Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Genuine Aristocrat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Genuine Aristocrat

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Torpey

THERE'S just one snag about spending a few days with a Bentley Azure T, apart from there being precious few places you dare park.

Quite simply you need a uniform, cap and impeccable manners, because what you become is a chauffeur. Not just any old chauffeur mind, but one behind the wheel of the world's most luxurious convertible, a soft-top par excellence, a thing of beauty, opulence and savage power.

The top brass at Bentley are convinced that the Azure T is nailed on to become a future classic and few would disagree - this is a car that combines modern, elegant design with traditional values.

It also has the space to carry four adults in diamond quilted soft leather luxury, another reason why there was rarely an empty seat during my seven days of indulgence.

A succession of passengers, some even formally dressed for the occasion, insisted on the roof being lowered as they bathed in the Bentley experience.

The speed had to be kept to a minimum so they could truly appreciate the premium audio system with its 10 speakers, dual-channel sub-woofer and 1100 Watt amplifier, plus eight individual DSP modes to reproduce a 'live' concert-like experience.

In truth, it was just so they could be easily recognised from the pavements, their philosophy being that if you cruise round for long enough, there's bound to be someone you know out there.

What most of them didn't appreciate is that the Azure T is also capable of thunderous performance. But then this latest in a line of Bentley models to bear the 'T' legend is fitted with a high performance version of Crewe's iconic 63/4 litre V8 engine.

Add a set of 20-inch 5-spoke wheels and tyres, 'Le Mans' front wing vents, dark tint matrix grille and a sculpted, retractable Flying 'B' mascot and you have a car in a million - well, a quarter of a million to be more precise, because it costs the best part of pounds 250,000.

Those wanting to tap in to a volcanic eruption can rely on a twin-turbocharged powerplant producing 500bhp and 1000 Nm of torque - an 11% increase in power and a 14% increase in pulling power over its 450bhp/875 Nm Azure stablemate. …

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