The Bentley Azure is a large, four seater convertible built by Bentley Motors Limited at its factory in Crewe, England. The model debuted in 1995 on the Continental platform and was produced in its original guise until 2003. A completely new version powered by a significantly updated engine and riding on the newer Arnage platform debuted in 2006. According to 2009 research by internet company Yahoo, the Azure is the fourth most fuel consuming car on sale in the United Kingdom.
First generation (1995-2003)Edit
|Manufacturer||Bentley Motors Limited|
|Assembly||Crewe, England, and Cambiano, Italy|
|Body style(s)||2-door convertible|
|Engine(s)||6.75 L L410 MT 1T turbo V8|
|Wheelbase||3,060 mm (120 in)|
|Length||5,340 mm (210 in)|
|Width||1,880 mm (74 in)|
|Height||1,480 mm (58 in)|
|Kerb weight||2,610 kg (5,754 lb)|
Bentley Continental R|
Rolls-Royce Corniche (2000)
The Azure debuted in March 1995 at the Geneva Motor Show on the platform of the Continental R model, which had been originally launched in 1991. Production only crept to a start, with a mere nine examples finished in the first year - in 1996, after full production had started, no less than 251 Azures were finished. Pininfarina assisted in the two-year process of turning the Continental R into a full four-seater convertible, and also built the shell and soft-top at their factory in Italy, largely from parts sourced in the UK. Final assembly was then carried out at Crewe. A roll-bar was never considered, which necessitated extensive reinforcing of the chassis. At 210 in (5,340 mm) in length and 5,750 pounds (2,610 kg) in weight, the Azure often surprised onlookers with its size and bulk, intended to both convey a sense of "presence" and allow for comfortable seating of four adult passengers.
Power came from the company's stalwart 6.75 liter V8, featuring a single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger and producing in the region of 360 hp - Rolls-Royce and Bentley did not yet give official power numbers at the time of the Azure's introduction. By the time production began in earnest, new engine management from Zytek meant a slight power increase to 385 hp (287 kW/390 PS) at 4,000 rpm and 750 N·m (553 lb·ft) of torque at 2,000 rpm; power was routed to the rear wheels via a modified, General Motors sourced, four-speed automatic transmission. With a zero to sixty miles per hour time of 6.3 seconds (0–100 km/h in 6.5 s) and a top speed of 241 km/h (150 mph), the Azure was very fast for a car of its size, weight and poor aerodynamic profile.
Owing to the limited space and workforce at Bentley's Crewe factory, the Azure's thick, powered convertible top was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina, which significantly added to the vehicle's cost. New in 1995, the Azure was priced at $347,645 -- $36,355 more than the Continental R on which it was based.
From 1999 through the end of production, the Azure was also available in "Mulliner" trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customization during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests.
Second generation (2006-2009)Edit
Bentley Motors Limited|
|Body style(s)||2-door convertible|
|Engine(s)||6.75 L Bentley V8|
|Wheelbase||122.7 in (3,117 mm)|
|Length||212.3 in (5,392 mm)|
|Width||1,900 mm (74.8 in) (w/mirrors: 2,125 mm (83.7 in))|
|Height||55.0 in (1,397 mm)|
|Kerb weight||5,941 lb (2,695 kg)|
Volkswagen purchased Bentley from Vickers in 1998, three years into production of the Mark 1 model. Volkswagen executives decided to keep the then-current Azure in production until 2003, then release its successor at a later date. Production of the new Azure began for the 2006 model year.
Now based on the Arnage platform, power comes from the current variant of the Bentley turbocharged V8 making 450 hp (340 kW) and 645 lb·ft (875 N·m) of torque. Volkswagen funded a significant re-working of the engine in 2001 to modernize it, including a switch from the old single-turbo system to a modern twin-turbocharger setup, reducing turbo-lag and increasing horsepower output. A new, model-specific six-speed automatic transmission feeds power to the rear wheels.
Bentley claims a 0 to 60 mile-per-hour time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h), slightly faster than the previous edition and still very good for a vehicle of this size and weight.
The United States Department of Energy lists Bentley Azure as the least fuel-efficient car in its class  with only 9 miles per US gallon (26 L/100 km/11 mpg-imp) city and 15 miles per US gallon (16 L/100 km/18 mpg-imp) highway rates.
Azure T (2009–2011)Edit
The "T" is a higher performance version of the Bentley Azure. Styling changes include 8.5J x 20-inch five-spoke, two-piece alloy wheels with 255/40 ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tyres, 'Le Mans' lower front wing air vents, dark-tinted upper and lower grilles, 'jewel' fuel filler cap (made from billet aluminium), door mirror mountings finished in body colour. The exterior styling was inspired from Bentley Mark VI.
Audio system includes large display audio head unit with Secure Digital (SD) memory card slot, iPod/USB/3.5 mm AUX interface; with optional 'Naim for Bentley' 10-speaker, 1100W audio system. Electronic Stability Programme, Tire Pressure Monitoring System are now standard equipment.
The twin turbocharged engine is rated 507 PS (373 kW/500 hp) and 1,000 N·m (740 lb·ft) torque. It has a 0–60 miles per hour time of 5.1 seconds (0–100 km/h at 5.5 seconds), 0-100 mph time in 12.1 seconds (0–160 km/h in 12.0 seconds) and a top speed of 179 mph (288 km/h).
The car was unveiled at the LA Auto Show.
|This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Bentley Azure. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia|
- ↑ "Drive Smart - Yahoo! Cars UK". Uk.cars.yahoo.com. Retrieved on 2009-10-24.
- ↑ Robson, Graham (1999). Rolls-Royce and Bentley: Volume 4: Silver Spirit to Azure 1980-1998 (Collector's Guide). Croydon, UK: Motor Racing Publications, 98. ISBN 1-899870-30-X.
- ↑ Robson, pp. 98, 100
- ↑ Robson, pp. 97, 122
- ↑ (March 6, 1997) Automobil Revue 1997 92 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 168. ISBN 3-444-10479-0.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Bentley Azure Detailed Specifications". Retrieved on 2012-02-17.
- ↑ "Most and Least Fuel Efficient Cars". Fueleconomy.gov. Retrieved on 2010-10-03.
- ↑ Nuñez, Alex (2008-11-12). "LA Preview: Bentley Azure T to debut in city of angels". Autoblog.com. Retrieved on 2010-10-03.
- ↑ Güney, Yusuf (2010-01-22). "Bentley Azure in Yusuf Güney's video clip Git Bedenim Buralardan". youtube.com/muyap. Retrieved on 2011-12-24.
- Ray Hutton, "Bentley Azure", Car and Driver (June 1995): 101–102.
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