Arnage coupe gets Bentley's most powerful V8; launches early '08
14 June 2007

Bentley's next big unveiling, the Brooklands, will go on sale in early 2008, and Crewe has today released further details on the low-volume two-door, as well as some beautiful photographs.We've collected all 28 of the shots in our gallery, and have also added two of the most stunning as wallpapers to pore over. If you like what you seen, you'll also want to pore over the specification of this new Brit-built supercoupe, so allow Autocar to run through a few of the car's highlights.

Powertrain

Starting with the important stuff, the Brooklands will be powered by the most powerful V8 that Crewe has ever produced. With 530bhp and 774 lb ft of torque, the company claims that the 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 has the highest torque output of any V8 automotive engine in the world. America's Shelby Supercars, with its 1094 lb ft V8-powered Ultimate Aero, might contest that claim, but few others could, as far as we can work out.With all that thrust to call on, the 2655kg Brooklands will tear to 60mph in just 5.0sec, hit 100mph in 11.6sec, demolish the 50-70mph kickdown dash in just 2.4sec, and go on to exceed 180mph.Through the application of a freer-flowing induction system, a sports exhaust and faster acting twin turbos, Bentley says it has improved the engine's headline outputs while at the same time reducing turbo lag and improving throttle response as low engine speeds. The Brooklands also gets the six speed, ZF automatic gearbox introduced to the Arnage and Azure ranges last year, which responds much more quickly to driver inputs, shaves significant seconds off the car's benchmark acceleration times, and improves fuel economy too.

Chassis

Bentley's aim for the Brooklands is to attain the handling of the Arnage T saloon with the ride comfort of the softer, more laid back Arnage R. It has adapted some of the body strengthening used in the Azure convertible, such as strengthened steel in the A-pillars, door sills, rear-three quarter sections and cant-rails and, as a result, the Brooklands' body is exceptionally stiff.That, in turn, has allowed Bentley's chassis engineers to use lower spring rates in the Brooklands' independent double-wishbone suspension without sacrificing body control, and thereby improving ride comfort. The Brooklands' suspension features electro-hydraulic adaptive dampers, automatic ride height control and automatic load compensation, all of which act to control the car's considerable mass at speed, and, we suspect, to give it surprising agility for such a heavy car.At each corner, the Brooklands will also run with specially developed 20in alloy wheels, Pirelli P-Zero tyres and, if you option them, Bentley's awesome carbon silicon carbide brakes. First seen on the Continental GT Diamond Series in 2006, these magnificent stoppers extend to 420mm at the front and 356mm at the rear. They're the largest carbon-ceramic brakes fitted to any production car anywhere in the world, they reduce unsprung mass by 8kg at each corner, and they should give the Brooklands excellent, fade-free stopping power.

Design

The look of the Brooklands picks up where the Continental R and T models left off for Bentley in the late '90s. Dramatically raked front and rear screens, a pillarless glasshouse and a low roofline conspire to give it a unique profile alongside its rangemates. Its roofline is, in fact, 47mm lower than that of the Arnage.The Brooklands will be hand-built, and that's freed the marque's hand to employ coach-building techniques you just wouldn't see on a volume-built car. Take a close look at the seemlessly integrated floating rear screen, for example; there's no panel join anywhere between the roof and the bootlid.Highlights elsewhere on the Brooklands' exterior are the front wing vents, jewelled fuel filler cap, embossed tread plates and dark-tinted steel bonnet grille.

Inside

The cabin is, of course, where the Brooklands gets really special. It's a proper four-seater; there's almost a metre of both legroom and headroom in the back, so even adults should find considerable comfort, and Bentley's stirring mix of veneer, hide, and polished stainless steel is definitely in evidence.The Brooklands cabin is trimmed entirely with leather hides as standard; even the headlining is hide. It uses the front seats from the Azure convertible, with their built-in seatbelts and side airbags, and a rear bench seat set 100mm further back than in the Azure, for increased leg room, and 25mm lower than in the Arnage, for maximum headroom.On the options list there are 42 exterior paint colours to choose from, 25 interior hides and three different cabin veneers. And if those aren't varied enough, you can always spec-up your Brooklands to individual specification through the Bentley Mulliner colour-matching and hide-selection service.

And the price?

We're not sure what the Brooklands will cost yet; it'll become the range-topper in Bentley's Arnage-based range, so expect a price tag a little north of the £200,000 mark.If you want one at all, through, you'll have to act fast. All of the model allocation for 2008 has already been sold, and only 550 will ever be made.

Matt Saunders

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