Bentley Azure

The Azure is similar in style and mechanics to its past stablemate, the Bentley Arnage coupe, which was discontinued for 2010. The Azure has a hand-made 6.75L V8 that makes 500 hp and a staggering 738 lb-ft of torque. This power is channeled through a 6-speed automatic transmission that features semi-automatic and sports functions, which is more than enough to get its nearly 6,000-lb body moving at a good clip. Stopping is also no problem with the optional carbon/silicon carbide brake upgrade, which Bentley claims to be the largest brake system fitted to any production car--16-inch rotors in front and 14-inch rotors in the rear with 8-piston calipers.

The Azure is a stately convertible with an overall length of 212 inches. That's nearly 18 feet from bumper to bumper, but the car can still achieve 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and has a top speed of 179 mph thanks to its extraordinary power plant.

It's also safe at any speed, with front, side, and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control. In addition, the convertible Azure has a rollover protection system behind the rear seats that automatically deploys if the car detects a potential rollover.

The custom stereo, built since 2009 by ultra-high-end manufacturer Naim, integrates fully with the specific dimensions of the Azure. The eleven Naim speakers include two subwoofers mounted in the footwells of the rear passenger seats within an enclosure designed to keep the sound inside the cabin, even with the top down. The volume adjusts depending on speed and top position and the audio works with phone and navigation systems.

As for customization, Bentley and Mulliner, its commissioning department, can make just about any automotive dream come true. The Azure is available in 42 colors (four of which are white), with 20-inch wheels, 25 leather colors and eight wood veneers. Other details include a retractable "Flying B" hood mascot, dark tint upper and lower grilles, "Le Mans" front fender vents, a Bentley jeweled fuel filler cap, knurled metal finish to interior controls and diamond quilting on seats and door panels. A Mulliner consultation can match any paint color you choose, add painted details and chrome exterior hardware and offer several additional wood choices for the discerning buyer.

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