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Flying Spares Buying Guide: Buying Arnage

Flying Spares Buying Guide: Buying Arnage

  • Posted by: Bruce
  • Category: News
Bentley Arnage

The Bentley Arnage is a true modern classic, a landmark model which turned the page on the early 1990s Brooklands and Turbo R. Manufactured in Crewe from 1998 to 2009, the Arnage enjoyed a far longer and more successful production run than its sister car, the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph.

Investing in a classic Bentley is a big deal, so take your time, do your homework, and enjoy the process. A good starting point is to check out the Rolls-Royce and Bentley Specialists Association and/or our list of recommended garages.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley Specialists Association

If buying privately or at auction you might get more bang for your buck but please tread carefully. Consider investing in a vehicle provenance check covering outstanding finance (debt), write-off history and stolen status. If possible, always take a test drive and make sure the paperwork (V5C logbook, MOT certificate and service history) is all present and correct.

Remember, Bentleys are the pinnacle of British automotive engineering, so go out and find one you love.

Bentley Arnage (1998)
Developed by Vickers and designed to be sportier than the Silver Seraph, the original Bentley Arnage featured a 4.4-litre BMW M62 V8 engine with a Cosworth twin-turbo, generating 349hp and 420 lb/ft of torque.
You might raise an eyebrow at the engine choice as this was around the time that Vickers sold the Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands to BMW and Volkswagen. With the BMW engine already controversial with Bentley purists, VW moved quickly to address the situation, launching the Arnage Red Label in October 1999.

Arnage Red Label and Green Label (2000)
Determined to deliver a statement model befitting its new flagship brand, VW renamed the BMW-powered car the Arnage Green Label (GL) and introduced the Bentley Arnage Red Label (RL).

The Red Label boasted an adapted version of the famous 6.75-litre, 16-valve Bentley engine from the old Turbo R. Delivering an epic 616lb ft of torque, many Bentley enthusiasts felt the Arnage finally had the engine it deserved.
The Red Label is generally considered more desirable. However, the Green Label, with double overhead camshafts and Bosch engine management, has gained a reputation for reliability and better economy.

A long wheelbase Red Label was launched in 2001, featuring Bosch engine management and twin Garrett turbochargers, but this was superseded the following year by the Arnage R.

Bentley Arnage Birkin (2000)
The last Arnage with the 4.4-litre BMW engine was the Bentley Arnage Birkin special edition, a tribute to 1920s British racing driver and ‘Bentley Boy’ Sir Henry Ralph Stanley “Tim” Birkin. It features a three-dial dashboard, compared to the usual five-dial.

Bentley Arnage R and T (2002)
In 2002, Bentley updated the Red Label as the Arnage R and launched the new, even sportier, Arnage T – at the time, the most powerful production Bentley.
Using the same wheelbase, the Arnage R featured two Garrett turbochargers to produce 400hp. Further changes came in 2007, when the turbochargers switched to Mitsubishi and six-speed ZF automatic transmission was introduced. This increased the power output for the Arnage T to 500 hp and 1,000 N⋅m (738 lbf⋅ft) of torque, while the milder Arnage R had 450 hp and 875 N⋅m (645 lbf⋅ft) of torque.

Limited Editions
Further limited edition Arnage models include the Le Mans, Diamond Series, and 2008’s Final Series. The Final features 20-inch alloys, a retractable ‘Flying B’ ornament, and an interior designed by Mulliner.
Bentley ceased production of the Arnage in 2009, replacing it with the Mulsanne.

What to look out for

Bentley Arnage Engine

Engine and transmission
Whichever member of the Arnage family you’re buying, make sure it comes with a full-service history showing maintenance via main dealers or reputable Bentley specialists. Low-priced cars that lack service history will be more difficult to sell at a later date. You’ll want to maintain your car’s service history, so make sure you can afford the running costs of an Arnage before you take the plunge.

The BMW-supplied V8 used in the earliest Arnage models is a reliable and robust unit, though as with any turbocharged model (twin-turbo in this instance) you need to ensure that the turbos themselves are in good condition. The majority of the Arnages you see for sale today will be powered by Bentley’s long-running V8, reintroduced by the firm for the 2000 model year.

This classic powerplant underwent major changes during the life of the Arnage, to such an extent that virtually nothing is interchangeable between a Red Label’s engine and a later model. Whichever version of that Bentley V8 is in your Arnage, it will be capable of covering high mileages with ease, although early examples have had head gasket issues. The head gaskets tend to fail at between 60,000 and 80,000 miles. A lot has to come out of the engine bay. You’ll be looking at £4500-5000 in total. Ask if this work has been carried out. Make sure you listen out for ‘knocking’ pistons, a sign that the engine has previously overheated.

Whichever ZF automatic gearbox (five or six-speed) is fitted, it should again be trouble-free when maintained well. Make sure that it doesn’t jump out of gear, that the changes up and down the box are fast and smooth, and that the kick down works perfectly during mid-range acceleration.

Want To Read More? Visit Flying Spares Buying Guide HERE

Author: Bruce

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