By KBB.com Editors
Many Rolls Royce owners have appreciated their cars' luxuries from the rear seats, but Bentley owners have more likely relished their rides from the drivers' seats. Fittingly, our most recent encounter with the Arnage lineup was in the 500-horsepower Arnage T, which is more athletic than the Arnage R and less likely to be driven by a chauffeur than the longer-wheelbase Arnage RL. With very few Arnage Ts slated for American delivery, this gentleman's express should have no problem finding spots in the garages of America's landed gentry.
Those who prefer conservative styling with just a touch of flash will take to the Arnage T's new, showier detailing and increased use of smoky metallic trims.
If you crave serious road handling acumen, the Arnage T, even with its sporty update and excellent acceleration, might not satisfy you.
The Arnage lineup gets a 50-horsepower increase for 2007, to 450 for the Arnage R and RL and 500 for the Arnage T. In addition to the upgraded 6.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, every Arnage also gets a new six-speed automatic transmission an overdue replacement for the previous four-speed automatic.
Driving Impressions Though the Arnage T's handling prowess is impressive for its heft, it still won't maneuver through quick, tight turns as responsively as its sportier sibling, the Continental GT alt_o_t='coupe'>coupe. At speed, the car's substantial weight may seem to give it a relentless momentum, which makes one appreciate the car's high-performance ventilated disc brakes. This sedan isn't meant to fly like a sports car but, as a luxury cruiser, the Arnage has few rivals and is smooth and comfortable, whether you're seated in the front or rear.
If you don't want to spring for the cocktail bar, a center console bottle cooler large enough to accommodate your favorite champagne does the trick and includes a pair of flutes.
Bentley is all about the bespoke lifestyle. Have a family crest you just need to show off? Bentley will carve your crest in your choice of wood and inlay it on the sills of all four doors. If there's a tree in your yard that needs to be removed, have the wood sent to the craftsmen at Bentley and they'll custom install it as your car's interior.
As you would expect, the Arnage T cabin envelopes you in luxury. Diamond-quilted leather seating is soft to the touch yet firm for support. Dark-stained burled walnut is an option among a choice of eight kinds of veneers and four choices of marquetry inlay. A four-color information center for navigation, audio and climate is simple to use. The center console is restyled, with heavy chromed metal buttons and toggles for control of windows and seat positions. A new chromed-and-leather shift knob and knurled door handles are substantial and pleasant to the touch.Exterior
Bentley owners would chafe at any monumental changes to the traditional, rather boxy design, so this year's updates are somewhat subtle. Still, Bentley took a slight risk on the Arnage T, with flashy chromed fender vents, 19-inch five-spoke dark-smoked alloy wheels and a dark-tinted titanium grille, all of which are masculine and aggressive.
Bentley offers an over-the-top number of standard features, including a choice of 20 paint colors, 19 seatbelt colors and 10 headliner colors, and a six-CD sound system. One little wrinkle in standard features is the new steering wheel, which tilts but doesn't telescope, and could pose a problem for those outside the norms of leg length or torso height.
Audiophiles will consider the Arnage T's Alpine sound system with a sub-woofer and five-channel amplifier at a price around six thousand dollars. And if you're on the road during cocktail hour (and you're being chauffeured, of course) then peer inside the onboard cocktail compartment, where you'll find crystal decanters, tumblers and a shaker.
With 50 more horsepower than its Arnage R and RL brethren and the same new six-speed automatic transmission, Bentley claims the almost three-ton Arnage T will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 179 mph.
6.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 (Arnage T)
500 horsepower @ 4200 rpm
738 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/16
6.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 (Arnage R and RL)
450 horsepower @ 4100 rpm
645 lb.-ft. torque @ 1800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 10/15