Bentley Arnage Red Label
(1999 – 2002)
Bentley Arnage Red Label, 2001, #YCX05945. RONAL, Europe’s premier manufacturer of light-alloy wheels, supplied specially designed wheels for the Red Label
When the Bentley Arnage Red Label was introduced at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show its specifications listed a figure of 835 Newtonmeter torque – nowhere in the world existed another four door motor car that came even near this enormous figure. The new was a clear indication on what Volkswagen after having invested a tremendous amount in the take-over of Bentley was willing to spend further investments: on positioning the marque with an unimitable profile of their own.
The Bentley Arnage Red Label
– the «Winged B» logos on the car were embedded in red enamel – was clearly separated from the Bentley Arnage Green Label. Shoehorned into the Red Label’s engine bay was the «familiar» turbo-charged V8-engine with a capacity of 6.75 litres, the one that was used on the huge Continental coupés and the Azure convertible, whereas the Green Label was powered by a 4 ½ litre V8-engine that came from BMW. The 6.75 litre engine had been subject to most careful development and boosted by a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger provided enormous torque at low rpm; 835 Newtonmeter at 2,100rpm to be exact.
It had been no easy task to arrange for that well-proven unit (its ancestor had been the 6¼ litre V8-engine that made its debut on Bentley S2 in 1959!) to meet all the demands of present day, e.g. exhaust emissions. Because an electronic control unit Zytek EMS3 was employed for digital engine management it had been a major task to make that communicate correctly with the other ECU’s – most of which were Bosch equipment. When the Bentley Arnage 4 ½ litre (it was still available as Bentley Arnage Green Label) had been developed, there had been absolutely no problems as regards compatibility, as the electronic control unit of the BMW-engine had been delivered by Bosch too.
Bentley Arnage, 1999, #YCX4001. The Swiss demonstrator is one of the earliest cars of this model; note the «starter’s» chassis number. (Photo courtesy of H.P.Koch)
The Bentley Arnage Red Label sported a re-designed front suspension. That resulted inevitably from the new model weighing a hefty 224kg more than its lower capacity sister model – not least due to the «big block»-engine having been decided upon. This might well have the reason too for ventilated disc brackes of increased diameter; 348 mm front and 345 mm rear. The more powerful brakes were also fitted to the Bentley Arnage Green Label – and the model did benefit too from a some alterations to the body aft of the B-post. Without changes to the outward appearance some 5cm (2in) more legroom for rear seat passengers had been achieved.
The potential of the new parent company did permit a multitude of additional improvements to become series standard, for example one-touch power folding door mirrors (previously an extra) and satellite navigation. Customer reaction to a long wheelbase version of the Bentley Arnage Red Label was tested with a prototype exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in September 2000. The response to a most lavishly equipped model with a wheelbase extended by 250 millimetres (9.8 inches) was quite promising. Quick reaction to market demand was exercised when at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2001 the Bentley Arnage Red Label lwb was launched as a standard model. Skillfully lengthening the front and rear doors the designers ensured that the Anage’s proportions remained pleasing; this was head and shoulders above the result of some stretching processes with simple extensions in the floor and roof and wider B-posts. The extra length and weight had been taken into account for the suspension settings as well as for the engineering of steering and brakes. All in all a magnificent combination of undiminished sporting performance and luxurious extra space in the rear seating area.
Bentley Arnage Red Label, 2002, #1CX06496
All aluminium 8 cylinder engine, 90 degree V-configuration; bore x stroke 92 x 79 mm, capacity 4,398 cc; 4 valves per cylinder, 4 overhead camshafts; twin turbochargers, intercooler; digital engine control; max. power 350bhp (260kW / 354PS) at 5500 rpm, max. torque 413 lb/ft (570Nm) between 2500 and 4200 rpm
(from 1999 optional: 8 cylinder 90 degree V-configuration; aluminium-silicon alloy cylinder block with cast iron wet cylinder liners; bore x stroke 104.14 x 99.06 mm (4.1 x 3.9 in), capacity 6,750 cc; aluminium alloy cylinder heads, Zytek EMS3 digital engine control, exhaust driven Garrett AirResearch turbocharger with intercooler; 420bhp/313.4kW at 4,000 rpm, max. torque 875Nm at 2,200 rpm); 5-speed automatic gearbox (from 1999: «old» 6,75 litre V8-engine in combination with a 4-speed automatic gearbox); independent suspension front and rear with automatic ride height control, auto load compensator and headlamp leveling; automatic stability control, aquaplaning detection; ventilated disc brakes front (334 mm) and rear (328 mm), anti-locking device; wheelbase 3,116 mm (from 2001 long wheelbase version 3.366 mm available), track front and rear 1,608 mm; tyre size 255/55R17; max. speed 150 mph (240 km/h; from 1999: with «old» 6,75 litre V8-engine 260 km/h)
Bentley Arnage Red Label, 1999, #YCX4001. (Photo courtesy of H.P.Koch)
2273 Bentley Arnage Red Label