Bentley Azure Review

Bentley Azure Review

There are seemingly two rather different types of Bentley Azure buyer. The first is the more traditional country club set, probably wearing tweed, possibly English and without question worth somewhere between 4 million and 1 gajillion dollars. The second is more of the young-blood, showbiz-money set, probably in search of 22-inch wheels, possibly Ja Rule and without question worth somewhere between 4 million and 1 gajillion dollars. At least they have something in common. Well, that and their mutual admiration for 6,000-pound, 18-foot-long ultra-luxury British convertibles.

There have been two generations of Bentley Azure, neither of which has represented anything close to cutting-edge automotive design. Yet, for the rare few who take an Azure home to their presumably multicar garage, this lack of engineering innovation will be an acceptable trade-off for owning something so unabashedly large, quintessentially British and bejeweled.

Current Bentley Azure
The Azure T is a four-seat, soft-top convertible powered by Bentley's venerable 6.75-liter V8. Twin-turbocharged, it makes 500 horsepower and 740 pound-feet of torque. Bentley says the Azure can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, and hit a top speed of 171 mph.

The Azure T packs standard features aplenty with 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power-adjustable front seats, tri-zone climate control, diamond-quilted upholstery, drilled alloy pedals, an iPod/USB interface, knurled control knobs and a premium Naim sound system. In true Bentley fashion, there are numerous customization choices for this hand-built convertible, including 39 color choices.

As nice as all its stately leather and veneer wood trim is, we can't help but feel the interior is a little disjointed. After all, this car wasn't designed with modern-day electronics in mind. While there's no denying the Bentley Azure is a beautiful automobile, there's also no escaping the fact that it's mostly an obscenely expensive fashion accessory. Bentley's own Continental GTC is more modern and less ridiculously expensive, although it lacks that certain something that makes the Azure such a favorite among the old- and new-money elite.

Used Bentley Azure Models
After a three-year hiatus, the Bentley Azure returned all-new for 2007, although that's a relative term considering its architecture dates back to 1998 and its engine to the 1950s. Little has changed since its reintroduction in regards to styling and feature content. Notable additions have been limited to optional features that include carbon-ceramic brakes, 20-inch wheels and the Naim sound system (all of which were introduced in 2009). For the 2010 model year, the Azure T replaced the standard Azure, bringing with it an increase in power of 50 hp and 95 lb-ft of torque. Many features that were previously optional were also included as standard.

The previous-generation Bentley Azure was built from 1995-2003. Although looking very similar to the current car, it was, in fact, based on the old Continental coupe. It did, however, also feature Bentley's 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 -- albeit before Volkswagen spent $165 million to modernize it. This Azure was offered in two versions: regular Azure and the Azure Mulliner introduced for 1999. These two cars both made 400 hp and differed only in visual details and some equipment. During its nine-year run, fewer than 1,500 Azures were sold, so finding a used one may require searching through more than one issue of the duPont Registry.