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Bentley Brooklands: A classic before it is born

Bentley Brooklands coupe: front side view.

Bentley Brooklands: only 550 units to be made.

21st June 2007.

Only a few months ago it was born, at the Geneva Motor Show last March.

Only a limited number will be built. 550 units.

Only in the first quarter of 2008 deliveries will start, and the first year's production is already sold.

Only that way a car becomes a collectors' classic before it is even born!

That's about the exclusivity of the coming Bentley Brooklands. But what about the "flesh" of the hand-assembled coupe that's designed for supercar performance, with typical British luxury and... German technology?

Bentley Brooklands coupe: side view.

The graceful proportions of a typical British automotive design.

For decades, powerful coupes have been icons of Bentley, a brand founded in England by Walter Owen Bentley in 1919, bought by Rolls-Royce in 1931, then part of the VW group since 1998.

Engine -  As a coupe, the Brooklands cabin should offer first-class travel for four adults at any speed, as Bentley puts it. The enhanced chassis will have the task of handling the 530bhp (395kW) twin-turbocharged 6 ¾-litre engine, the most powerful V8 that Crewe, Bentley’s home for over 60 years, has ever produced. Torque goes beyond the 1000 Nm limit, reaching 1050Nm (774lb.ft).

Such figures announce the performance mood: a 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds (0-60mph in  5.0s), an 80-120km/h in 3.1seconds (50 to 70mph in just  2.4s), on the way to a top speed of 296 km/h (184 mph), on specially developed 20-inch wheels.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: back side view.

0-100 km/h in 5.3s, 80-120km/h in 3.1s, top speed of 296 km/h.

The Crewe-built V8 engine has been at the heart of all large Bentley coupes for nearly 50 years. In 2007, the 6 ¾-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 got a range of enhancements for both Arnage and Azure, including a more efficient and refined valve-train, re-profiled camshafts and more responsive, low-inertia turbochargers, with a new ZF six-speed transmission with semi-automatic function and Bosch engine management system.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: view from above.

The chassis is developed from the Bentley Arnage.

For the Arnage T, power increased to 500bhp with 1000Nm of torque. A good starting point for the new Bentley Brooklands coupe, which gets a new free-flowing air induction system and a sports exhaust, together with a re-calibration of the valve-timing and engine management system. The result is 530bhp (395kW) at  4000 rpm and 1050Nm (774lb ft) of torque at 3250 rpm.

The V8 engine is mated to a six-speed transmission with locking torque converter. A semi-automatic function allows manual gear selection with faster acceleration in every gear.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: view from driver's window.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: dashboard, seat and console.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: rear seats and leather headlining.

Headlining made from leather and ample space for four.

The V8 sporting intentions are reflected by larger diameter exhaust tailpipe finishers with rifled detailing to the inside surface. Brooklands also features unique underbonnet detailing with a brushed aluminium ‘6 ¾ Litre Brooklands’ engine plaque. Embossed Bentley logos appear on the intercoolers. Each engine bears the signature of the team leader who oversaw its hand-built construction in the Crewe factory.

Chassis - The chassis is developed from the Bentley Arnage, with strengthened steel in the A-pillars, door sills, rear-three quarter sections and cant-rails. The independent, front and rear, double-wishbone suspension employs coil springs, computer-controlled adaptive, electro-hydraulic dampers and automatic ride height control with auto load compensation.

The Brooklands runs with lower spring rates than the Arnage T, achieving a level of ride comfort similar to that of the Arnage R. The body-hugging, lower-slung Azure-derived front seats provide a more sporting driving position, enhancing the sporting appeal of Brooklands, compared with its Arnage and Azure stablemates.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: trunk.

Good boot volume with 401 litres (14.16 cu.ft.).

The Brooklands roof is 13mm (0.5 in)  lower than the Azure and a full  47mm (1.9 in) lower than a four-door Arnage.

Brakes - As an option, Brooklands may be specified with new carbon/silicon carbide, cross-drilled brake discs. Introduced on the limited edition Continental GT Diamond Series in 2006, the system features brake discs measuring 420 x 40mm at the front and 356 x 28mm at the rear, with eight-piston calipers, giving an 8 kg reduction in rotating unsprung mass for better steering response, ride suppleness and acceleration.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: gear stick, wood, chrome and leather.

6-speed ZF automatic with a function for manual gear change.

Under normal driving conditions the brake discs should last the lifetime of the car. Brake pad life is supposed to be doubled compared with the standard braking system.

Wheels - Brooklands rests on 8.5Jx20-inch alloy wheels – a first for the Arnage family of cars – in two styles. The 16-spoke two-piece Disc wheels are standard fitment with the 5-spoke, two-piece Sports wheels available as an option. Both designs are shod with 255/40 ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tyres.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: engine cover.

Twin-turbo 6 ¾-litre V8 engine: 530bhp, 1050 Nm.

Interior - The Brookland’s interior offers a spacious, hand-crafted, luxury cabin for four adults. Every item of trim, be it veneer, hide or chromed bezel, uses authentic materials. All interior brightware, for example, is made from stainless steel.

The limited production volume allows the Brooklands design team to capitalise on the skills and techniques of Bentley’s craftsmen and women. For example, the cabin headlining is made entirely from leather, making Bentley the only car manufacturer in the world to offer as standard a cabin entirely trimmed with leather hides. The entire headlining is tightened and finished by hand to achieve the desired quality of finish.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: optional Flying ‘B’ retractable radiator mascot.

Optional Flying ‘B’ retractable radiator mascot.

By using the Arnage rear cabin structure, Bentley’s engineers have created a vast rear seat area. The individual, electronically reclining rear seats are set  100mm (4 inches) further back than on Azure, benefiting leg room. They are also set 25mm lower than the Arnage, resulting in a headroom of 939mm – just 24mm less than in the large saloon.

Brooklands uses the new Azure’s front seats with their integrated seat belts and side airbags. Major features include bi-level electric lumbar adjustment, a massage function, as well as tilting and extending front cushions.

Bentley Brooklands coupe: tailpipe finishers with rifled detailing to the inside surface.

Tailpipe finishers with rifled detailing to the inside surface.

Customers will be able to specify their Brooklands in a choice of ‘standard fit’ colours which includes 42 exterior paints (including new Venusian Grey and Titan Grey),  25 hides and  three veneers.

In common with all Arnage family models, the wood veneers (including new Dark Stained Vavona) are premium quality and unbleached for a more natural appearance. Three new hide colours (Anthracite grey, Newmarket Tan and Cashew) are introduced with Brooklands. Customers may also tailor their cars to their individual specification through Bentley Mulliner’s bespoke colour-matching service and selection of hide colours from previous model years.

Brookland’s sporting atmosphere is emphasised by new ‘Sandwich’ piping which sits flush with, rather than proud of, the stitching. In addition, a range of optional engine-turned aluminium and carbon fibre veneer inserts complement the Mulliner aluminium foot pedals and footrest.

Although Bentley says that the production of the first year of production is already sold, no official price is announced yet. Estimates put it above the GB£200,000 bar.

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