When Bentley launched the 2008 Brooklands in March at Geneva Motor Show it shocked the entire world. In the good way, of course! Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, said: "The interest in Brooklands since its unveiling in Geneva has exceeded our expectations. It is surely destined to become a collectors’ classic.” Me, personally I do not like this car, is too British for me, but then again I am not a big Bentley fan. They say is one of the most beautiful cars in the world, it might be, but I didn’t found its exterior beauty (because the inside is amazing). Yet!
One of the fastest luxury-coupe in the world, the Brooklands will be limited to only 500 units a year (thanks God! Imagine if you could see this car everywhere you go!) and will be priced to $330.000. And even if the first 500 units for the first year were sold out, I wonder who will pay that much for it. I mean, lets be serious, for this money you will have an Audi R8, a Porsche Turbo 997 and a BMW Z4 and you will still have money for the gas!
The car got its name after the famous British race track where Bentley was a victor in the 1920s (back then, Bentley was an icon f English motoring and had won four times the Le Mans).
The Brooklands is the coupe version of the Arnage sedan and the Azure convertible. Larger than a Continental GT, the Brooklands was designed to blend great performance and unbridled opulence and is created for an exclusive clientele. The Brooklands takes its design cues from the GT, one of the most successful cars for Bentley since its unveiling in 2004.
The Brooklands marks Bentley’s return to the luxury coupe market and reaffirms its reputation as creator of the world’s most exclusive coupe. . It is the ultimate Bentley: a stylish, four-seat, grand touring coupe with classic British proportions and muscular performance.
Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen describes the motivation behind the new coupé: “Bentley’s proud sporting pedigree, forged by the exploits of the immortal ‘Bentley Boys’ on the famous Brooklands racetrack in the 1920s, was the inspiration for our new coupé, capturing all the style, power and splendour of that era.”
The sporty design is matched with a powerful engine: the legendary Crewe-built V8 (the most powerful engine Bentley has ever done). The engine develops 530 hp and a peak torque of 774 lbs-ft.
The Bentley Brooklands is remarkably spacious cabin providing the ultimate in first-class travel for four adults at any speed. The low, fast roofline with dramatically raked front and rear screens and muscular lines give the Brooklands a distinctively sleek, sporting stance.
Each Brooklands will be hand-assembled, employing traditional coach-building techniques and the craftsmanship skills in wood veneer and leather hide for which Bentley is renowned. To ensure exclusivity, lifetime production will be strictly limited to just 550 cars, with deliveries expected to start in the first half of 2008.
Bentley has a long history in the two-door luxury coupes market. The ‘50s had been dominated by these British cars: the Park Ward Continental S1, and then the Continental R and T from the ‘90s became collectors’ classics. These three models had a major influence in the design and the character of the Brooklands.
When start working on this luxury-coupe, Dirk van Braeckel and his design team wanted to create “a powerful, muscular and rakish grand touring coupe with classic British proportions, in the finest Bentley tradition.”
But, even if the 2008 coupe is influenced by models from the 50s, its design and more than anything, it’s engineering are thoroughly contemporary. The proportions of long bonnet, short front overhang and long rear overhang achieve the design objective perfectly, while the low roofline, steeply raked screens and pillarless side glass convey both power and movement.
As the Brooklands will be built in very limited volume, the designers were able to introduce unique features that necessitate specialist coach-building techniques, as Programme Director, Ashley Wickham, reveals: “The Brooklands’ beautiful flowing lines are testament to the traditional coach-building skills and craftsmanship of Crewe’s highly talented workforce.”
The Brooklands’ fast flowing roofline is a perfect example of those skills. To create the appearance of a ‘floating’ rear screen demanded by the design team, the rear quarter panel and roof can only be joined by hand – impossible in mainstream production. This can only be achieved by individually hand-welding the rear wings to the C-pillars.
To further distinguished the exclusive character of Brooklands, Bentley used “Le Mans” front wing vents, a jeweled fuel filler cap, brushed aluminum ‘Bentley Brooklands ’ treadplates and a dark-tinted steel Bentley matrix grille with optional Flying ‘B’ retractable radiator mascot.
