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|Bentley claims Arnage T is the fastest production four-door saloon in the world and the most powerful road-going Bentley, with its 645 lb-ft of torque topping all production cars.|
Ever been physically embossed into diamond-quilted Connolly hide with a single touch of the throttle? Ever stood on a rail station platform, gazed at a locomotive pulling out and felt you could really, truly, sniff all that torque? Get a little warm and fuzzy mulling the low-rev pulling potential of a steam engine? Got a spare $230,000 kicking around?
Then Bentley wants your name and number. Because the new Arnage T packs a fresh level of thunderation—what else can you call it?—into a luxo-limo. In ambience, it’s Keith Richards primped in bespoke tweed: restrained, eccentric, defiantly English, distinctive yet always, but always, ready to rock.
You want numbers? Understood. Try 450 hp (50 more than last year’s Red Label).
Or 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds (vs. 6.3).
And the clincher: 645 lb-ft at 3250 rpm, ready, willing and able to liquefy those rear 255/50ZR-18 Pirelli P-Zeros with another 29 lb-ft atop the Red Label’s stupendous grunt. The official top speed is 168 mph: Bentley engineers have seen 174 mph slicing the slipstream in testing, no worries. And, yes, Arnage T weighs 5700 pounds. Think NASCAR stocker gift-wrapped in cashmere. Makes the average Ferrari feel effete.
You want the how and why? Don’t think tuned car clichés. Don’t imagine Bentley resorting to shade-tree fettling or hiring some vaguely post-adolescent chip-monkey to reprogram assorted black boxes. Fifty percent of this 6.75-liter V8 is new—and 80 percent is re-engineered. Bentley has revivified the venerable two-valve-per-cylinder, push-rod V8 to release steamship torque and gain global emissions compliance through 2005.
In outline, Arnage T goes close-coupled twin turbo, replacing the previous monocharger layout. Catalysts nestle close to the blowers, with race car-style dual-wall stainless-steel headers. Water jackets have been rerouted in the block. Pistons are new, lacking valve cutouts. Valvegear features stronger pushrods, high-lift valves and a new cam. Bosch ME7 engine management utilizes a drive-by-wire throttle and chats lucidly to a Bosch stability control and traction control system.
GM’s four-speed autobox features cool-ing upgrades and the rear axle is a new ZF design, with double the torque capacity of the previous Arnage fitment. Suspension? The front is stiffened, the rear Arnage-proven (with electronically overseen Sachs-Boge damping), save for the adoption of an antiroll bar. Arnage is a good basis to work on, with double wishbones supporting each end of the car.
|The four-speed transmission has been strengthened to handle the extra torque. Styling changes include a new bumper and sills.|
Roll stiffness is up by 57 percent. Brakes are Arnage-specific. The bodyshell is braced and reinforced—in the wheel arches, roof, sills and front bulkhead—while a lower front spoiler, bigger front brake ducts and a barely visible crease traversing the trunklid improve stability at speeds where this car must be close to shredding hitherto benign air molecules.
Applying a suitably stout English brogan to the accelerator is a revelation. You expect a thick, creamy throttle response, appropriate to a car with a 5000-rpm redline and lofty cruising gait of 36.78 mph/1000 rpm. Instead, Arnage T reacts with a real lightness of touch, a feather-footed step-off more akin to a base-model Honda Civic than personal transportation bigger than a newlywed’s apartment.
And there are moments—repeatedly, frequently—when Arnage T feels happily over-engined with a thoroughness that delightfully transcends all notions of political correctness in motoring.
The microchips overseeing the stability and traction control systems must be beyond battle-hardened: Hoofing out of a low-speed turn is to engage in a dialogue between flywheel and road surface that stutters repeatedly as the car attempts to broker an omnidirectional passage along Oversteer Boulevard. Without traction control, Arnage T would surely be undriveable.Maybe. You can turn the system off. Doing so confirms that this car has, in no particular order, a crisp turn-in, oddly low roll and pitch angles and a chassis setup providing understeer into a turn, neutral-ish handling mid-corner and then bucketfuls of oversteer on the way out. If your idea of a real good time is defining the physical boundaries separating Bentley from scenery, go for it. If other areas of your life access major white-knuckle yuks, though, feel free to rely on Herr Bosch’s dutiful army of diodes to keep you atop the straight and narrow.
There is something brilliant and simul-taneously ridiculous about Arnage T. The torque is, frankly, seductive and apparently ceaseless. Where rivals hum, the Bentley thrums. It doesn’t just accelerate: It slices the horizon with the grace of manicured fingers slipping into a calfskin glove. Stuff you expect to be either horrible or compromised by its lust for power—low-speed ride quality, that beguiling Bentley dynamic mix combining solidity with grace—remain intact. There’s even a lovely cush in its response to zitty asphalt at urban speeds.
|New sports seats, interior details and the engine are among the changes for ’02.|
And the ambience? Don’t think Recaros and fake carbon fiber. Try, instead, walnut veneers inset with engine-turned aluminum on dash and door trims. To dawdle your fingers across the rear seat picnic tables is to discover seamless melding of tree and metal, underscored by polished supporting bracketry that looks as if it could brace a small bridge. It’s that old craftsmanship thing.
There are compromises within Arnage T, sure. It is reassuringly driver-biased. Front seat occupants feel as if they are at the epicenter of an inimitable travel experience. Those in the rear enjoy the aesthetic of a gentlemen’s club, but there’s a looser feeling to the ride quality, a lot more bump-thump and body movement than is apparent to travelers up front. Plus, it’s not whisper-quiet: Arnage T isn’t noisy compared to luxury rivals, but this car doesn’t boast that reassuringly hermetic aural insulation that comes standard with a Lexus LS 430, either.But just as the Lexus is quintessentially Japanese in fit-and-finish, sporting the same level of anally engineered detailing as a Sony video camera, the Arnage T feels thoroughly, deeply English.
