1990 - 1999
If the financial press was full of rumours of European takeovers and boardroom politics, it was stories about the confident new Bentleys that kept the motoring press busy in the nineties.
The two door Continental R took the 1991 Geneva Motor Show by storm. A year later the Continental R was put into production, its turbocharged and intercooled 6.75-litre V8 offering 150mph performance. In 1993 the four door Bentley Brooklands, named after the Surrey race track that had witnessed so many early Bentley victories, replaced the Bentley Eight and Mulsanne. 1994 saw a 408bhp Turbo S, and 1995 the first Bentley Azure. With its distinctive Pininfarina styling it was unveiled at Geneva as the most powerful four-seater convertible in the world.
With the brand now firmly back on its feet, and with W.O.’s original vision back behind the wheel, the direction for future development and innovation was as clear as the Hunaudieres straight.
The Brooklands was given a 300bhp, 6.75-litre turbocharged V8 capable of 140mph. The Continental T became an integral part of the Bentley range, with 420bhp, a top speed of 170mph and 875Nm of torque breaking all records for a production motor car. The swansong of the Turbo R Series in 1997 would accelerate from 0 – 60mph in under 6 seconds. Just prior to it’s sale by parent Company Vickers PLC, Bentley introduced – at Le Mans – the first completely new model in nearly 20 years, the Arnage, powered by a BMW 4.4 litre twin turbocharged V8.
The acquisition of Bentley by the Volkswagen Group in 1998 however added resource, new technologies and even greater impetus to the momentum of the Bentley renaissance. A century of dreams, despair and determination culminated in the launch within one year of the pure-bred Bentley Arnage Red Label, with the venerable 6.75-litre V8, up-dated and re-invigorated, a car that recaptured that exhilarating blend of power and craftsmanship worthy of the flying B.