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 this 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 our coachbuilding arm, Bentley 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
? 2005 model year Arnage complies with the most stringent emission regulations enforced in Europe (EU4) and even achieves Low Emmission Vehicle (LEV) rating in the USA
? 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 (?216, 270) and Arnage T ?170,000 (?229,787), providing an improved specification and range of choice
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.
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.
As well as the radiator shell being restyled, the radiator grille of the Arnage R and RL can now also be specified with longitudinal, parallel vanes for those wanting their car to exude the timeless elegance of Bentleys from the past. The matrix grille introduced with the Series Two Arnage in 2002, is still available at no extra cost. A traditional chrome-plated radiator shell can also be specified, again at no extra charge. A new suite of wheels has also been commissioned; each designed to complement the differing characters of the models within the Arnage range.
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.
In accordance with Bentley's desire to provide Arnage customers with an unrivalled specification choice, even before they consider the services of Bentley Mulliner, the range of standard interior and exterior colours has now been greatly expanded.
In stark contrast to other limousine manufacturers, paintwork for the Arnage can now be selected from a choice of 40 exterior colours, compared with 22 for the previous model. These include nine blues, eight greens, six reds, silvers and blacks and four browns. In addition to this there are seven recommended duo-tone packages.
The number of hide options for the interior has almost doubled from 15 to 27, 10 of which are shades of cream or brown, the most popular choice for Bentley interiors. There are five greys, four blues and greens, three reds and a single black colour.
Though these colours are Bentley's standard offerings, it is of course possible to have an Arnage painted any colour from the spectrum, and to have hides matched to bespoke requirements. The only constraints are of imagination, and perhaps the broad bands of good taste.
Arnage R and RL
The Arnage R and RL continue in their roles as the personification of refined, four door luxury. Powered by a 400bhp (298kW) version of the twin turbo V8 boasting 616lb ft (835Nm) of torque, they represent the ultimate expression of the iron fist in the velvet glove. Effortlessly, they will pass 60mph in 6 seconds flat and continue to accelerate until the engine management gently reins them back at 155mph.
But while all Bentleys are true drivers' cars, the Arnage R and RL are intended for those who for whom sublime ride comfort and subdued noise levels mean even more than outright performance and handling response. It is these characteristics that the changes in chassis specification for the 2005 model year Arnage have been designed to enhance.
Specifically, in the Arnage R and RL, rolling comfort is considerably improved, bringing extra comfort on motorway and A-roads through a reduction in interference from small surface imperfections. In addition, because the rear axle is now allowed to move rearward in a controlled fashion when it hits a ridge in the road, its energy is much better absorbed with a consequent decrease in cabin disturbance. Overall the car feels more compliant yet also more controlled, offering a significant improvement in ride quality with no detriment to handling ability.
Taking the Arnage R first, the policy has been to simplify the options packages, with many previously optional items becoming either standard or, available at no cost. So while the list price of the Arnage R has risen, over ?2000worth of previously cost options are now included as standard. To this can be added a long list of additional features for no further charge, encouraging our customers to commission their Arnage to their own precise and exacting requirements through the offer of an unrivalled level of personal choice.
The sumptuous Arnage RL, with its 250mm wheelbase extension, was already fitted with a number of featuresnow offered as standard or no-cost options on the Arnage R, but the approach remains the same. That spacious rear cabin allows the customer, with the help of Bentley Mulliner's commissioning experts to tailor the car to suit their lifestyle, whether the requirement is for a mobile office, or for games consoles to entertain the children.
Finally, the Arnage R and RL benefit from some small but significant styling changes over and above those common to all 2005MY Arnages. These modifications have been designed to further augment the luxurious status of the R and RL and to make them stand apart from the considerably more sporting outlook of the Arnage T.
Most obvious is the new suite of wheels that has been commissioned for the cars. The Arnage R and RL both now have an elegant six spoke, 18in alloy wheel as standard and a striking 12 spoke, 19in wheel as an option. These wheels replace those that have served the Arnage since its original launch and breathe fresh life into the exterior appearance of both cars.
On the inside, the seats can now be trimmed with contrast piping around their edges and also around the headrest, a small touch for sure, but one that adds an extra dash of class, distinction and atmosphere to a cabin that already boasted perhaps the most envied ambience of any luxury car interior in the world.
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