Bentley Motor Cars is further enhancing the appeal of its Arnage saloon by offering an alternative to the acclaimed 4.5-litre V8 engine. The much admired 6.75-litre Bentley V8 will now be offered, forming part of a major specification upgrade for 2000 Model Year, which also includes increased passenger accommodation and the addition as standard of features such as satellite navigation and electronic parking sensors. Handling will also be enhanced as a result of new suspension and traction system tuning, speed sensitive steering and additional body stiffness.

The new Bentley Arnage Red Label

The new Red Label Arnage will be powered by the 400bhp Bentley V8 with a single turbocharger, providing more torque (619lb.ft) than any other saloon in the world - and 58 percent more torque than the Red Label's nearest rival! (Manufacturer's figures). The 2000 Model Year Red Label Arnage is claimed to achieve 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds, 30-50mph in 2.1 seconds, 50-70mph in 3.2 seconds with a governed top speed of 155 mph. This astonishing performance is complemented by increased stiffening of the body by a further 20 percent. The 4-speed automatic transmission featured on Bentley two-door models, is now fitted on the Red Label as standard.

Interestingly, before VW ownership, Bentley never released power, torque and performance figures to the press. Now, it is as commonplace as with a new Passat.... Hopefully the rest of the car does not go that way.

The Bentley Arnage Green Label

The existing Green Label saloon with the 350bhp and 4.5-litre V8, will continue alongside the Red Label Arnage. It's twin turbo-charged engine delivers maximum power at 5500rpm and maximum torque of 420lb.ft (not to be sniffed at!) delivered over a wide range from 2500 to 4200rpm. Together with the sports calibration of the transmission the quad camshaft V8 enables the Green Label Arnage to achieve 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, with a maximum speed of 150mph. Now, this bit confuses me. Bentley claim that this top speed is governed. If so, why do they let the Red Label attain 155mph? Hmmm.

When it was introduced last year the Bentley Arnage featured a body shell 65 percent more torsionally rigid than its predecessor. A further gain in stiffness of 20 percent has been achieved further enhancing the dynamic capabilities of the two new Arnage models. The stiffer frame provides the 6.75-litre Bentley V8 with the perfect platform for delivery of its outstanding power, and provides the 4.5-litre version with greater agility and driving precision.

Additionally, the double wishbone adaptive suspension, braking and stability control systems have been further developed. The changes differ between Red Label and Green Label. The 4.5-litre Arnage is a lighter, higher revving and responsive motor car, whilst the 6.75-litre has greater midrange power which delivers an unmistakable tidal wave of acceleration in the finest Bentley tradition!

The Arnage models for 2000 Model Year benefit from greater passenger accommodation which has been created by repackaging the interior. This has enabled leg room to be increased by a further 50mm and head room by 28mm vertically and 25mm horizontally each side. The proportions behind and beneath the front seats have also been increased to provide an improvement in knee and foot space for rear seated passengers and incorporate revised front seat backs and map pockets. This additional space is further enhanced by the automatic movement of the rear seats backwards to allow for ease of exit and entry upon opening of either rear door. All of this has been achieved without any reduction in comfort to the front seat occupants.

The Bentley Arnage Green Label

Effectively, designers and engineers at Crewe have developed a long-wheelbase version of the Arnage without actually increasing the wheelbase, in fact with no external panel changes. This achieves the aim of increasing interior space without any increase in body weight and thereby fuel consumption. The capacity of the fuel tank has also been increased without any modification to body panels or reduction in passenger or luggage space.

Both Arnage models for 2000 Model Year also list as standard a number of features that complement the driving experience. The steering is now speed sensitive, providing effortless low speed manoeuvring and firmer control at high speeds. Park distance sensors to front and rear provide audible warning of proximity to close objects. Not a bad idea considering how much it could cost to repair these cars! Both door mirrors can be folded in electronically when required, and have electrochromic glass to reduce night time glare. Satellite navigation with 3-D horizon view scrolling graphics is provided on every Arnage, with navigation command output through the front audio speakers. The graphic display screen motors up and down from within the top roll at the touch of a button, providing a well positioned display requiring little eye movement from the road and unobtrusive storage when not required. The rear seats automatically motor backwards when either rear door is opened to allow easier exit or entry.

The exterior of both Arnage models now feature new 18" sports road wheels and clear indicator lenses, with red badges and sports bumpers to denote the 'Red Label' model. Structural improvements under the skin have significantly increased torsional rigidity of the body shell. At time of launch, the Arnage was 65 percent stiffer than its predecessor. Now Bentley engineers have managed to improve torsional rigidity by a further 20 percent by adding a cast alloy brace in the engine bay, additional stiffening plates in the front tunnel area, and further swaging to the floor pan and rear seat squab. This increases the refinement of the ride and handling of the motor car, and enables the full capability of both of the engines offered to be fully appreciated, underpinned by the upgraded suspension system developed for 2000 Model Year. Both the Red Label and Green Label have unique suspension settings. The Red Label has stiffer front springs to accommodate the heavier engine and gearbox, different damper tune, and suspension and subframe upgrades.

The best car in the world? We don't think so, but it is pretty good

Tony Gott, chief executive of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars commented, "When we launched the Bentley Arnage last year we were naturally pleased at the reaction from journalists once they had driven the motor car. Headlines like "Pedigree in Precision" and "The best new Bentley for sixty years" make all of our efforts worthwhile. I believe we have now improved the Arnage further with the choice of the legendary six and three quarter litre Bentley engine, with greatly increased accommodation in the interior, and even more precise ride and handling capability."

Mr Gott continued, "This is a further benefit of our ownership by Volkswagen AG, as our original plan at launch saw us making the ride and handling and accommodation upgrade two years further out. Also, the six and three quarter litre V8 engine was not due to be upgraded to meet further emission requirements. However with access to Volkswagen's technical facilities this has now been achieved, allowing us to create the Red Label Arnage. We believe existing customers will applaud these improvements, and that customers new to the marque will find them too hard to resist. Also we believe traditional Bentley enthusiasts, who regretted the passing of the six and three quarter litre V8 in four-door cars will now find the combination of the refined Arnage chassis and the big capacity engine unbeatable."

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