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Bentley Arnage: buying guide and review (1998-2010)

Bentley Arnage: buying guide and review (1998-2010) Classic and Performance Car
Bentley Arnage Bentley Arnage Bentley Arnage Bentley Arnage
If you’re looking for a classic car that provides a real sense of occasion, it just has to be the Bentley Arnage. Contemporary rivals such as the Mercedes S-Class may objectively be better, but if you want massive performance and luxury with soul, nothing comes close to Crewe’s missile.
 
Early models were fitted with a BMW-sourced twin-turbo V8 – a 4.4-litre unit developed specifically for the Bentley by Cosworth – but shortly after the company was taken over by the VW Group, a revised version of the old 6.75-litre Bentley Turbo V8 engine from the old Turbo R was slotted into the car to create the Red Label. 
 
While fuel consumption was even less impressive, this old engine saw much of the old Bentley character return to the Arnage, something many felt it had lost with the newer engine, which carried on as the Green Label for a few years. At the time, it was the torque figure that dominated proceedings pushing out 619lb ft in Red Label form (738lb in the lat Arnage T models), dwarfing everything else on the market. It isn’t just the peak figure that’s important though, it’s how the Bentley delivers its punch with such seeming ease. 
 
Indeed, so great is the Arnage’s appeal that while some cars are available for surprisingly little cash, really good examples of the later cars still fetch big money. That’s because when Bentley replaced the Arnage with the Continental Flying Spur, the latter wasn’t deemed to represent a mobile drawing room in quite the same way.
 
But whichever end of the spectrum you’re buying from, you can’t expect to run an Arnage on the cheap. These cars need specialist attention, and due to the high cost of spares and parts, you can reduce costs only so far. But find a good car along with the right specialist and your motoring will never be the same again.
 

Which Arnage to buy?

 
Bentley offered a wide variety of Arnage iterations to choose between and they all drive differently. Each came with its own unique suspension settings, engine set-ups and power output, while there was also a choice of wheelbases. And that’s just for the pushrod-V8 variants; add the BMW engine to the mix and you really are spoiled for choice.
 
As you’d expect, there isn’t much of an appetite for the BMW-engined cars, although they do have their devotees, largely because they’re cheaper to buy and more frugal than the 6.75-litre models.
 
Bentley made a series of changes to the chassis in 2002, which is why cars built from this point are so much better to drive – as well as to be driven in. It’s possible to upgrade earlier cars to the later spec, but it costs a lot, which is why you’re better off just buying a later car that’s already had the work done by the factory.
 
The pick of the bunch is the post-2006 Arnage with the 6.8-litre V8. Such cars are still worth a lot but there are some superb low-mileage examples about. If you’ve got particularly deep pockets track down a mint Le Mans or Final Edition model. They’re very sought after so prices are high, but these are likely to prove the best investment in the long term.
 

Performance and specs

 
Bentley Arnage T
Engine 6761cc, turbocharged V8
Power 500bhp @ 4200rpm
Torque 738lb ft @ 3200rpm
Gearbox Six-speed automatic
0-60mph 5.2sec
Top speed 179mph
Fuel consumption 14.0mpg
Insurance group 20
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 3116mm
Length 5400mm
Width 1932mm
Height 1515mm
Weight 2585kg
 

Common problems

 
• Corrosion isn’t usually an issue, although rust can strike in the wheelarches and sills of early cars. It shouldn’t have spread any further than this though; if there’s any sign of on other body panels assume the car has been abused and find another.
 
• The structure of an early Arnage isn’t as stiff as it should be, which is why they tend to creak, squeak and groan a surprising amount. Bentley upped the stiffness significantly though, so later cars are much more serene on the move.
 
• The Arnage’s nose is very upright which is why it can get clobbered by debris. As a result you need to check for paint chips and if the radiator grille is damaged, the cost of putting things right will probably be rather higher than you might expect.
 
• That classic pushrod V8 is incredibly tough and it’ll easily despatch more than 250,000 miles. The key is to ensure it’s serviced regularly and maintaining the correct anti-freeze concentration is essential. Internal corrosion is rare, but overheating can occur because of broken fan belts or leaking hoses. Listen out for knocking pistons, betraying an engine that’s been allowed to overheat.
 
• Head gasket failure struck some early Red Labels. Nobody knows why but the theory is that it was because of a reaction between the anti-freeze and the silicone in the gasket. You’re unlikely to find a car that hasn’t yet been fixed, but if you find an early low-mileage car it might just be an issue.
 
