Bentley Arnage

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Bentley Arnage
Bentley Arnage - Flickr - mick - Lumix.jpg
ManufacturerBentley Motors Limited
AssemblyCrewe, England
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car (F)
Body style4-door saloon/sedan
LayoutFR layout longitudinal engine
RelatedRolls-Royce Silver Seraph
Engine4.4 L BMW V8 twin-turbo
6.75 L Rolls-Royce V8 single-turbo
Transmission5-sp ZF 5HP30 automatic
4-sp 4L80-E automatic
Wheelbase122.77 in (3,118 mm).
Length212.37 in (5,394 mm).
Width76.06 in (1,932 mm).
Height59.69 in (1,516 mm)
Kerb weight5,120 lb (2,320 kg) (Green Label), 5,699 lb (2,585 kg) (2003 Arnage R)
Turbo R

The Bentley Arnage was a large luxury car produced by Bentley Motors in Crewe, England from 1998 to 2009. The Arnage, and its Rolls-Royce-branded sibling, the Silver Seraph, were introduced in the Spring of 1998, and were the first entirely new designs for the two marques since 1980.

Another break from the past was to be found under the bonnet, for decades home to the same 6.75-litre V8 engine, a powerplant which could trace its roots back to the 1950s. The new Arnage was to be powered by a BMW V8 engine, with Cosworth-engineered twin-turbo installation, and the Seraph was to employ a BMW V12 engine.

The Arnage is over 5.4 meters (212 in) long, 1.9 metres (75 in) wide, and has a kerb weight of more than 2.5 metric tonnes. For a brief period it was the most powerful and fastest four-door saloon on the market.[citation needed]

In September 2008, Bentley announced that production of the model would cease during 2009.


Bentley Arnage (Japan)

Following the uplift in sales for all of Rolls-Royce, and resurgence of the Bentley marque, the then-owner, Vickers, set about preparing a new model to replace the derivatives of the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Bentley Mulsanne which it had been selling since 1980. In a complete switch from tradition, these new cars would have bodies built at the Crewe factory, with its internal combustion engines built elsewhere.

A number of potential engines were examined, including the GM Premium V engine, and a Mercedes-Benz V8 engine, before, in late 1994, Vickers selected a pair of BMW power plants. It was decided that the Rolls-Royce model, to be called the Silver Seraph, would use BMW's naturally aspirated V12 engine while the more-sporting Bentley model would use a special twin-turbo version of the 4.4-litre BMW V8, which was developed by Vickers subsidiary, Cosworth Engineering.

On its introduction in the spring of 1998, the Arnage was available as a single model with this 4,398 cubic centimetres (268.4 cu in) BMW V8 engine, with twin turbochargers, developing 354 PS (260 kW; 349 bhp) and 420 lb⋅ft (569 N⋅m) of torque.

The BMW V8 Arnage was renamed the Arnage Green Label for the 2000 model year. In addition, from 2000–2001, a special edition "Birkin" was produced.[1]

Red Label and Green Label[edit]

During the takeover battle in 1998 between BMW and Volkswagen Group for ownership of Rolls Royce and Bentley Motors, BMW had threatened to stop supply of their engines if Volkswagen Group won. While the threat was later withdrawn in conjunction with BMW acquiring the right to manufacture the Rolls-Royce marque at a new location, it was clear that Volkswagen could not accept the business and reputation risks associated with having their rival as a long-term business partner.[2] Furthermore, customers were nervous about engine and part availability (of which there turned out to be no issue) and orders for new cars dropped precipitously.[3] Volkswagen's response was to prepare the old pushrod 6.75-litre 16-valve engine from the Turbo R for the Arnage, designed for the lighter and smaller BMW 32-valve V8 unit. Coupled with an outdated 4-speed automatic, the engine was extremely thirsty, and would not meet government-imposed emissions standards without hasty modifications.[2]

2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label
2000 Bentley Arnage Green Label

The revised version of the car was launched as the Arnage Red Label in October 1999. At the same time, but without the fanfare, Bentley made several minor modifications to the original BMW engined cars, and designated them as the "Arnage Green Label" for the 2000 model year. As part of the modification process, both Red and Green Label cars received stiffer body shells and larger wheels and brakes. The stiffer body shell was needed because of the extra weight of the British engine. The larger brakes were needed for the same reason.[4] Despite the larger brakes, braking performance worsened with the extra weight of the 6.75 engine. The braking performance of the '99 Green Label from 70–0 was 172 feet (52 m) while the later Arnage T's performance was 182 feet (55 m) from the same speed.[5][6] The rest of the revisions included:

  • Making a pop up Alpine navigation system standard.
  • Adding park distance control to the front and rear.
  • Increasing the rear seat leg room (by modifying the design of the front seatbacks).
  • Adding power folding exterior mirrors.
  • Modifying the steering rack to reduce steering effort at low speeds.

