2002 Bentley Arnage T review and pictures

Posted on Saturday, 21 October 2006 , 10:10:35 byEmil

Filed under Bentley

Bentley Arnage T

Bentley will reveal at the NAIAS the Arnage T that is able to deliver 450 BHP at 4.100 rpm and 645 lb. ft. of torque and 168 mph. This model is actually the fastest production saloon in the world. The project lasted for three years and the result is great. The carmaker adopted two Garret T3 turbochargers to replace the single T4 used until now and so the engine not only produces 450 BHP, but also serious reduced response times across wider rev range. The power is being sent to the wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. The braking system remained unchanged, but to increase brake cooling, the carmaker worked with the aerodynamics. The new bumper with a lower air dam offers the car a more solid appearance. The carmaker offered more attention to the interior than the exterior and the best part of it are the seats that offer not only comfort, but also support with improved heat distribution.

Making its world debut at the NAIAS, the 450 bhp, 168-mph Arnage T is not only Bentley's most powerful car in its history, but also the fastest production saloon in the world.

As part of the Bentley Series Two Arnage family, the Bentley Arnage T is the result of a three year project to re-engineer the outstandingly successful Arnage saloon from bumper to bumper. In this process not a single significant area of its design has been left untouched. So extensive are the engineering modifications enjoyed by the Series Two Arnage that beneath its updated, but still familiar lines lies what is in many respects a new car. Every area of the car has been thoroughly evaluated for its suitability to the 21st century Bentley driver, and many have been comprehensively modified, some out of all recognition.

Engine

The genesis of the new V8 engine can be found in Bentley's decision in 1998 to offer the Arnage with the long-serving 6.75-litre engine as an alternative to the BMW-derived 4.4-litre powerplant offered at launch. The response from the Bentley- buying public was so overwhelming that very soon the larger engine powered every new Arnage. There could be no clearer indication of the strength of demand that remained for the fabled turbocharged aluminium V8 that first appeared in the Bentley Mulsanne in 1982.

Clearly, however, the engine was no longer in its first flush of youth and with ever increasing demands being put upon it by emissions legislators and a clientele that expects the best, it was evident that it would either need re-engineering or replacing.

Bentley's engineers have sought to retain the fundamental structure of the engine, while modifying its internals and ancillaries to create a new powerplant that suits all the requirements of the 21st century Bentley driver.

For the Arnage T, the engine produces 450bhp at 4100rpm and 645lb ft of torque at 3250rpm.

Adoption of twin turbochargers

The most obvious change is the adoption of two Garrett T3 turbochargers to replace the single T4 used until now. The advantages of a twin turbo layout are many and diverse but chief among them are the production of power and reduction of emissions. By using two smaller turbochargers with therefore considerably reduced inertia, the Arnage T engine produces not only 450 bhp but also substantially reduced response times across a wider rev range.

This in turn means a more immediate throttle response and more of the torque beloved by Bentley drivers delivered even more quickly than before.

By using two turbochargers, Bentley has also been able to use close-coupled catalytic converters located close to the exhaust manifold, which is simply not possible for a Vee-formation engine using a single turbocharger. This means the catalytic converters heat up to their normal operating temperatures much more quickly, dramatically cutting emissions.

Transmission

The GM 4L80-E four-speed automatic gearbox used in the Arnage Red Label was retained for the Series Two Arnage. However extensive work has been carried out to optimise the transmission to the new engine specification resulting in enhanced smoothness and shift times of less than 0.4 sec.

While its internal ratios remain unchanged, the back axle ratio has been lowered to cope not only with the higher top speeds on offer but also to exploit further the immense engine torque, while offering even more relaxed running at speed. By raising the final drive ratio from 2.69:1 to 2.92:1, the Series Two Arnage now adds 36.78mph for every 1000rpm in top gear. Put another way, this means that at the UK legal motorway speed limit, the engine is turning at just 1900 rpm.

Chassis

Bentley's aim in the transformation of the Series Two Arnage chassis was twofold. First there was to be a general enhancement of both ride and handling across the model range, but there also had to be an entirely separate strategy for the new Arnage T, the most sporting Bentley saloon in history. The intention was that the Arnage T should handle like no other Bentley before it, yet that it should retain the primary ride comfort that is synonymous with the marque.

