Bentley's Elite New Drive

Exclusivity is perhaps the main ingredient in the making of a status symbol.

Consider Rolls-Royce's (other-otc: RYCEY - news - people ) new Phantom Drophead convertible, which is sold out for the next two years. The waiting list for the model is 300 people deep, so even billionaires will have to stand in line if they want one.

Fellow British automaker Bentley has a similar plan in mind.
In Pictures: Bentley's Elite New Drive

The company recently unveiled its new Brooklands model, which it is calling "the world's most exclusive coupe."
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Bentley will start delivery in the first half of next year, and will build no more than 550 during the vehicle's lifetime. The company's engineers will hand-assemble each one, using its famous, traditional coach-building techniques and craftsmanship skills in wood veneer and leather hide.

Decadent Drive
The four-seat, grand touring coupe has old-school British proportions, and complements luxury with racy performance.

"Brooklands" is the name of a British racetrack at which Bentley excelled in the 1920s. In fact, although Rolls-Royce and Bentley were sister companies for years, Bentley was originally known as a racing company--and is by far the sportier of the two brands.

The Brooklands, which will be Bentley's flagship coupe, pays tribute to its namesake in two ways. It has sportier design cues than the company's current flagship Arnage sedan, which is more sedate and stately. It also features the most-powerful V-8 engine Bentley has ever built: a twin-turbo, 530-horsepower, 6.8-liter unit. The car will use a six-speed transmission.

We are suckers for old-school proportions, and the Brooklands is an instant design classic--powerful and rakish. It features a long hood, short front overhang (the portion of the front extending forward longitudinally from the center of the front wheels), long rear overhang, low roofline, steeply raked screens, pillar-less side glass and standard, 20-inch wheels.

Exclusive Extras
Some of the Brooklands' design cues are only possible due to the car's low volume and Bentley's expertise and hand-building of its automobiles.

For example, the car uses what Bentley calls a "floating" rear window--one in which the screen's lower edge sits well above the trunk's upper edge to provide a flowing line to the car's rear. Bentley says this kind of construction is only possible with hand-welding.

The Brooklands' interior will also feature top-drawer hand-craftsmanship--a Bentley signature. Customers will be able to choose from an extensive selection of hides, veneers, carpet tones--and even seat-belt colors.

But this is not the Queen's limo. The Brooklands features bucket seats, and such sporty design accents as aluminum foot pedals and an aluminum footrest.

Still, Bentley says the car's interior designers sought to offer the highest levels of comfort and legroom, and says the pillarless window design enhances the feeling of interior space. Four adults can fit easily in the Brooklands, and the individual rear seats feature electrically operated, sliding cushions--and are set further back in the cabin than the seats in Bentley's flagship Azure convertible.

Forbes Fact
Brooklands--a challenging, banked racetrack located in Surrey, England--is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. During the 1920s and early '30s, the track was the scene of some of Bentley's greatest racing triumphs.

1 Comment:

Jerome said...

I believe Bentley is with its own market niche, because certainly it is very difficult to obtain high performance sport vehicle together with ultra spacious are for passengers.



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