The lens covers for the headlights went from being glass (1998–99) to plastic (2000 onwards).

The public relations department at Bentley pointed to customer demand as the driving force behind the reversion to the old two valve per cylinder 6.75-litre unit for the Red Label. This explanation appears to have been acceptable to all but a few of the motoring press who welcomed the return of the old unit after criticising the BMW motor as at best insipid and, at worst, underpowered.[2]

In reality, the outgoing BMW-powered Arnage was technically more modern, considerably more fuel efficient, and had 32 valves with double overhead camshafts, twin-turbo and Bosch engine management technology – as opposed to 16-valve, single turbo and a pushrod motor with less advanced engine management.[4] The Red Label's increase in motive power shaved less than a second of the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time. However, the BMW twin turbo unit remained noticeably more agile and responsive from a driver's perspective, due to its more responsive DOHC engine, better weight balance (maintaining a 51.1/48.9 weight distribution)[5] and almost 600 lb (272 kg) lower curb weight. Ultimately the Green Label was more reliable and significantly less expensive to service in the long term.[7][8] The key limiting factor of the BMW engine's output was the ZF 5HP30 transmission which was not rated to handle more than the 413 lb⋅ft (560 N⋅m) torque that the twin turbo engine was tuned to produce.[9]

Vickers had outsourced the production of the old 6.75-litre Rolls-Royce engine for use in the continued Continental and Azure models to Cosworth, so reverting to the old standby engine was a natural choice for the company.

The Red Label model reverted to the old V8 engine, which boasted torque of 835 N⋅m (616 lbf⋅ft) with a single Garrett T4 turbocharger. This was the greatest amount of torque for a four-door car at the time. Also returning was the General Motors-sourced four-speed 4L80-E automatic transmission.

In total only seven Arnage Green Label units were built, all of which were left-hand-drive versions. There was a final series of vehicles built in 2000 with the 4.4-litre BMW engine designated the Arnage Birkin, of which 52 units were produced and are distinguishable by their three-dial as opposed to five-dial instrument center dashboard configuration.

A long-wheelbase version of the Red Label was launched at the North American International Auto Show in 2001. The Green Label ended production in 2000. The Red Label models were replaced in 2002.

Series two – limousines[edit]

In 2001, the Arnage RL, a long-wheelbase model (250 mm (9.8 in) longer than the Arnage), was launched. The extra length is added to the car at its rear doors and its C-pillar. With the standard Arnage model, the rear wheel wells butt up against the rear door frames, but with the RL they are a few inches further back. The overall effect is a larger rear area inside the car. This style of saloon stretch is sometimes called "double-cut" in the United States, due to the two main points where the car is extended. (Jankel and Andy Hotton Associates, for example, are two aftermarket coachbuilders especially known for this style.) Available only as a bespoke ("Mulliner") model, each RL is customised to the desires of the buyer. The RL, however, was also the first of a new series of Arnages which would finally cure the Bentley Arnage of the reliability and performance deficiencies experienced following its forced deprivation of the modern BMW engines it was designed to use.[citation needed] The RL would also present a credible challenge to BMW's attempts to revive the Rolls-Royce brand with its planned new model, the Phantom.

Wheelbases ranged from 3,336 mm (131.3 in) (or only slightly longer than the standard Arnage) to 3,566 mm (140.4 in),[10][11] and even 3,844 mm (151.3 in), the latter two including a 100 mm (3.9 in) increase in the height of the roof. The 3,800 mm (151 in) wheelbase version[12] is stretched between the front and rear doors (rather than at the C-pillar and at the rear doors), American limousine-style. The suspension was retuned for the added weight, allowing the larger car to still handle well.

RL models were available with armoured elements, reflecting the car's clientele. A full B6 package was available for $243,000 to $300,000, offering protection from assault weapons and grenades.[13] The RL remains in production as of 2006.

