Bentley Azure Origins
Debuting in 1995 under Bentley's Continental platform, only nine convertible Bentley Azures were completed that year, with an additional 250 in 1996. Mostly hand-assembled in Great Britain at the manufacturer's Crewe factory, the Azure is now moving toward its third generation under the guidance of Volkswagen, which purchased the brand from Vickers over a decade ago.
Over the years, the vehicle has seen improvement in road performance, going from the old single-turbo system of the late 1990s to a more modern twin-turbocharger setup that helps reduce turbo lag and increases horsepower output. This gives the Azure a top speed of approximately 170 mph, which — when considering its size and weight (almost 18 feet and 6200 pounds) — shows a vast improvement over previous models and is impressive for its class.About the Bentley Azure
Styled by designers John Heffernan and Ken Greenley, the Continental R represented a radical departure from the trademark look and feel of Bentleys from previous decades. In stark contrast to the flat, box-sided appearance of most Rolls Royce and Bentley vehicles of the day, these new Continental Rs featured a body with a decidedly more rounded exterior. Other stylish features to enhance the charm of the Continental R included roof-cut door frames, an understated spoiler effect along the car's rear trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
With the success of the Continental R, it was no surprise that Bentley opted for an elegant convertible model. The company brought famed designer Sergio Pininfarina on board to handle the demanding task for re-imagining a fresh line of vehicles for one of the world's classiest automobile manufacturers. Pininfarina came through in stellar fashion with a sleek two-door sports car to satisfy the desire of any high-end automobile enthusiast, even going so far as to christen it with a name chosen to evoke the blue Mediterranean coastline of Southern France. Hence, the Azure: a world-renowned luxury sports car beyond compare.Bentley Azure Features
The 2012 model is widely expected to be a nearly identical match to the 2011 Bentley Azure convertible. A combination of advanced automotive technology, extreme comfort, the best in safety, and first-class elegance, a Bentley Azure is a far cry from a mere transportation vehicle. It represents the very finest in a dignified lifestyle.
In line with Bentley's Mulsanne sedan-engine capabilities, the 2012 Azure shares the sedan's eight-speed, 6.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 that puts out approximately 505 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque. These modifications allow the Azure to tear away from a standing position at an impressive rate, going from zero to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds, ultimately giving the vehicle an expected top speed of about 185 mph. The 2012 Bentley Azure also comes equipped with the same eight-speed gearbox as the 2011 model.
Inside, the Azure is decked out in diamond-quilted leather, available in 25 unique hide choices, with aluminum peppered throughout its lush interior. Bentley offers a choice of eight unbleached wood veneers, as well as an impressive listing of 42 exterior colors to choose from.
Safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, a panic alarm, a security system, a center high-mounted stop light, driver and passenger front-impact airbags, and seat-mounted driver and passenger side airbags. The 2012 Bentley Azure includes several additional safety features such as driver and passenger head protection, an occupancy sensor, rear side-impact airbags, side-impact beams, and front seat-belt pretensioners (also called webclamps) designed to preemptively tighten, so occupants don't jerk forward in a crash.
A 2011 Bentley Azure's price ranged from $300,000 to $500,000.Bentley Azure Evolution
Over the past 15 years of production, and through a full two generations of design, Bentley Motors has produced several different versions of the Azure since the initial cars rolled off the factory floor in 1995.
Unveiled in 1999, the Bentley Azure Mulliner offers the buying public the utmost in customization during the build-process. The term "Mulliner" refers to the Azure's vehicle trim, named after H.J. Mulliner & Co, a well-known British coachbuilder operating at Chiswick in West London — now the principal-commissioning department for Bentley. In addition, the Azure Mulliner's maximum torque is pushed up by 10 percent, along with an improvement of its road-holding capacity, with added torsion bars on the front and rear.
The Bentley Azure T is a flagship high-performance version of the Azure. Under the hood, the Azure T contains the Arnage T's powertrain, including a 6.75-liter V-8 with a hefty power boost of up to 500 horsepower. Equipped with the standard six-speed ZF automatic, the Azure T accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and can continue on to a top speed of 180 mph. This premium luxury sport vehicle can also be fitted with a 1,100-watt Naim audio system with SD-card capability and a larger screen than the standard Azure. If that's not enough sound-boost for your buck, there are subwoofers strategically located in the passenger foot wells. Expect nothing less than the very best from Bentley.