Used 2007 Bentley Arnage
Edmunds' Expert Review
While the 2007 Bentley Arnage's ambience, performance and luxury rank among the world's finest cars, its six-figure price hike over arguably superior competitors makes it a questionable value even by the standards of this whimsical price bracket.
When Volkswagen took control of the storied Bentley make in the late '90s, it quickly set about to infuse the stodgy British automaker with modern design, German engineering and an expanded lineup of models accessible to the merely rich instead of the absurdly rich. For the most part, VW has been successful, but keeping a toehold in the past is the 2007 Bentley Arnage, which upholds the marque's tradition of building big, bold, unabashedly British touring sedans. Whereas other high-luxury sedans tout their precision engineering and supreme levels of refinement, the Arnage brings old-money prestige and acres of wood trim to the table.
While most sedans in this price range use a 12-cylinder engine, the 2007 Bentley Arnage drives its rear wheels with a twin-turbocharged 6.8-liter V8 whose 738 pound-feet of torque make a Corvette look like a Cobalt (though the Arnage's corpulent 5,700-pound body somewhat dampens the effect). New turbochargers boost that engine's output by 50 horsepower in all models in 2007, gas gets gulped at the rate of 12 mpg and the Arnage's imposing wide-eyed look means business. Not exactly what you'd call inconspicuous consumption. Ride quality is as plush as you'd expect it to be in a $200K luxury sedan, but with the Arnage's aged platform, handling is by no means as precise or refined as in the Bentley's newer, more sophisticated competition.
Bentley character is also evident throughout the Arnage's interior, which is famous for being vast in room and opulent in feel, though sometimes confusing and inconsistent in layout. Such inconsistency is the result of imposing modern-day technology in a cabin whose original design was conceived decades ago.
Overall, we think anyone planning to blow the bank on a car should think about going the extra monetary mile to get everything right. Newer engineering, a more rewarding drive and more regal interior furnishings can be found within the Maybach 57 and Rolls-Royce Phantom. The same holds true for Bentley's own VW-engineered (and $50,000 cheaper) Continental Flying Spur sedan, not to mention many of the less prestigious German touring sedans. Still, if rarity and British boisterousness mean more to you than any other measurement of merit, the 2007 Bentley Arnage might be right up your alley.
Trim levels & features
The 2007 Bentley Arnage sedan comes in three trims: the $230K "mainstream" Arnage R, the sportier $250K Arnage T and the stretched $270K Arnage RL. Those who demand absolute power look to the Arnage T for its 50-hp edge, while the Arnage RL's extra 10 inches of body and wheelbase should please those seeking more backseat room than they could ever use. Aside from being loaded at all levels, with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power front seats with four-position driver memory, reclining rear seats, tri-zone climate control, DVD navigation, Bluetooth, and front and rear parking sensors, Bentley offers plenty of customization options for colors, materials, wheels, badging and entertainment systems.
Performance & mpg
All Arnages now use Bentley's long-running 6.8-liter V8, which evolves for 2007 with Mitsubishi twin turbos that spool up faster than last year's. With 500 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque in Arnage T trim, this engine works with a new six-speed automatic transmission to rocket the huge rear-wheel-drive sedan to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The Arnage R and RL's 450 horsepower provide slightly less speed, but with torque rated at 645 lb-ft, expect either of these Arnages to feel more forceful than their numbers suggest.
Bentley loads up every 2007 Arnage with side and head airbags for front and rear passengers, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front and rear parking sensors and a tire-pressure monitor. No agency has crash-tested the Arnage, but with 5,700 pounds and loads of crush space at both ends, the laws of physics are on Bentley's side.
The 2007 Bentley Arnage has big power, big torque and big brakes to go with its big size. Naturally, all this bigness results in the none-too-small number of a 5,700-pound curb weight, which keeps performance at rather average levels for a luxury car. More linearity in the throttle and brakes wouldn't hurt, either, nor would more feel in the steering. Still, the massive torque makes the Arnage feel alert at any speed. In addition, some will equate the heavy-handed way in which the Bentley goes about its work with luxury and stateliness -- qualities that extend to the way the Arnage absorbs bumps and road noise on the open highway.
The Bentley Arnage continues the classic English fashion of beautifully finished leather and wood surroundings, all arranged for an opulent old-world feel. Upgrading to the new world is as easy as checking the option boxes for DVD, dual-screen LCD TVs, Alpine six-disc MP3 CD changer, or no kidding a personal computer with wireless keyboard. The mood of luxury is somewhat spoiled by a cheap-feeling turn signal stalk and aesthetically mismatched stereo and navigation systems that desperately need ergonomic help. Still, the Arnage is still a one-of-a-kind place with stretch-out space for five.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Bentley's contemporary range can be split into two camps: "old money" and "new money." The Continental GT, Flying Spur and even the new GTC are the choice of the professionally successful. Each was developed before Volkswagen's takeover of Bentley in 1998, and is based on the platform of the Volkswagen Phaeton. They are ultramodern sophisticates laced with old-world charm. In their native Britain, they are the preferred choice of the professional soccer player.
