The Queen of England may not have the power that she once had, but she certainly remains a powerful figure in the hearts of all British folks. On June 2, 2012 the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne, which brought about a celebration dubbed the Diamond Jubilee – “Diamond” indicates 60 years, for those wondering.
In the festivities, the Queen was spotted riding around in a rather luxurious automobile that one of our readers keenly pointed out is either a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and he turned to us for help identifying the car and telling him a little about it. Figuring he is not the only person interested in the topic, we felt that a full-on review was in order.
As it turns out, after a good amount of research, we have found out that the queen traveled around in the Jubilee in a 2002 Bentley State Limousine. This is no typical Bentley limo either, as it is fit for a… Well, Queen, of course!
Click past the jump to read our full review of the Queen’s ride.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you have never seen a Bentley quite like this. They are all a little gaudy, but this one takes the cake. The reason you have never seen one like the Queen’s Bentley is because only two of them were ever produced, both were built for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The first thing that stands out is the fact that this vehicle is extremely long, tall, and wide, even for a Bentley. Your suspicions would be correct, as it measures in at 249 inches long, 79 inches wide, and 70 inches tall. This makes this monster 18.5 inches longer, 3.2 inches wider, and 10.1 inches taller than the 2011 Mulsanne sedan, which is a large car in its own right. It also weighs in at a massive 8,818 lbs, which is 3,119 lbs more than the Mulsanne sedan.
Most of its excess weight is due to extreme safety measures place on the Queen’s ride. First off, all of the body panels and glass are completely bullet-proof. There is also a mechanism to seal the cabin airtight, which would protect the Queen in case of a gas attack. The last bit of safety on the exterior that we are sure adds a little weight are the Kevlar reinforced, blast-resistant tires. We’re pretty sure those are not standard-issue Goodyears.
This massive body is draped in a deep burgundy that actually looks black from certain angles. You’ll also notice that there is plenty of glass for the Queen to look out of, including a glass panoramic roof. To help prevent the interior from getting too hot due to the vast areas of glass, each panel has a reflective coating laminated between the two sheets of glass that make up each window. This gives the Bentley a 15 percent tint on the side windows and a 40 percent tint on the roof panels without taking away its clarity.
With exception of removable opaque panels to block outside view of the rear seats, which were removed during the Jubilee, this about sums up the exterior of the Queen’s Bentley.
The Bentley’s interior does not get as much notoriety as its gorgeous exterior, so there is little information to share on it. The biggest thing is that due to its gigantic height increase, there is an awkward amount of headroom that makes adults look like kids when viewed from the outside.
A fully custom interior built by Hield Brothers keeps the Queen and her company comfortable. The rear seats are decked out in lambswool sateen cloth, not leather like you may expect. Don’t confuse sateen with satin, though, as sateen is a very thick and soft weave of cotton that any backside would be proud to sit upon.
Since there is no mention of the driver’s quarters – yes, the car is so big we call its front and rear “quarters” – we assume that it is pretty plain and there is not much of interest.
Under the hood of the Queen’s Bentley is a 6.75-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 400 horsepower and 616 pound-feet of torque, which this car needs all of to get its near-9,000-pound body moving. For some reason, there is an electronic limiter on the top speed of this beast, which will not allow it to exceed 120 mph. Strapped to this engine is an upgraded alternator to compensate for the extra electronics used in this car.
In more recent years, the 2002 Bentley State Limo was converted to run on LPG, which is the same gas people use for cooking. This sharply reduces the emission output of this Bentley eliminates the need for expensive gasoline.
There’s not much exciting going on under the hood of this car that we haven’t already seen time and time again from Bentley. It would have been nice to see a little output increase to compensate for the additional weight. Then again, this car is built for comfort, not speed.
We have absolutely no clue how much this car cost to build and if the Royal family paid for it or if it was donated. We can speculate though… This limo was based on the 2002 Bentley Arnage, which retailed at $213,000. Considering all of the armor, stretching and custom work, then a likely ballpark figure for this massive beast was in the $700,000 range, maybe even higher.
What else can we really say besides “It’s good to be the queen?” This machine, which was actually built for her Golden Jubilee in 2002, is just one of the few perks that she has earned over the last 60 years. We certainly wish her many more years and hope to see her inside this car until it is put out of service in 2027, which would put her at an impressive 101 years young.