The Bentley Azure is a large, four seater convertible built by Bentley Motors Limited at its factory in Crewe, England. The model debuted in 1995 on the Continental platform and was produced in its original guise until 2003. A completely new version powered by a significantly updated engine and riding on the newer Arnage platform debuted in 2006. According to 2009 research by internet company Yahoo, the Azure is the fourth most fuel consuming car on sale in the United Kingdom.
First generation (1995-2003)
The Azure debuted for 1995 on the platform of the Continental R model, which had been launched in 1991. At 210 inches (5,334 mm) in length and 5,750 pounds (2,610 kg) in weight, the Azure often surprised onlookers with its size and bulk, intended to both convey a sense of "presence" and allow for comfortable seating of four adult passengers.
Power came from the company's stalwart 6.75 Liter V8, featuring a single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger and producing 400 horsepower (298 kW) and 645 ft·lbf (875 N·m) of torque; power was routed to the rear wheels via a modified, General Motors sourced 4-speed automatic transmission. With a 0 to 60 miles per hour time of 6.1 seconds, the Azure was very fast for a car of its size, weight and poor aerodynamic profile.
Owing to the limited space and workforce at Bentley's Crewe factory, the Azure's thick, powered convertible top was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina, which significantly added to the vehicle's cost. New in 1995, the Azure was priced at $347,645 -- $36,355 more than the Continental R on which it was based.
From 1999 through the end of production, the Azure was also available in "Mulliner" trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customization during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests.
Specifications. Body. Length/width/height/wheelbase – cm (in) : 534/187/146/306 (210.2/73.6/57.5/116.5); weight : 2608 kg (5750 lb).
Engine :front-mounted V8 6747 cc (412 ci), turbo, automatic 4-speed gearbox, rear-wheel drive. Maximum power : 426 bhp 4000 rpm. Top speed : 250 km/h (156 mph); 0-60 mph in 6.3 sec.