Bentley has taken its Azure luxury convertible and upgraded, well, everything. The result is the Azure T, what Bentley is calling the world's most elegant convertible. Talk about lofty ambitions.
The "T" is a performance designation that Bentley has been using since 1996 to discern what are essentially hot-rod versions of what it deems as flagship vehicles. Of course, when you're talking about Bentley, the term "hot-rod" is relative. Extensive use of real wood, metal, and leather--as opposed to plastics--all but ensure that there will never be a superlight, high performance Bentley. No, settling into one of Bentley's yachts-on-wheels is as much about arriving in style than arriving quickly.
But what good are luxury accouterments if you're bored for the whole drive? The Bentley Azure T driver can entertain himself with either the 500 horsepower under his right foot or with the 1100-watt audio system at his finger tips.
Bentley's craftsmen have taken the standard Azure's 6.7-liter V-8 and twin-turbocharged it, boosting output to 500hp and 737 pound-feet of torque, for a top speed of 179mph and a 0-60mph time of just 5.2 seconds. That's pretty quick for a heavy, convertible luxo-barge. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed ZF automatic transmission with three modes (Drive, Sport, and Manual).
To deal with the extra power, the suspension has been updated and now features coil springs with computer-controlled, adaptive, electro-hydraulic dampers and automatic ride-height control with auto-load compensation. Buyers can option carbon/silicon carbide, cross-drilled, brake-ventilated discs. Measuring 420mm by 40mm (front) and 356mm x 28mm (rear), these discs are the largest fitted to any production car currently on sale. Bentley sure loves its superlatives. Finishing out the suspension system are five-spoke, two-piece, 20-inch alloy wheels and Pirelli P Zero tires. Traction control, ESP, and ABS keep things from getting out of hand if the vehicle is driven in anything less than a dignified fashion.
For your listening pleasure, the Azure T can be equipped with an optional Naim for Bentley premium audio system featuring 10 speakers, a dual channel sub-woofer and an 1100 Watt amplifier, plus eight individual Digital Signal Processor (DSP) that Bentley says reproduces "true emotions and a 'live' concert-like experience." Regardless of audio options, the Azure T system features a standard iPod/USB interface and SD card slot.
Beyond the aforementioned 20-inch wheels, the Azure T distinguishes itself from the standard model with dark mesh grills, fender vents just aft of the front wheels, and a distinct dual exhaust. Inside, the leather seats are diamond-quilted and instrument faces are finished in black rather than the standard parchment.