What's New for 2010
The Bentley Azure becomes the Azure T for 2010 and gains a more powerful twin-turbo V8 in the process.
It's pretty safe to say that the 2010 Bentley Azure T is a rolling anachronism. When you examine the Azure's specs, it certainly seems like a car that stepped through time. For example: It's an 18-foot-long convertible. It has a "6.75-liter" V8 with a redline of 4,600 rpm. Its city fuel economy rating is in the single digits. It weighs 6,000 pounds. And if that doesn't sell it, maybe this will: It has a hood ornament.
But what one man dismisses as "antiquated" another might honor as a pleasant reminder of heritage. While Bentley has moved on to its more modern Continental line with turbocharged W12 engines and all-wheel drive, the Azure provides a vital tie to old-world motoring and the brand's honored past. The Continental GTC is certainly a better and more rational choice for most ultra-luxury shoppers, but the Azure's old-world charm is not without merit for those who desire something different and irrefutably grand in their multicar garages.
For 2010, the Azure (now the "Azure T") becomes even grander thanks to a more powerful twin-turbo V8 that produces 50 more horsepower and 93 more pound-feet of torque for a monumental total of 500 and 738, respectively. Its main competition is still just one other car, however: the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. It's $80,000 more expensive, but when you're in this price category, the Phantom's newer design, fresher styling, novel suicide doors and greater sheer presence is probably well worth it. It can't match the Azure T's colossal torque, however, and there will always be those who prefer a Bentley to a Rolls-Royce.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Bentley Azure T is a four-seat convertible that comes standard with a power-operated cloth top; 19-inch wheels; parking sensors; power-folding and auto-dimming exterior mirrors; xenon headlights; power front seats with heating, massaging and memory functions; power tilt steering wheel; tri-zone automatic climate control; a navigation system and a six-CD changer. Beyond the usual dizzying array of customization options (colors, leather, veneers, trims), Bentley offers 20-inch wheels, a rearview camera, an iPod interface and a 10-speaker Naim sound system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Azure is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.8-liter V8, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. The V8 cranks out 500 hp and a prodigious 748 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is impressive given the Azure's bulky 6,000-pound curb weight -- Bentley estimates a 0-60-mph sprint of 5.2 seconds. Fuel economy is an estimated 9 mpg city/15 mpg highway and 11 mpg combined.
The Azure T comes standard with side airbags front and rear, antilock brakes, stability control, front and rear parking sensors and roll bars that deploy from behind the rear seats.
Interior Design and Special Features
In the grand British tradition, the 2010 Bentley Azure has a beautifully crafted interior that's not especially functional. Exquisite leather and wood trim imbue the cabin with a classic old-world feel, and the extensive selection of carpets, wood and hide colors leave ample room for that personal touch.
However, the overall effect is diminished by a steering wheel that doesn't telescope and aesthetically mismatched stereo and navigation systems that are difficult to use. Such are the complications of installing modern electronics in an interior designed in the late '90s when such technology was but a glimmer in some nerd's eye. The Rolls Drophead and Bentley's Continental GTC stablemate aren't exactly models of ergonomics, but they are at least leaps and bounds ahead of the Azure in terms of functionality.
Enormous power and torque from the V8 notwithstanding, the 2010 Bentley Azure's 3-ton curb weight puts a damper on straight-line performance, though a 5.2-second sprint to 60 mph is nothing to sneeze at. The sub-5,000-rpm redline is a true novelty among gasoline engines in this day and age. Dynamically, the Azure feels its size around corners but there is an undeniable stateliness about the way it soaks up bumps and limits road noise on the open road.