Wheels and Tires

The wheels for the Arnage T are of 18in diameter, carrying 255/50 ZR 18 section asymmetric Pirelli P-Zero tyres. The Arnage T uses a five spoke design and an all new 19in three piece split rim wheel with 255/45 ZR 19 tyres is offered as an optional extra.

Work has continued with Pirelli to tune its tyres specifically to the Series Two Arnage. Construction changes have led to a reduction in noise levels, while much work was done to tune the tyre pressures precisely to the spring rates.

Brakes

The brakes of the Arnage were completely uprated in 1999 with the introduction of 18in wheel rims and, for that reason, no further modifications were needed to the massive ventilated discs at each corner. Nevertheless, while the brake specification has remained unchanged, aerodynamic modifications to the flow of air to the brakes has led to improved brake cooling, especially at high speeds.

Exterior Styling

Bentley design chief Dirk van Braeckel knew that customers for the Bentley Arnage T would want to drive a car that was clearly an Arnage, but at the same time, one that could be seen to be considerably, if subtly enhanced. Therefore numerous design changes were effected, none world changing in isolation but as a whole, designed to provide the Arnage T with a new and even more purposeful identity.

One of the least visible but most significant of these changes is the use of the famed Black Label badge, reserved only for the most sporting Bentleys and otherwise used only by the Continental T.

At the front there is a new bumper with a lower air dam, which not only reduces lift but also provides a more solid appearance. There are larger openings in the bumper to provide extra air to the charge coolers and brakes, while front fog lamps have been incorporated. The intakes in the bumper are now covered by the same laser-cut matrix that is used for the radiator grille.

Moving to the side of the car, new thicker sills have been designed, while all the chrome on the sides, front and rear of the car has been removed, though the chrome used for the glass and door frame areas has been retained. If specified, the new three piece, split rim, five spoke 19in alloy wheels add an additional degree of purpose to the car's profile.

Like the front bumper, the rear bumper has been restyled to provide a more purposeful stance and to arc around the large diameter twin tail-pipes. Parking Distance Control (PDC) sensors are incorporated into both front and rear bumpers.

Also at the rear there is an integrated rear spoiler within the lines of the bootlid to provide further evidence of the Arnage T's performance potential, as well as a useful reduction in lift at speed.

Further detailed styling work abounds around the Arnage T. The door handles have knurling on their back faces, pursuing a theme first shown on the Bentley Continental T 440 and even the key has been totally redesigned to feature a blade that folds into the fob, which also now contains the remote controls for locking and unlocking the car.

Interior Styling

The interior of the Arnage T has received even greater attention than its exterior. Perhaps most notable in a wide range of enhancements are the seats. Bentley is one of just a few manufacturers left in the world to design and manufacture their seats entirely in-house, and has spent two years building CAD-profiles of the best seats on the market against which to benchmark its own products. The result is seats that offer both more comfort and support, while providing a much more sporting look. They also carry new heaters with improved heat distribution.

Their distinctive looks come from a combination of a diamond pattern using perforated Connolly hide and contrasting stitching; they also carry an embroidered Bentley motif.

Looking elsewhere inside you will find extensive use of engine-turned aluminium for both the instrument surround and the waist rails in the doors. The door covers themselves carry the same distinctive diamond pattern as the seats while extensive knurling is used for the sill buttons, door handles, organ stop ventilation controls and lighting switch. The instruments carry distinctive white on black lettering as an optional extra.

The Arnage T cabin also features a bespoke steering wheel and gear selector, a ‘Sport’ mode button for the transmission and a distinctive black ‘Engine Start’ button, while drilled pedals can be ordered as an option. There are new grab handles in both the front and rear, and the roof lining is made from perforated hide. The decision was also taken to darken the stain on the wood within the Arnage T to create a much more sporting atmosphere within the car.

Ergonomically the Series Two Arnage has benefitted from a redesign of the roof console, to create a cleaner, more user-friendly design. A DVD-based satellite navigation system is now available and is displayed on a pop-up screen on top of the dashboard.