Though not particularly well advertised for reasons stated above, the RL's introduction saw the introduction of an entirely reworked version of the 6.75-litre V8 engine. Where the engine used in the Red Label was a quickly and less-than-completely-satisfactorily modified version of the Turbo RT's unit, the RL featured an entirely reworked version of the old 6.75-litre V8. More than half of the engine's parts were completely new, with Bosch Motronic ME7.1.1 engine management replacing the old Zytek system, and two small Garrett T3 turbochargers replacing the single large T4. This new engine developed 405 PS (298 kW; 399 bhp) and 835 N⋅m (616 lb⋅ft), and was said to be capable of meeting all future emissions requirements. Finally, the Arnage was powered by a modern twin-turbo unit with state-of-the-art electronic management system similar to the originally Cosworth-BMW unit developed for the Arnage in 1998. Unfortunately, the development and testing of the revisions to the new 6.75L engine (2001-2006 RL, 2002-2006 R, T) were rushed by VW to meet regulatory requirements.[citation needed] As a result, the camshafts are prone to failure requiring extensive repair work to remedy.[14]

In 2002, Bentley updated the Red Label as the series two Arnage R. This model was launched to contrast the Arnage T, which was developed to be more sporting. The Arnage R features two Garrett T3 turbochargers, as with the RL.

The Arnage T, also from 2002, was claimed to be the most powerful roadgoing Bentley at its launch at the Detroit Motor Show. As with the Arnage R, there were twin-turbochargers, but tuned to develop 465 PS (342 kW; 459 bhp) and 875 N⋅m (645 lbf⋅ft). The Arnage T's 0–60 mph (97 km/h) time is 5.5 seconds and it has a claimed top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h).

All Arnage R and T models share the same 3,116 mm (122.7 in) wheelbase. The Arnage range was facelifted in 2005, with a front end resembling that of the new Continental GT.

UK State Limousine[edit]

The Bentley State Limousine is an official state car created by Bentley Motors Limited for Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Two were built. The vehicle's twin-turbocharged, 6.75-litre V8 engine has been modified from Bentley's Arnage R version to produce 402 PS (296 kW; 397 bhp) and 835 N⋅m (616 lb⋅ft) of torque.

2007 mechanical upgrade[edit]

2007 Arnage spec
2007 Bentley Arnage T 01.JPG
Body and chassis
RelatedBentley Brooklands
Engine6.8 L Rolls-Royce V8 twin-turbo
Transmission6-sp ZF 6HP-26 automatic
Wheelbase3,116–3,366 mm (122.7–132.5 in)
Length5,400–5,640 mm (212.6–222.0 in)
Width1,900 mm (74.8 in)
Height1,515 mm (59.6 in)
Kerb weight2,585–2,655 kg (5,699–5,853 lb)

For the 2007 model year, the Garrett turbochargers were replaced with low-inertia Mitsubishi units designed to improve engine response. The engine was mated to a version of the six-speed ZF automatic transmission found in the Continental range. Also, the capacity of the engine was increased from 6,749 cubic centimetres (411.8 cu in) to 6,761 cubic centimetres (412.6 cu in). The new tuning gave the Arnage T 500 PS (368 kW; 493 bhp) and 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft), while the milder Arnage R has 460 PS (338 kW; 454 bhp) and 875 N⋅m (645 lbf⋅ft). For the Arnage T, the factory stated 0–60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration is 5.2 seconds, and the top speed is 288 km/h (179.0 mph).

The face was borrowed from the Azure.

Arnage T

  • max. power: 500 PS (368 kW; 493 bhp) @ 4,200 rpm
  • peak torque: 1,000 N⋅m (738 lb⋅ft) @ 3,200 rpm
  • 0–60 mph: 5.2 s
  • 0–100 km/h: 5.5 s
  • max. speed: 290 km/h (180.2 mph)

Arnage R and Arnage RL

  • max, power: 460 PS (338 kW; 454 bhp) @ 4,100 rpm
  • peak torque: 875 N⋅m (645 lb⋅ft) @ 1,800 rpm
  • 0–60 mph: 5.5 s
  • 0–100 km/h: 5.8 s
  • max. speed: 270 km/h (167.8 mph)

Le Mans series[15][edit]

Bentley launched two limited Le Mans editions to celebrate the occasion of Bentley's return after 71 years to racing at Le Mans. Production was planned of 50 Le Mans editions of the Continental R Mulliner and 150 of the Bentley Arnage Red label. Actually 46 copies were manufactured of the Continental R Le Mans and 153 of the Arnage Le Mans. Besides those planned models also 5 Le Mans editions were manufactured of the Continental T Le Mans and 4 of the Bentley Azure Le Mans.

