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Bentley Arnage

Bentley Arnage Published: 11th Jan 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Bentley Arnage
Bentley Arnage
Bentley Arnage
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Now’s the right time to pick up a good example of this svelte sports saloon – with Rolls-Royce or Bentley badges – and sit on it

The Mulsanne may have injected welcome young blood into these traditional Crewe’s liners but the later 1990’s Seraph and Arnage replacements gilded the lily.

These saloons are perfect alternatives to those who want a taste of the good life but are put off by the Bentley GT’s showy looks and unfortunate WAGs image and while they aren’t predicted to head skywards in terms of value yet, are still brilliant British bargains that are ripe for acquiring, using and hedging a bet as a future investment – some versions such as the Arnage T are already being highly prized while Rolls-Royce Seraphs rarely come on the market…

Dates to remember

1998

Arnage débuts, with a twin-turbo BMW 4.4-litre V8. This early edition is something of a disappointment but soon after the Arnage’s introduction the Volkswagen Group buys Bentley and responds by reinstating the old Mulsanne engine. Meanwhile, the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph is also introduced but fitted with BMW’s 5.4-litre V12 engine and identical to the Arnage apart from the radiator grille, badges and wheels.

1999

Arnage Red Label appears in September, with the classic 400bhp 6.75-litre pushrod V8. From this point on, the BMW-engined Arnage is known as the Green Label and are produced together until 2000 when the big Crewe carve sees a big split.

2000

Raft of changes, like improved rear seat space, standard sat-nav, speedsensitive power steering, clear indicator lenses plus bigger (18-inch) wheels.

2001

LWB Seraph is stretched (10 inches) and called the Park Ward. Production lasts for just a year, with 127 being made. Bentley’s Le Mans heritage sees a special edition of that name celebrate the company’s return to the legendary 24-hour race, 154 examples of this more macho looking sports saloon are built.

2002

Red Label LWB offered. Arnage T and Arnage R is launched: T is a serious 450bhp Q car and fastest model ever to wear a Bentley badge, Rolls drops the Seraph.

2003

Extra long RL launched with 450bhp.

2006

V8 is revised with stretch to 6761 resulting in an added 50bhp. Run out models for 2008 called Final Series with a whopping 500bhp.

Buying advice

Like the Bentley GT, these cars are more complex than a Mulsanne so budget accordingly; a set of front brake pads costing £300 is a prime example. Check the servicing; independent specialists are fine – but it needs to be somebody with a decent reputation. Rust shouldn’t pose a problem but wear and tear does and wheels and interior don’t fare well in this respect plus pricier to correct than you’d credit.

The V8 is long lived but beware of head gasket failure,s piston knock and exhaust manifolds woes. The suspension and brakes have to work hard; check they’re not tired, as they often are. Cars that are used only sparingly might be suffering from corroded brake discs – and increasingly, these cars are used only on an occasional basis.

What makes this classic so special to drive and own in 2019?

The Arnage and Silver Seraph are a huge advancement on the Shadow-based Mulsanne displaying none of their moans and groans and is certainly a sharper tool to pilot. The Bentley remains the sportier drive of the pair, in fact, the Arnage and Seraph can almost be treated as two distinct cars because the buyer who wants one of them probably won’t want the other. Bentley made a raft of changes in 2002 to improve the chassis, resulting in a big improvement for the driver who prefers a sports saloon rather than a cruiser, which the Rolls does well.

Best buys & prices

The Rolls Seraph is the rarer (and slightly dearer) and the two Bentleys differ in many ways too. As a classic the more aggressive, noisier Arnage T is the one with the R the refined alternative which is why you have to try both to see what suits you best. The Rolls, despite its V12, is an acquired taste, say specialists but most are sub £30K bargains; in fact, £20,000 will net you a good ordinary one and values won’t dip much further before they rally. Arnage Ts are already seen as modern classics; reckon on £50,000 plus.

From £16,000 target price £22,000



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