Bentley Azure T

20 Nov, 2009 2:19pm Jack Rix

Hot variant takes luxury cabrio to a new level


Old-fashioned luxury cars are a dying breed, but the Azure is still sensational: the combination of pace and refinement has to be experienced to be believed. If nothing but the grandest four-seat cabrio on the road will do, look no further. Otherwise, save £110,000 and go for the faster Continental GTC.

Bentley has got luxury down to a ‘T’! Meet the Azure T – a new high-performance version of the ultimate money-no-object cabrio.

Under the expansive bonnet is the firm’s long-serving 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8. However, power is now wound up to 500bhp – that’s 11 per cent more than the standard Azure – and there’s 1,000Nm of torque to play with, so acceleration is incredible.

Push your right foot to the thick carpet and, with little more than a whistle from the turbos, you’re whisked from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds. It’s an amazing sensation considering the car’s 2.7-tonne kerbweight, but you’ll pay the price at the pumps. Single-figure economy is more than likely, especially if you cover significant miles in town.

Turn into a corner and there’s little evidence of chassis flex, thanks to new carbon fibre cross- members at the front and rear. There’s no hiding the Azure’s size and weight, though. Even with the suspension set to Sport mode, it is best to save the storming performance for when you’re pointing straight ahead.

The T’s exterior tweaks include a retractable bonnet badge and a tinted front grille, while sumptuous diamond-quilted leather trim and drilled alloy pedals give the cabin an extra dash of opulence.

The electrically powered three-layer top folds majestically behind the rear seats in 25 seconds, but excessive wind noise at motorway speeds can’t live up to the sensational ride and superlative build quality. We had problems with the roof mechanism of our test model as well – and that’s something you simply wouldn’t expect from a car costing a quarter of a million pounds.
Rival: Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead
At £315,250, the Rolls is more expensive than the Bentley. A stainless bonnet and teak deck give the huge dimensions character, while the V12 returns 17.6mpg.

Key specs

* Price: £245,000
* Engine: 6.75-litre V8 twin-turbo
* Power: 500bhp
* Torque: 1,000Nm
* Transmission: Six-speed auto
* 0-62mph: 5.5 seconds
* Econ/CO2: 14.5mpg/465g/km
* Equipment: Leather upholstery, 20-inch alloys, retractable bonnet mascot, 10-speaker Naim stereo, iPod connection, multi-zone climate control
* On sale: Now