The Le Mans editions didn't replace any other model but were special editions of existing models. The Arnage Le Mans was a specially enhanced edition of the Arnage Red label.

Exterior Le Mans Series Options

  • Exclusive quad exhaust pipes.
  • Ducting vents in the front wing.
  • Wide wheel arches and sports bumpers.
  • Red brake calipers.
  • "Le Mans Series" badges on the front quarter panel.
  • 5-spoke sport wheels with red brake calipers.

Interior Le Mans Series Options

  • Unique instruments with a dark Racing Green background colour.
  • "Le Mans Series" lettering on the speedometer and rev counter.
  • Dark finished burr walnut on the Arnage Red Label with the Bentley wings etched in intricate detail and inlaid into the waist rails of the doors as well as into the dashboard.
  • Winged B motifs embroidered into the headrests of the two-tone, perforated hide upholstery.
  • Exclusive chrome and leather design of the gear lever.
  • Drilled pedals.
  • Unique door sill plaques.
  • Three unique colours: Silver Storm, Black Oriole, and Le Mans Racing Green, although any Arnage colour may have been selected.

Identification of the chassis number

The Bentley Arnage Le Mans chassis number follows the same identification as the Bentley Arnage Red label model:

  • the letter L on the fourth position,
  • the letter C on the fifth position, and
  • a number between 6341 and 8375.

Diamond series[edit]

Bentley marked its 60 years of production at the Crewe factory with a special Diamond Series Arnage in 2006. 60 vehicles were planned, the majority for the United States, with diamond wood inlays, diamond quilted leather seats, a stainless steel front bumper, special 19 inch alloy wheels, and Union Jack badges on the front wings.

Final series[edit]

Bentley Arnage "Final Series"

In September 2008, it was announced that Arnage production would cease in 2009, once a final run of 150 "Final Series" models has been completed.[16]

The Arnage Final Series includes the Arnage T powertrain, including the aforementioned twin-turbo 6.75-litre V8 engine[16] that produces 500 metric horsepower (368 kW; 493 bhp) and approximately 1,000 N⋅m (738 lb⋅ft) of torque. The powertrain delivers torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Outside, the Final Series features unique 20 inch alloy wheels, a retractable 'Flying B' mascot, body-coloured headlamp bezels, dark tint matrix upper and lower grilles, lower front wing vents, a 'Jewel-style' fuel filler cap and special badging.

The interior, designed by Mulliner, features Final Series kick plates, drilled alloy pedals, unique chrome trim, a rear cocktail cabinet[16] and two picnic tables. The model also comes with four special umbrellas[16] and a premium 1,000 watt audio system by Naim Audio.

The model is offered with 42 exterior colour schemes, 25 interior hides and three wood veneers. It can also be specified with the bespoke color-matching offered by Bentley.

The Final Series also marks the 50th anniversary of Bentley's V8 engine. The 2009 variant of the engine is still loosely based on the same design that was introduced in the 1959 Bentley S2. However, the 2008 engine shares no interchangeable parts with the 1950 model, the last common item having been replaced in 2005. When the engine was first unveiled promotional literature described power and torque as 'adequate'. Now twin-turbocharged, the all-aluminium alloy engine delivers 0–60 mph in 5.3 seconds in a car weighing 2.5 tonnes. Fuel consumption is heavy, with Bentley stating that the model averages less than 10 mpg in the city and just over 20 on the highway in European testing.[17]

A replacement model, which is called the Bentley Mulsanne was launched in August 2009, at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, in Monterey, California.[18]


The Arnage was well received by the motoring press, with most critics admiring the unimpeachable image but criticising the price and running cost.

