Bentley bolsters its Arnage line with a 400-horsepower V-8 engine, a satellite-based navigation system and electronic parking sensors to prevent parking lot dings on this ultra-luxury vehicle (estimated base price: $203,000). Parking sensors in the front and rear bumpers alert the driver when the car is close to another object.
British-based Bentley has long been owned by the same company as Rolls-Royce and served as a marginally more affordable alternative, but that will change in a few years as part of a cat fight over the two revered brands involving BMW and Volkswagen.
On Jan. 1, 2003, Volkswagen takes control of Bentley Motor Cars and BMW takes over all things related to Rolls-Royce and the two brands will go their separate ways. Until then, Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motor Cars will produce, sell and service both marques worldwide.
You may expect a car of this pedigree to be the size of a yacht, but the Arnage is 212 inches long, a few inches shorter than a Lincoln Town Car. Its heaviness, however, is more substantial: Bentley estimates the fully loaded weight is 6,275 pounds. The Arnage is the same basic car as the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph but has different features.
Bentley offers buyers a palette of 27 exterior colors, and custom finishes are available to those who want something special.
Buyers choose from walnut, oak, bird's-eye maple or black lacquer interior trim to complement the "grade A hide upholstery," available in 23 colors in the Arnage. Amid all this traditional luxury is a high-tech, satellite-linked navigation system. A display screen pops up from the dashboard for use and stows out of sight when off.
While some luxury cars have a driver's seat that automatically moves rearward to make it easier to get out, the Arnage provides a similar feature for both sides of the rear seat. The rear seat moves back to give occupants more legroom during the drive, but can also move forward and closer to the doorway to make for an easier exit.
Under the Hood
The Arnage Green Label model comes with a 4.4-liter BMW V-8 with two turbochargers and 350 horsepower. The Red Label version comes with a Bentley 6.7-liter V-8, with a single turbocharger and 400 horsepower. Bentley claims the Red Label reaches 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, the Green Label in 6.2. The automatic transmission has five speeds on the Green label, four on the Red.