• All Arnages came with alloy wheels, which tend to suffer from peeling lacquer. Refurbishing what’s fitted needn’t be costly but replacement wheels will cost plenty, so size up the condition of what’s there. If split-rim alloys are fitted, bear in mind that these are easily damaged and expensive to refurbish.
 
• The suspension and brakes have a hard time because of the Bentley’s weight, which is why they’re often tired. Cars used only occasionally tend to suffer from corroded brake discs – and as these cars tend to be used only on an occasional basis nowadays, this is a particularly common issue.
 
• While you might expect the Bentley to roll and pitch, the Arnage should be able to corner with some vigour when you require it. If the car feels sloppy on the test drive, then it’s likely in need of a suspension and steering refresh.
 
• Interiors don’t always age well, so look for sagging leather seats, delaminating wood on the dashboard and tatty carpets. Predictably, if you have to invest in any re-trimming or refurbishment it’ll be costly.
 

Model history

 
1998: The Arnage debuts with a twin-turbo BMW 4.4-litre V8. 
1999: The Arnage Red Label appears in September, with a 400bhp 6.75-litre pushrod V8. The BMW-engined Arnage is now known as the Green Label, but sales pretty much stop.
2000: The Green Label is dropped and the Red Label gets improved rear seat space, standard sat-nav, speed-sensitive power steering, clear indicator lenses plus bigger (18-inch) wheels.
2001: Bentley launches the Arnage Le Mans; 154 are built with quad exhausts, vents in the front wings, flared wheelarches and beefier bumpers, plus red brake callipers and unique instrumentation.
2002: A LWB Red Label appears, limited to 155mph and capable of 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. Also launched is the Arnage T (450bhp and 168mph) along with the Arnage R (an updated Red Label).
2003: The Arnage RL has a wheelbase stretched by 9.8 inches and the Arnage T’s twin-turbo 450bhp V8.
2006: The V8 is overhauled in November, its displacement rising to 6761cc and power jumping by 50bhp.
2008: The run-out Arnage Final Series goes on sale in September with a 500bhp Arnage T powertrain; 96 are made.
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
www.bdcl.orgBentley Drivers Club
www.bentleyownersclub.co.ukBentley Owners Club and forum
 

Summary and prices

 
Like all big Bentley saloons of this ilk, the Arnage offers a huge amount of car for relatively little upfront outlay. This will quickly be overshadowed by repair costs if you go for one of the rougher examples however, so it often pays to be thorough with your check and buy the best example you can find. 
 
Prices start from around £15,000 for the high-mileage and older models – seemingly a huge bargain – with the better-presented examples fetching closer to £30,000. As production ran right through to 2010, there are still a number of cars offered for somewhere north of the £65,000 mark.
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Last updated: 1st Sep 2016
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Bentley Arnage
19950 70000 GBP
  • Bentley Arnage T Mulliner

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Silver Storm with electric sunroof. Soft Black interior stitched in Linen with embossed Flying B’s and electric rear seats. Known to ourselves for last 3 years. Only 40,000 miles with Full Service History. Totally unmarked throughout, must be seen. Outstanding value click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 40000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
    Hanwells
    0208567 9729 View contact number
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Silver Pearl with Le Mans Limited Edition alloys and an electric sunroof, with Beluga interior, Walnut veneers and Beluga carpets with matching piping. Known to ourselves for last 12 years. Full Service History, only 88,000 miles. Must be seen click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2001
    • Mileage: 88000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage R mulliner

    £49,950 £49,950

    Arnage R 2007.mulliner ltd edition jack barclay special with special order small rear window. black with magnolia leather. chrome rad sheel.flying b.level 2 twin pipes.sunroof.privacy.picnic tables,cabinets in rear etc..fridge.previously sold by ourselves! RAC WARRANTY AVAILABLE. A range of finance options are available for this motorcar. Please contact us for further details. **VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENT ONLY** Video channel WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/1MARLOWCARS Follow us WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/MARLOWCARS WWW.TWITTER.COM/MARLOWCARS WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/MARLOWCARS Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy of the above information, some inaccuracies may occur. It is important that you do not rely on this information but check with Marlow Cars limited about any items which may affect your decision to buy this vehicle. These figures relate to a typical example of this model when new. They will vary according to the age, condition, fitted equipment and mileage of the vehicle. Bluetooth phone compatibility will vary from vehicle model year, make and model - Marlow cars does not warrant or Guarantee phone compatibility- Manufacturers bluetooth phone system or aftermarket. TV Tuners are

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 29300 mi
    For sale
    £49,950 £49,950
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label Look Alike

