You don’t give yourself anything else: Bentley Arnage vs. Flying Spur W12

You don’t deal with anything else
Bentley Arnage vs Flying Spur W12

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Bentley had the Arnage on the road; at the time, Bentley and Rolls-Royce were still united under the umbrella of the Vickers armaments company. Today, fans of large luxury sedans only have the Bentley Flying Spur with less displacement but more displacement (W12). But that was not always the case.

The good news is that, as confusing and dramatic as the behind-the-scenes movement of luxury car brands can sometimes be, the customer with a powerful bank statement doesn’t realize it and can enjoy their passion. automotive. However, it is also a fact that luxury brands’ chronic lack of money makes their products, often in the form of outdated technology, quite self-evident. When the Bentley Brooklands was finally replaced by the Inspire in 1998, the aging sedan (which debuted in 1980) had just burned out. Of course, the luxury liner still had its flashy looks, but technically it was time for something new.

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The Bentley Arnage was a state-of-the-art car for its time.

(Photo: Patrick Broich)

That finally came in 1998 in the form of the Bentley Arnage. Although Bentley and Rolls-Royce were still in the same hands at the time, and the British Vickers group owned both brands, BMW had long been involved in the development of the Arnage. So it happened that the Bentley inherited the eight-cylinder from the BMW M62 series, but here with a turbocharger. And the traditionally identical Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph just got the twelve-cylinder from the BMW seven-series E38, here even in an identical version with 326 hp.

A virtue out of necessity

But when Volkswagen was able to take over Bentley Motors after a bidding dispute, but Rolls-Royce’s trademark rights migrated to BMW, the Wolfsburg company had a problem: BMW didn’t even think about continuing to supply Bentley with engines. But Ferdinand Piëch made a virtue of necessity, simply taking the old 6.75-liter V8 as a template and modernizing the engine so fundamentally that only a few parts remained the same. As a result, the engineers donated the Arnage Red Label exactly to this giant V8, just as it is on the comparison vehicle, which came from the year 2001. Times are different today, but the legendary “six three-quarters” was still in service in the great Mulsanne until two years ago, also in the old part.

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Brooklands’ old 6.75 liter V8 became the model for a modernized Arnage engine.

(Photo: Patrick Broich)

But even if the era of the big burners is slowly coming to an end, it’s not over yet. Fans of large limousines with lush engines these days still get their money’s worth. Instead of the classic eight-pot V8 sounds, the six-liter Flying Spur top model drives a twelve-pot set, albeit with synth elements to stay in the music world. Anyone who has also driven the predecessor Flying knows what is going on. The constant, sonorous whine of all twelve cylinders has long since given way to sporty, snorting tones.

So that there are no misunderstandings, the W12 in the last stage of expansion is already on, but it is becoming more and more difficult to acoustically identify the twelve-pointed one. The Bentley Flying Spur is still a luxury sedan, but it’s no longer just velvety smooth, though that certainly goes for the stately seats. But not because of the air suspension, which tends to be tight, with which the two-and-a-half-ton truck can turn corners quite nimbly if the driver wants it to.

It’s all about the ultimate travel comfort

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Round analog instruments characterize the driver’s workplace in the Bentley Arnage Red Label.

(Photo: Patrick Broich)

But at the end of the day, it’s all about ultimate ride comfort, a discipline in which both candidates discussed here excel. The elder Arnage perhaps a little more in the original sense. He impresses with sovereignty in the purest form of him. The 6:15 doesn’t have to say much, or do much (in terms of revs). Its crankshaft makes 835 Newton meters easy, and at 2100 revolutions. These are truly diesel values: no wonder a four-speed automatic is enough here to put a big smile on the driver’s face. In the end, 6.3 seconds for the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h is not an insane value, but the way power is developed is fascinating. In addition, there is a silk-tuned chassis which, together with the 17-inch wheels from the 55 series, creates a really nice atmosphere. In the new model, the suspension elements have a lot more to do in view of the 305 rollers with a low profile of 35 and 21 inches.

Be that as it may, the world has gotten faster, which can also be seen in Flying’s performance. His 900 Newton meters are already available starting at 1350 courses, but he still encourages speed. You want to know what it feels like to accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds in a 5.32 meter craft. And the propulsion only ends at 333 km/h, somehow already absurd. But also kind of cool. Fully loaded, the Flying lets your guests sink deep into leather couches, keeps pace with the mighty sports cars on the highway, takes on a husky tone without revealing the subdued atmosphere of the lounge. The Arnage can also run quite a bit, accelerating exhilaratingly and hurtling over the 200 km/h threshold, even hitting 250 things with the right start. It can be done, it doesn’t have to be.

VW is the best thing that could have happened to Bentley

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The interior of the Bentley Flying Spur W12 is contemporary and modern.

(Photo: Patrick Broich)

To all the conservative car fans out there who are upset that a high-volume manufacturer like Volkswagen has taken over Bentley: Honestly, this is the best thing that could have happened to the brand. State-of-the-art infotainment, from the ultra-clear head-up display to the responsive touchscreen, are must-haves in this segment. There are also features that require 48 volts to make the Flying nimble, either with rear-axle steering or roll compensation via electric stabilizers. And of course the driver looks at an instrument cluster consisting of a TFT surface. The Arnage’s solution certainly impresses as well: the classic speedometer scales have something in between. And living better is the order of the day here and there.

Where Flying piano lacquer is adorned, the Arnage features highly polished rootwood. And even finer: an array of many classic circular displays for battery voltage, oil pressure, tank level and water temperature in the center console sparks nostalgic memories. But wait! The Flying can do that, too: With the push of a button, the modern touchscreen can be switched through three scales with a mechanical display, on which you can read things like outside temperature, compass direction, or elapsed time.

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There’s a lot of leather and chrome here and there.

(Photo: Patrick Broich)

Both Arnage and Flying Spur offer plenty of leather and solid metal, top workmanship anyway. And, of course, the comfort in the rear is legendary in limousines this large. Ample legroom, armchairs for dreaming. Unfortunately, the Flying Spur remains at least a dream for many interested as a new car, given a base price of 214,676 euros. At least putting it together is fun, after all, the configurator already offers nearly 60 exterior colors.

Special equipment worthy of a compact car can also be ordered very quickly. Instead, the Bentley Arnage is a real bargain, prices on the relevant car exchanges start from just over 20,000 euros. However, if you do not have an experienced screwdriver at hand, you have to calculate the same course again for workshop costs. Not to mention fuel costs and taxes. But you don’t give yourself anything else.

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