The 2007 Bentley Arnage T, though, is different. This is a car that was developed in the mid-'90s and can trace its lineage back to the 1920s and the time of W.O. Bentley. Priced from $242,990, it remains the choice of the discerning, old-money elite. Its British owners are often prefixed by the title "Lord" or "Her Majesty."
Since its 1998 unveil, the car has undergone several significant overhauls. The old Bentley 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 was reintroduced in 1999 and a heavily revised version of the same engine — now featuring twin turbos — was introduced in 2002 as part of a raft of dynamic changes. Then in 2005, the styling was revised with the return of round.
For 2007, the car has been face-lifted again with changes to the Arnage T model boosting power output to 500 horsepower and torque to a tugboatlike 738 pound-feet. This is the car that's waiting outside Bentley's British headquarters, with our name on the key.
Elegance, thy name is Bentley
The Arnage has tremendous road presence — you arrive in the Bentley. This is a vast car — in short-wheelbase "T" guise it's still 17 feet 8.6 inches long — but it also has a timeless elegance that transcends whimsical fashions.
The interior, too, is a haven of good taste. The cows that died for the leather trim should be proud of their lifelong work, and if the burr walnut looks like it was lovingly crafted by hand, that's because it was. There are some wonderful touches, such as the analog fuel gauge that reads from "full" to "empty." The tactility of some of the fixtures and fittings, such as the door handles, is also a delight. Our test car had a classic beige leather/walnut ambience, but Bentley also offers a mix of black wood and machined aluminum, which looks terrific.
There are faults, of course. Whereas the vastly cheaper Continental range gets an integrated navigation and stereo system, for example, the Arnage makes do with an ugly stereo and an off-the-shelf navigation system that pops out of the top of the center stack. But they don't ruin the splendor of the occasion. No Mercedes, not even the Maybach, conjures such a sense of well-being.
An age-old favorite reborn
One of VW's first acts when it took over Bentley was to announce the return of the company's age-old 6,761cc V8. This pushrod engine could trace its roots all the way back to the 6.25-liter of 1959 and it was thought too dated to cope with contemporary emissions regulations. But with a little German know-how, it was reborn and now it's been revised again.
The old Garrett turbochargers have been replaced with a twin set from Mitsubishi. These new blowers, coupled with modifications to the camshaft and valvetrain and a new engine management system, have seen the peak power rise from 450 hp to 500 hp at 4,200 rpm. If that sounds impressive, then consider that this engine also produces 738 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm, which is 281 lb-ft more than the new Porsche 911 Turbo musters.
To help make the most of all this twist action, Bentley has dumped the old four-speed automatic in favor of a six-speed unit from ZF. It offers standard and Sport modes and a sequential shift function for latter-day Bentley boys.
Bar bores will delight in the raw figures. Bentley says this 5,699-pound leviathan will scurry from zero to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds and bludgeon its way across the globe at 179 mph.
An emotive experience
What the raw figures can't reveal is the nature of the driving experience. Whereas most high-performance engines peak at around 7,500 rpm, the Bentley V8 calls time at just 4,600 rpm. There is none of the highly stressed freneticism of a modern unit, just a guttural roar and effortless urge. The new gearbox also slurs shifts with grace — only on uphill gradients does it occasionally hunt for gears, causing a slight jolt in the cabin.
The deployment of the power has been made easier by the development of a new Bosch ESP system. The old system used to intervene with all the subtlety of a Playboy party, but the new system engages with measured sophistication. It can genuinely be described as a driving aid.
The rest of the chassis is unchanged, but that's no bad thing — the Arnage is surprisingly accomplished. The steering is nicely weighted and offers much greater feedback than the system in the Continental GT. Body roll is also well checked and there's plenty of grip, although you're always aware of the car's immense size and mass.
A switch on the center console allows the driver to choose between standard and sport settings for the electronic dampers. Sport offers improved body control on undulating back roads without unduly compromising the ride quality. The standard mode delivers more low-speed comfort, although it's still not as smooth as the latest Mercedes S-Class. The four-wheel disc brakes could also benefit from a little more feel.
Charismatic and capable
The T is joined in the Arnage range by the 450-hp R, which is tuned for more comfort, and the long-wheelbase RL, which targets the chauffeur market. These are cars without an obvious rival. The Arnage is significantly cheaper than a Maybach or Rolls-Royce, but it's much more expensive than an S-Class. Objectively, the latter is a better car. It rides better, handles more adroitly and boasts a wealth of technology, but it can never match the exclusivity or hand-built charm of an Arnage — Bentley only builds around 700 each year. The 2007 Bentley Arnage T is something of a motoring curiosity but it's no longer a car for which you need to make excuses. It's both charismatic and capable.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2007 Bentley Arnage Overview
The Used 2007 Bentley Arnage is offered in the following submodels: Arnage Sedan, Arnage T. Available styles include RL 4dr Sedan (6.8L 8cyl Turbo 6A), T 4dr Sedan (6.8L 8cyl Turbo 6A), and R 4dr Sedan (6.8L 8cyl Turbo 6A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2007 Bentley Arnage?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.