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Meteor Blue with electric sunroof, with Magnolia interior and French Navy carpets piped in Magnolia. Known to ourselves for the last 8 years. Full Service History and maintained regardless of cost. A very inexpensive purchase click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 1998
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Royal Blue with limited edition Le Mans alloys. Magnolia interior piped in French Navy. DVD screens to the rear, electric rear seats and rear parking camera. Only 60,000 miles with FSH. Known to ourselves for the last 6 years and in stunning condition throughout. Real value click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2001
    • Mileage: 60000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage T

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Beluga Black with Soft Black interior, with Linen stitching and embossed Flying B’s in Linen. Turned alloy dash and waist rails. Electric rear seats. Only 2 owners and just 14,980 miles with history. This car is just like new with such low mileage. Must be seen click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 14980 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Sherwood Green with 18 inch alloys. The interior is finished in Soft Tan, with Walnut veneers. Fitted with Sat nav. Only 79,000 miles with Full Service History. Immaculate throughout. Outstanding value at only click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2002
    • Mileage: 79000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • BENTLEY ARNAGE T - BENTLEY FSH

    £27,995 £27,995

    The Arnage T is named for a famous racing corner at Le Mans, the circuit that's the wellspring of Bentley fame, thanks to five victories in the famous 24-hour race, including a string of four straight. Never mind that the last of these victories occurred in 1930; the mystique endures. The T stands for twin-turbocharged - a pair of Garrett T3 blowers replacing the bigger T4 singleton previously employed. When the twin-turbo V-8 hits max boost (13.0 psi), a process that is far from instantaneous, the Arnage T makes its best move: straight ahead at full gallop. Although this car's mass ranks up there with that of the heaviest sport-utility vehicles, there's enough thrust to hurl its 5750 pounds from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds, 0 to 100 in 13.5 seconds, and through the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 102 mph. As noted, it'll do 168 mph before the electronic governor cuts in - fast enough to qualify at Charlotte. Despite the Teutonic overlordship, the inner Arnage T looks like a Bentley. Everything inside this car is either Connolly leather or Wilton wool or black burled wood or chrome (the chrome plating on the Bentley is so deep and rich it makes you want to dive in and splash it onto you

    • Year: 2002
    • Mileage: 38000 mi
    For sale
    £27,995 £27,995
  • Bentley Arnage R LWB

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Was Bentley Motors’ own car and is a 2007 model. Finished with Cotswold interior, complemented by French Navy carpeting. This extremely rare car is in outstanding condition throughout with low mileage and Full Service History. This car is value click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2005
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage T

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Black Sapphire with Mulliner wing vents and ’07 model 19 inch alloys. Magnolia interior stitched in French Navy with embossed Flying B’s in French Navy. Turned alloy dash and waist rails with Walnut veneers. Electric rear seats. Only 76,000 miles with Full Service History. Supplied by ourselves 6 years ago. Immaculate throughout click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 76000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Peacock Blue with Magnolia interior piped in French Navy, with French Navy carpets and two tone steering wheel. Only 70,000 miles with Full Service History. Known to ourselves, maintained regardless of cost click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2001
    • Mileage: 70000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label Look Alike

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Masons Black with limited edition Le Mans alloy wheels and colour coded bumpers. Magnolia interior with Black piping and Black carpets piped in Magnolia. Only 84,000 miles with history. Immaculate condition click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 1999
    • Mileage: 84000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Bentley Arnage Red Label

    POA POA

    Showrooms Download Images Make Enquiry Service Centre 100 Point Checkover Finished in Silver Pearl with Magnolia interior piped in Slate, with top tinted screen, Granite carpets, Walnut veneers and two tone steering wheel. Electric seats front and rear. Only 89,000 miles with Full Service History. Known to ourselves, immaculate throughout click image to fit your screen

    • Year: 2000
    • Mileage: 89000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 2005 Model Bentley Arnage T

    £34,950 £34,950

    Finished in Storm Grey with Beluga Hide, Beluga Top and Knee Roll, Beluga Carpets, Diamond Quilted Seats with Contrast Stitching and Embroidered Bentley Emblem, Dark Stained Burr Walnut Veneers, Bright Aluminium Inserts to Fascia and Waistrails, Bentley Mulliner Specification which includes Satellite Navigation with Reversing Camera and Mulliner Badges, DVD System in Rear Compartment with Screens to Front Headrests, Electrically Operated Rear Blind, 19" Five Spoke Two Piece Bentley Alloy Wheels, Service History.

    • Year: 2005
    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    For sale
    £34,950 £34,950