Which is weird. Because this is the first true Bentley product engineered after the Volkswagen takeover. This car gets its aero makeover in Audi’s wind tunnel. High-speed running? Done at VW’s private oval tucked within a German forest. Test and durability protocols? Audi. Volkswagen. German.
Arnage T is the first Series II Arnage product: A regular sedan and long-wheelbase lounger follow. Bentley claims to have spent more on the upgrade program than was shelled out for the complete design and development of the original Arnage and its Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph sibling.
|Based on the turbocharged aluminum V8 that debuted in the Bentley Mulsanne in 1982, the new 6.75-liter V8 has been extensively redesigned, with twin turbos and the latest Bosch engine management system. More than 50 percent of the engine is new, and of the remainder, more than 80 percent has been re-engineered.|
That Audi—Bentley’s immediate paymaster within the VW ziggurat—has sufficient confidence in the marque to comprehensively enhance this model range at midlife is reassuring. That it has the discernment to improve this car without compromising its essential character—Prince Charles in Adidas spikes—is even more impressive.
You warm to Arnage T. Daftly fast, as understated as something this big, this expensive, this redoubtable can be. Inescapably European with a bighearted nature intended to appeal to Americans. How best to encapsulate its unique flavor, an indefatigable sense of breeding well-mannered yet brutal? That’s it. This car might be named Arnage—but you’d best call it Arnie.
Bentley Arnage T Specifications (from Bentley)
Front-engine, rear wheel drive, 5 seat, 4-door saloon
Unit Construction Material Coated Steel
V8, cast aluminium alloy engine block and cylinderhead
Bore & Stroke 104.16 mm x 99.06 mm
Displacement 6.75 litres
Compression ratio 7.8 : 1
Engine Control System Bosch ME 7.1.1
Valve gear Overhead push rod operated through self-adjustinghydraulic tappets
Emission Controls 3-way, catalytic converter, feedbackair-fuel ratio control One 3-way catalytic converter per bank
Power 450 bhp (336 kW) at 4100 rpm
Torque 645 lb.ft (875 Nm) at 3250 rpm
Transmission 4 speed automatic
Ratios 1st 2.48, 2nd 1.48, 3rd 1.00, 4th 0.75
Final Drive 2.92:1
Dimensions & Capacities
Wheelbase 3116 mm (122.77 in.)
Front Track 1602 mm (63.12 in.)
Rear Track 1602 mm (63.12 in.)
Overall Length 5400 mm (212.76 in.)
Width (across mirrors) 2125 mm (83.73 in.)
Width (across body incl. Door handles) 1932 mm (76.12 in.)
Overall height 1515 mm (59.69 in.)
Kerb weight 2585 kg (5700 lb)
Fuel Tank Capacity 100 litres (26.4 US gallons)
Oil Capacity 10.5 litres (22.2 US pints)
Coolant Capacity 20 litres (42.2 US pints)
Front Quadrangle sub-frame supporting the steering rack,with rubber isolated lower wishbones. Independent front and rear suspension.
Rear A pressed steel sub-frame supporting rubber isolatedupper and lower wishbones
Dampers Computer controlled 3 stage adaptive electro-hydraulicdampers
Ride Height Control Automatic ride height control withauto load compensation
Type Power assisted, rack and pinion steering with compliantouter track rods
Ratio 17.5: 1
Turns, lock to lock 3.11
Front Ventilated discs
Diameter 348 mm
Rear Ventilated discs
Diameter 345 mm
Power Hydraulically boosted front & rear brake circuit,incorporating an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
Wheels & Tires
Wheel size 8J x 18 or optional 8J x 19
Wheel type Aluminium Alloy
Tire size front/rear 255/50 R18 102Y or optional 255/45R19 104Y
Inflation Pressure 18.in.tyre - Front: 32 psi Rear: 34psi or optional 19.in.tyre - Front: 33 psi Rear: 36 psi
Urban 30.7 litres/100km/9.2 mpg
Extra-urban 14.8 litres/100km/19.1 mpg
Combined 20.6 litres/100km/13.7 mpg
City driving 11 miles/US gallons
Highway driving 16 miles/US gallons
Combined 13 miles/US gallons
0-60mph 5.5 seconds
0-100mph 13.5 seconds
30-50 mph 2.0 seconds
50-70 mph 3.0 seconds
0-100 km/h 5.8 seconds
0-160 km/h 13.4 seconds
50-80 km/h 1.9 seconds
80-120 km/h 3.8 seconds
Maximum Speed 270 (170) 4th
A.M.S. Stopping Distance 36.47 metres/2.63 seconds
SAE Volume front seat 51.4 cu.ft
SAE Volume rear seat 53.3 cu.ft
Front legroom 1021 mm (40.2 in.)
Rear legroom 1049 mm (41.3 in.)
Front headroom 988 mm (38.9 in.)
Rear headroom 963 mm (37.9 in.)
Front shoulder room 1443 mm (56.8 in.)
Rear shoulder room 1494 mm (58.8 in.)
Luggage Compartment Volume 0.374 cu. metres (13.2 cu.ft)
SRS airbags Driver, front and rear passengers
Seatbelts Lap and diagonal Pre-tensioners and webbing lockingdevices on front seat belts
By RUSSEL BULGIN
Source : http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/minister-silly-torque-new-bentley-arnage-t-walks-wild-side
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