.
The 2005 model year confirms the Arnage T in its role as the powerhouse of the range, an unforgettable driving experience and the 21st century personification of the tidal wave on wheels, a phrase first coined to describe a Bentley Turbo over 20 years ago.
At its disposal is the ultimate development of the twin-turbo V8, an engine noted for its 450bhp (336kW) output but distinguished by its astonishing 645lb ft (875Nm) of torque. It endows the Arnage T with the ability to reach 60mph from rest in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 168mph (270km/h) – this from a car capable of carrying four adults and their luggage in traditional Grand Touring style.
Given this overtly sporting brief, it’s not surprising that the suspension improvements brought by the 2005 model year modifications are more handling-oriented than in its stablemates. So while the Arnage T also benefits from a significant improvement in ride quality, it is its still sharper handling that drivers will notice most. Body movements are better controlled as the car turns into a corner, giving a more settled feel. This improvement is compounded in a series of corners where the control of weight transference becomes of critical importance.
In extreme conditions and with the Arnage’s stability control turned off, the revised suspension settings also provide yet more predictable breakaway characteristics, allowing the car to be driven on the throttle even more safely and rewardingly.
The Arnage T now has a 19in wheel rim as standard with a new, seven spoke design. The five spoke 19in rim that has until now been available as an option on the Arnage T continues in that role. All wheels for the Arnage can be specified with a chrome finish.