Brooklands was created as a sport coupe. And this intentions are reflected by larger diameter exhaust tailpipe finishers with rifled detailing to the inside surface. Brooklands also features unique underbonnet detailing with brushed aluminium ‘6 ¾ Liter Brooklands’ engine plaque. Embossed Bentley logos appear on the intercoolers. Each engine bears the signature of the team leader who oversaw its hand-built construction in the Crewe factory.
The fitment of 20-inch diameter wheels as standard, signaling the surefooted, robust and dynamic character of the new model, reaffirms the powerful stance of the new Bentley coupe.
While entering the car, you will be amazed by the luxury inside. And you have to agree that Bentley really managed to accomplish their mission: they created a luxury coupe with a distinctly sporting character. The richness of the finest natural materials alongside with an extensive palette of hides, veneers, carpet tones and seat belt colors make from the Brooklands a leaving paradise.
With room for four persons, the Brooklands’ interior is a distinctly sporting atmosphere, complemented by design accents such as aluminium foot pedals and footrest. A new, single-piece, hide-trimmed roof lining flows uninterrupted from the front windscreen all the way to the rear of the car, mirroring the long, sleek profile of the elegant exterior.
The cabin headlining is made entirely from leather, making Bentley the only car manufacturer in the world to offer as standard a cabin entirely trimmed with leather hides. The entire headlining is tightened and finished by hand to achieve the desired quality of finish, a process that takes years of skilled practice to perfect.
The interior designers sought to offer the very highest levels of comfort and legroom, in true Bentley grand touring tradition, while the pillarless window design enhances the feeling of space.
Brooklands use the Arnage rear cabin structure; this is why Bentley’s engineers have created a vast rear seat area that is larger than any other coupe in the world. The individual, electronically reclining rear seats are set 100mm (4 inches) further back than on Azure, benefiting leg room. They are also set 25mm lower than the Arnage, resulting in a headroom of 939mm – just 24mm less than in the large saloon.
The Brooklands’ cabin is wider both front and rear than the previous Bentley Continental R coupé – the rear by 10 percent – and it easily exceeds the interior leg, knee and headroom of any luxury coupe on sale today. This allows four adults to be accommodated in supreme comfort. Individual rear seats with electrically operated sliding cushions, set further back than on the Azure, are separated by a new centre console, incorporating both storage and cup holders.
Brooklands uses the new Azure’s front seats with their integrated seat belts and side airbags. Major features include bi-level electric lumbar adjustment, a massage function, as well as tilting and extending front cushions.
Brooklands’ customers will be able to specify their car in an extensive choice of ‘standard fit’ colors which includes 42 exterior paints (including new Venusian Grey and Titan Grey), 25 hides and three veneers.
In common with all Arnage family models, the wood veneers (including new Dark Stained Vavona) are premium quality and unbleached for a more natural appearance. Three new hide colors (Anthracite grey, Newmarket Tan and Cashew) are introduced with Brooklands. Customers may also tailor their cars to their individual specification through Bentley Mulliner’s bespoke color-matching service and selection of hide colors from previous model years.
Most powerful Crewe-built V8 ever
But all this luxury design had no meaning if under the hood you wouldn’t see a powerful engine. And this is what makes the Brooklands so special (in my opinion). With 530 hp, the Brooklands is the most powerful luxury-coupe on the market.
If the GT was built on the Phaeton’s all-wheel-drive platform, the Brooklands is built on has rear-wheel drive. The luxury-coupe is powered by the most powerful Crewe-builtV8 engine ever produced. Maximum torque is an astonishing 774 lbs-ft, the highest ever developed by a production V8 engine. Although performance figures are subject to final confirmation as part of the on-going development programme, the new Bentley coupe will deliver supercar levels of in-gear acceleration combined with Arnage refinement.
The Crewe-built V8 engine was launched in 1959 in the Bentley S2 saloon and since then it has continually evolved. The first V8 was very advanced for its time with an all-aluminium construction, a five-bearing crankshaft and a well-supported camshaft, producing nearly 200bhp and 400Nm of torque. The result was a light and supple powertrain that produced maximum torque at low engine speeds, the hallmark of every Bentley ever produced.
In 1969 Bentley increased its capacity grow to 6.75 litres, where it remains to this day, but by far the most significant change came in 1982, with the introduction of a turbocharger to create the near-300bhp Mulsanne Turbo, a car that transformed the image of Bentley. In 1999, the single turbo engine, by now featuring port injection and charge cooling, was installed in Arnage, with twin turbos arriving in 2002, developing up to 450bhp.
