You read that right. Final. Lest Bentley pull a trick akin to an Eagles "farewell" tour, the 2009 Bentley Arnage Final Series will celebrate the end for the stately Arnage.
After ten years as Bentley's luxury flagship, the folks in Crewe decided to give it a proper send off. As the PR folks put it, the Final Series aims to combine the power of the Arnage T and the refinement of the Arnage R - and from a quick glance over the spec sheet, it seems they've done just that.
Culminating with the 50th anniversary of Bentley's first V-8, the Arnage Final Series makes do with a twin-turbocharged 6.8-liter V-8 borrowed from the T. Bentley rates the force-fed monster at 500 hp at 4200 rpm, and 738 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm. A six-speed automatic transmission, sourced from ZF, channels that power to the Arnage's rear wheels, allowing it to reach 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 179 mph.
Though the mechanicals are all about power, the Final Series' appearance emphasizes luxury. Most visible changes, both inside and out, are cosmetic, helping to emphasize the Arnage's lineage while enhancing its (already opulent) creature comforts.
While Bentley doesn't restrict paint options for the special edition car (some forty-two hues are available), some exterior baubles set the Final Series apart from its standard Arnage brethren. Although the 20-inch alloy wheels are awash in chrome, designers kept the car's bling to a relative minimum. Headlamp bezels, for instance, are now body colored, while the mesh inserts for the upper and lower grilles - albeit chromed - are dark tinted. Bentley also adds a retractable flying-'B' hood ornament, custom side fender vents, and the requisite 'Final Series' badges beneath the side indicators.
If you wondered where all the chrome went, look no further than the interior. Apart from the typical chromed switchgear, the Final Series adds chrome to the door sills, speaker grilles, and inlays the material within the Arnage's wood trim. Also chromed is a limited-edition flask, which - along with two shot glasses - store neatly in a seatback compartment.
Customers can choose one of twenty-five colors for their leather, which adorns everything from the headliner to the seats themselves. For the Final Series, Bentley adds custom contrast stitching to the seats, including a hand-embroidered Bentley emblem on each seatback.
The niceties continue with four custom-designed umbrellas, two wooden seat back tables, and a surprisingly advanced audio system. The Arnage Final Series eschews the CD medium for a receiver that, instead, reads digital files from an SD card. An iPod interface is also included, but perhaps most important is the 1000-watt amplifier and speaker set designed by Naim, a renowned British stereo manufacturer.
If these bells and whistles tickle your fancy or you'd simply like to cash in on the cachet of the "last Arnage," you'd better move fast. We wouldn't call the mostly hand-built Arnage a high-volume car by any means, but production of the Final Series is further limited to 150 cars. After which - well, Bentley won't say what will follow, but we'd expect yet another rear-drive flagship. Just don't call it Arnage.