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BADA-BING, BADA-BENTLEY

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, May 1, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

BADA-BING, BADA-BENTLEY

By JOHN GRAFMAN

With tax time recently parting, many of us were either breaking out the checkbooks in order to keep Uncle Sam happy or are presently (and eagerly) awaiting a refund.

Now, if you are owed a refund, particularly with lots of zeros at the end of it, a shopping spree might be in order. And if you really are spoiling yourself, a Bentley Arnage T might just be the perfect gift.

After toiling away all year, the Bentley will make anyone feel better about those long hours at the grindstone. Certainly, there are several other fine vehicles that can get you get from point A to B in style and comfort. The Arnage is a quantum leap up from the rest. Think of the Arnage as an eleven on a scale of one-to-ten.

If you look at the raw data the Bentley excels in most aspects. On an emotional evaluation, as this is, the big coach exceeds on virtually all levels and is a tour de force.

For its monster-like exterior dimensions, the interior is smaller than expected. Now that shouldn’t be confused with being tight. The Arnage has enough room to relax, but some of the more current crop of luxury automobiles seem to make more with their given space limitations.

As we have pointed out here before, the trim on the Arnage is a taste of the old world. The wood and metal work adds an element that is rarely seen today. The finest of hides wrap nearly everything else. Holy Cow, that is a lot of leather! This is like a cow that has been turned inside out. Both the black leather and chromed metal parts give this sort of an S&M quality – i.e., strangely elegant. The quilted leather is an uncommon treatment and adds another unique feature to this motorcar.

The switches in some instances are less than ergonomic. Others, such as those for the seat, can even be mistaken as being placed inverted. Pull-knobs galore regulate individual vents. How trick!

Shifting gears is just a hair bit different too. Unlike most cars, the driver lifts the shifter toward the headliner and then drops it into the desired gear. It’s stuff like this that befuddles most valets to the entertainment of the owners. Stick the key in the ignition, turn it, and nothing! Pressing the start button means the difference between going somewhere in life and just sitting around and looking good. Turning over the engine and dropping it in gear is the moment we all live for.

The Bentley’s turbocharged powerplant has enough grunt to propel a tank (come to think of it, at 5,699 pounds the Arnage nearly is one!). In the sport mode, our car takes on a very different personality. Rather than a compliant cruiser, this transport is more akin to a bullet train. From a stand still, mashing the accelerator feels dramatically similar to taking off in a jet aircraft. You can just feel the raw power of 646 pounds of torque suck your backsides into the buckets. This is indeed a large vehicle yet the race heritage of this manufacturer does filter its way down to the Arnage. Even the power assisted, rack and pinion steering is quick with only 3.11 turns lock-to-lock.

Most of the foregoing is fairly evident by looking at the numbers. However, taking a vehicle as uncommon as this about town does create a stir. Even in areas more accustom to this sort of vehicle people do stop and notice. I, in fact, watched another motorist skid his vehicle into an intersection while his attention had been captivated by the looks of the Arnage. Keeping your defensive driving techniques in tune is a necessity with this machine.

While some car companies try hard in there advertising to imply that their machines own the road, the Arnage not only owns the road but the town as well. Looks, power and prestige are the Bentley’s calling card. I think I’m hooked! I gotta go speak to my accountant regarding that tax refund! More details can be found at www.bentleymotors.com

SPECIFICATIONS Price: As tested $228,990 Engine type: 6.75L V-8 aluminum alloy block and cylinder head, twin Garrett T3 turbochargers, OHV, 2 valves per cylinder Horsepower: 450 @ 4,100 rpm Torque: 646 lbs @ 3,250 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: 4-speed automatic Suspension: Front: A pressed steel and cast aluminum subframe with steering rack mounting. Double wishbone suspension with lower wishbone compliance hydrabush. Rear: A pressed steel sub-frame supporting rubber isolated upper and lower wishbones. Dampers - Computer controlled 3 stage adaptive electro-hydraulic dampers Ride Height Control - Automatic ride height control with auto load compensation Wheels and tires: Front: 8J x 18 or optional 8J x 19 Aluminum Alloy, Pirelli 255/50 R18 102Y or optional 255/45 R19 104Y Rear: 8J x 18 or optional 8J x 19 Aluminum Alloy, Pirelli 255/50 R18 102Y or optional 255/45 R19 104Y Brakes: Front: 348 mm discs, ventilated Rear: 345mm discs, ventilated Hydraulically boosted front & rear brake circuit, incorporating an Electronic Stability program (ESP). This program incorporates: - Traction control system (ASR), Anti-lock brakes system (ABS), Electronic brake pressure distribution (EBD), Engine drag torque control (MSR), Hydraulic brake assistance (HBA) Overall length: 212.76” Overall width: 76.12”, 83.73” (across mirrors) Overall height: 59.69” Curb weight (lbs.): 5,699 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 10/15 mpg 0-60 mph: 5.5 0-100 mph: 13.5

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