Smart, sassy, agile. These three words are not nearly descriptive enough for the Bentley Azure T. With its good looks, enhanced by a macho twin turbo-charged engine, the Azure looks as though it is traveling way too fast for conditions and that's just in the showroom.
This two-door, four-passenger sex machine gets high marks for just about everything except its fuel consumption. However, there is a time for drama and there is a time for level-headedness. The Azure has incredible handling and performance, so an occasional drive on the wild side must be excused.
Powered by a Volkswagen-reworked version of the August 6.5-liter V8 for which Crewe, England-based Bentley is known, the engine in this beast churns out a hardworking 500 horsepower and 740 foot-pounds of torque. The result is a top speed of 181 mph. It also results in the worst fuel-economy rating for similar cars in its class in the U.S., with 15 mpg on the highway and about 9 mpg in the city. However, cougars eat more than housecats. The Azure is not a docile domestic feline.
The original Azure appeared on the automotive scene in 1995 as a mutation of the beloved Continental platform. A big car at 5,750 pounds, it drew attention for its sheer brawn and presence. Volkswagen purchased Bentley in 1998 and decided to keep it in production until 2003. It was during this period that the old single turbo was revamped and replaced with a twin turbocharger that worked much better with the weight and aerodynamic disadvantages the Azure had been laboring under. After a two-year hiatus, the Azure was relaunched in 2005 under the Arnage platform.
Today's Bentley Azure is still a well-bred British version of an American muscle car. Its aerodynamics have been improved, its exterior details have been refined and its footprint has been raised through the inclusion of 20-inch, 20-spoke wheels. Inside, the expected luscious Bentley leather upholstery has been embellished with quilted detailing, while sleek aluminum and chrome add some flash. Anything less than the best consumer electronics inside would be an insult to the Bentley heritage. This is why the present generation of Azure offers Naim audio components as a standard feature.
For the driver who believes more is, well, more, there is an overabundance of options to choose from: a chromed radiator shell with a choice of Bentley logo color and material, personalized pedal treads, a backup camera, custom paint colors and three wheel choices are only a few. Far from being a wretched excess, tricking out a Bentley Azure with some stylish accessories is merely a celebration of one of the really good things in life
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