All things that have a beginning must have an end (except for global economic crises: they seem to have no end.) In this respect, the 2009 Bentley Arnage Final Series is both a message and a messenger. The message is quite simple: we are tired of and are retiring the ultra-luxury car that topped Bentley’s model range for the last decade. The reason for that is probably as simple as that: after the brand’s archrival have re-introduced back in 2003 their gorgeous 7th generation of Rolls-Royce Phantom study on wheels, the lavish, yet archaic Arnage was basically doomed. Now it’s time to stop kicking the dead horse and to introduce something more relevant for the first decade of XXI century.
First introduced back in 1998, the Arnage was designed to gradually replace the equally archaic (although extremely luxurious) Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph that was expected to be discontinued in 2003 after BMW would finally take over the Rolls-Royce brand. Volkswagen, who have only managed to secure rights for Bentley marque and the legendary “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot, probably expected to keep leading position in the ultra-luxury niche by selling a vehicle that was at least not worse than the soon-to-be-slashed Silver Seraph.
What VW execs probably didn’t expect, was how much money BMW would be willing to spend to introduce their own version of a Rolls-Royce in order to not only make a serious claim on the segment, but also to re-imagine the marque as a brand that successfully combines excessive luxury with bleeding edge technologies offering their clients a blend of ultimate comfort and the German brand’s traditional driving pleasure.
I don’t have exact production and sales figures of Arnage during the last half-decade, but it looks that at some point it was clear that the vehicle is too archaic to still wear the range-topper’s crown.
After the 2009 Bentley Arnage Final Series is sold out, the super-luxury sedan will be discontinued and will soon be replaced with its ultra-luxury successor, which will have the Rolls-Royce Phantom in its cross-hairs.
As usual, the differences between the ‘normal’ Arnage and this Final Series version will be mostly cosmetic with the hardware being essentially the same. The limited edition version, for example, will still be motivated by a massive, twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V8 engine.
Updated exactly two years ago, the powerplant produces a maximum of 500hp of power and enormous 1000Nm (738lb-ft) of torque, which is more than enough to guarantee an ‘adequate’ acceleration time for such a heavy vehicle (the Arnage has a curb weight of more than 2.5 metric tones) that, while not being as insane as that of Bugatti Veyron, would still easily make your heart beat faster with all those high-grade steel, hand-made leather and precious wood sprinting from standstill to a legal speed limit (and maybe just a bit more.)
Inside, those lucky ones will find usual for this class of vehicles luxury interior that includes such daily amenities of life as a rear cocktail cabinet with a Final Series stainless steel flask and two shot glasses, as well as our Bentley umbrellas mounted in the trunk.
Only 150 copies of the car will be manufactured, Bentley says in its press release.