For the 2007 model Arnage, the V8 engine saw a step-change in performance and refinement which became the starting point for the new Bentley Brooklands. A re-profiled camshaft and new, low-inertia turbochargers, which operate with greater efficiency at lower engine speeds have resulted in reduced turbo lag, enhancing that prodigious wave of torque at any revs, the hallmark of a true Bentley. These changes extend the power potential of the V8 in the Arnage to 500bhp and 1000Nm of torque. For the Bentley Brooklands, further component optimisation and engine calibration ensure record power and torque levels from this hand-assembled engine.
As with the latest Arnage, the V8 engine is mated to a six-speed transmission with strengthened casing that transforms the way in which both parts of the drive train communicate. A sophisticated, locking torque converter and ESP system ensure that the driver can readily access the prodigious power. A semi-automatic function allows manual gear selection for even greater driver control.
The Bentley Brooklands copes with the formidable power of its V8 engine thanks to a uniquely engineered chassis, developed from the Bentley Arnage , and an impressively stiff body structure. Strengthened steel in the A-pillars, door sills, rear-three quarter sections and cant-rails provide the Brooklands’ body with exceptional torsional stiffness. This contributes to the Brooklands’ sporting handling combined with superb levels of ride comfort that are in keeping with the large Bentley coupe tradition. Peter Guest, Head of Department, Body and Trim, elaborates.
“Brooklands’ stiff platform provides a stable foundation for the sophisticated double wishbone suspension developed from the dynamic Arnage T.”
The independent, front and rear, double-wishbone suspension employs coil springs, computer-controlled adaptive, electro-hydraulic dampers and automatic ride height control with auto load compensation. Together, these deliver impressive body control during cornering, braking and acceleration. The fitment as standard of 8.5Jx20-inch wheels and 255/40 ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tyres, specially developed for Brooklands, also aids handling and roadholding.
The very strong body also allows Brooklands to run with lower spring rates than the Arnage T, thereby achieving a level of ride comfort similar to that of the Arnage R. The body-hugging, lower-slung Azure-derived front seats provide a more sporting driving position, enhancing the sporting appeal of Brooklands, compared with its Arnage and Azure stablemates.
As an option, Brooklands may be specified with new carbon/silicon carbide, cross-drilled brake discs, further extending the new coupe’s performance boundaries. Introduced on the limited edition Continental GT Diamond Series in 2006, the system features the largest diameter brake discs of any production passenger car on sale today. Measuring 420 x 40mm at the front and 356 x 28mm at the rear, with eight-piston callipers, the new brakes give an 8 kg reduction in rotating unsprung mass benefiting steering response, ride suppleness and acceleration.
The lightweight braking system ensures virtually fade-free use, time after time, and superb resistance to disc distortion under high thermal conditions. Under normal driving conditions the brake discs will last the lifetime of the car. Furthermore, brake pad life is doubled compared with the standard braking system.
Performance figures capture supercar performance from a luxury four-seater coupé. The Bentley Brooklands is capable of reaching 60mph in just 5.0 seconds (0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds), has a top speed of 184mph (296km/h) and with an enhanced chassis and optional carbon carbide brakes, provides the handling to match the awesome power.
The Bentley Brooklands Specifications
- Supercar performance from luxury four-seater coupe:
- 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds (0-100km/h in 5.3s).
- Top speed of 184 mph (296km/h).
- 50 to 70mph in just 2.4 seconds (80-120km/h in 3.1s).
- Record power output of 530bhp and 1050Nm of torque from handbuilt 6 ¾-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, including:
- New free-flowing air induction system and sports exhaust.
- Recalibrated valve timing and engine management systems
- Dynamic handling combined with superb ride comfort:
- Very stiff platform and uniquely engineered chassis with specially developed 20-inch wheels and tyres as standard, that combine Arnage T handling with Arnage R comfort.
- • Optional carbon/silicon carbide brakes:
- The largest diameter discs of any production passenger car on sale today.
- Discs last the lifetime of the car and pad life is doubled, under normal driving conditions.
- Virtually fade-free use time after time.
- Most spacious rear cabin of any coupe in the world.
- Bentley is the only manufacturer to offer as standard a cabin trimmed entirely with leather hides.
- Full order book for first year, with lifetime production limited to just 550 cars.