  • The AA 9/10 stars[19]
    'The Arnage is hard to judge in the terms of ordinary cars due to its expense, but despite the price tag it offers a huge amount for the money. It has the image, the grace, performance, luxury and comfort in equal measure, yet it is a class apart from more modern rivals.'
  • Auto Express 4/5 stars[20]
    'For: Huge performance, classic British luxury, modern safety aids'
    'Against: Whopping price tag, hefty weight, [new Continental] Flying Spur'
  • Evo 4/5 stars[21]
    'Positives – Improved dynamics, power delivery'
    'Negatives – Fussy interior, almost too much power'
  • Parker's Car Guides 4/5 stars[22]
    'Pros: Impressive agility for such a big car, sheer road presence, classy image'
    'Cons: Size and running costs'
  • RAC (7.6/10)[23]
    'The Bentley Arnage is the finest product ever to come out of the Crewe. Bang up to date where it needs to be and reassuringly anachronistic in other areas, it's mightily impressive'
  • Top Gear 7.5/10 stars[24]
    'Imperious, untouchable, gilt-edged yet raw-powered motoring. When the cloud of dust settles this had better be the car you step from, or you're no gentleman'
  • What Car? 3/5 stars[25]
    'For – The Arnage has lightning-quick acceleration, a luxury interior, and bags of standard kit'
    'Against – It suffers from poor fuel consumption, it lacks practicality, and depreciation will be a huge cost'
  • Yahoo! Cars 3/5 stars[26]
    'For potential owners of this car, it's not how fast you get there but how you get there that counts'


On 17 January 2005, the Arnage Convertible concept car, also known as the Arnage Drophead Coupe,[27] was shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In April 2005, Bentley confirmed that the model would be produced at Crewe for Spring 2006 sales. Bentley also confirmed the new model will adopt the Azure tag, replacing the previous Azure as the company's large convertible.

The new Azure uses a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engine which produces 455 PS (335 kW; 449 bhp) and 874 N⋅m (645 lbf⋅ft), and is capable of a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph). The Azure is set to be priced at $320,000.00.


The Bentley Arnage was replaced by the Bentley Mulsanne. The design of the car is now completely independent from Rolls-Royce cars, because of separate parent companies, Bentley being held by the Volkswagen Group, Rolls-Royce by BMW.


  1. ^ "Bentley Arnage 4.4L Birkin". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  2. ^ a b c "Bentley Arnage Red Label". Car and Driver.
  3. ^ "BMW Wrests Rolls-Royce Name Away From VW". NY Times.
  4. ^ a b "Arnage Red Label – page 2". Car and Driver.
  5. ^ a b Car and Driver, "ROAD TEST: Bentley Arnage" December 1998
  6. ^ Car and Driver, "ROAD TEST: Bentley Arnage T"
  7. ^ "2012 BENTLEY SERVICE & ROLLS ROYCE SERVICE SCHEDULE COSTS". Balmoral UK Rolls Royce and Bentley Specialists.
  8. ^ "Nigel Sandell Specialising in the repair of Rolls Royce & Bentley Motor Cars". N. Sandell Rolls Royce and Bentley Specialists.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  10. ^ A side view of an RL 140-inch wheelbase Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ A front-quarter view of the RL 140-inch wheelbase Archived 22 July 2012 at
  12. ^ Bentley Arnage RL, 151-inch wheelbase version, stretched between the front and rear doors Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Gepanzerter Bentley Arnage - Granatenschutz inklusive". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  14. ^ "CAMSHAFT (Arnage R & T 2002 to 2006) (3Z0198101)". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Bentley Arnage Le Mans". Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  16. ^ a b c d "Bentley Arnage Final Series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  17. ^ "Bentley Arnage Final Series".
  18. ^ "2011 Bentley Mulsanne is revealed at Pebble Beach concours". AutoWeek Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
  19. ^ "Car Reviews: Bentley Arnage T". The AA. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Car Reviews: Bentley Arnage". Auto Express. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  21. ^ "Car Reviews: Bentley Arnage T". Auto ExpressEvo. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  22. ^ "Bentley Arnage (98-09)". Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  23. ^ "Bentley Arnage (1998-date)". RAC. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  24. ^ "Bentley Arnage". Top Gear Magazine. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  25. ^ "Used Bentley Arnage Saloon (99–10)". Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  26. ^ "Bentley Arnage – Final Destination". Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  27. ^ "Bentley Arnage Drophead Coupé". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  • Ray Hutton. "'99 Bentley Arnage Preview". Car and Driver (July 1998): 80–81.
  • Ray Hutton. "Preview: Bentley Arnage Red Label". Car and Driver (March 2000): 84–85.
  • Jim McCraw. "Bentley Arnage T". Car and Driver (October 2002): 95–98.

External links[edit]