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Bentley Brooklands

Bentleys aren't like other cars and the Bentley Brooklands Coupe isn't like other coupes. Steve Walker reports'

Ten Second Review

'The world's most exclusive coupe'. It's a big claim but the Bentley Brooklands has the opulence and class to back it up. It may not look like a sportscar but that 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 delivers acceleration that will keep supercars honest.

Background

Unveiled at the 2007 Geneva motor show, the Brooklands signalled Bentley's return to the super premium coupe sector if you can call it a sector. At the kind of money that the Brooklands commands, it has few, if any, direct rivals and with sales strictly limited to 550 vehicles across the entire lifespan of the car, it won't be troubling the top superminis and family hatchbacks of the day in the sales charts. The whole point of this car is quality and exclusivity. Each one is hand-built by craftsmen employing skills they've honed over years precisely manipulating wood, leather and metal in Bentley's Crewe-based production facility. It's named Brooklands after the legendary Surrey racetrack where the marque achieved some of its greatest motorsport triumphs in the 1920s with the famous 'Bentley Boys' at the wheel. It's more than just a name too, there's definitely something of that era in the aura around the Brooklands.

Driving Experience

Power for the big Bentley comes from the 6.75-litre V8 that can trace its development all the way back to 1959 and its first installation in the S2 saloon. In its day it was a highly advanced unit will all-aluminium construction and a five-bearing crankshaft but it's less high-tech by modern standards. That should matter little, however, since with twin low-inertia turbochargers installed and a reprofiled camshaft, it's not lacking in old-school grunt. The crushing low-end torque that has become a Bentley trademark over the years is all present and correct with a monstrous 1050Nm maximum being generated. There's 530bhp to experience as well so Brooklands owners can expect prodigious in-gear acceleration combined with brutal top end performance all delivered with poise and an eerie hush inside the cabin. The Brooklands uses a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission with a semi-automatic function and features ESP stability control to reign-in any over-enthusiastic drivers before they get carried away. Fuel economy is likely to be absolutely crippling but that kind of expenditure is a mere drop in the ocean for the average Brooklands customer.

Design and Build

The Brooklands keeps it very traditional on the styling front with classic proportions and a long, elegant shape. In profile, the short front overhang and long drawn-out rear are highlighted while the front end is typical Bentley with the twin headlamps and the unmistakable grille. The car's waistline is kept high and the glasshouse low to emphasise this coupe's dynamic side but the overriding impression is of the car's presence and sheer size. The roof flows beautifully into the wide C-pillars and down into the bootlid with one flowing movement, a feature that can only be achieved by individually hand-welding the rear wings to the C-pillars - an indication of how far Bentley will go to achieve the desired effect. Then the whole package is topped off with a set of 20-inch wheels with huge flat centre sections. Inside, the Brooklands is similarly impressive with the finest materials and hand-finished touches at every turn. Customers are presented with a vast range of carpets, leather types, veneers and seatbelt colours so they can have their vehicle produced to their specifications. This is a Coupe and there are racy touches including the aluminium pedals but nothing comes close to breaking with the general ambience of refinement and class.

Market and Model

Considering what you'll be paying for the privilege of owning this car, 'value' is a relative term here. Still, at least every conceivable item of equipment is included as standard. * A Family View - Will It Suit Us?

Cost of Ownership

You'd expect economy to be poor and insurance to be expensive on this kind of car. What you wouldn't expect with this marque however, is crippling levels of depreciation. Bentley, predictably, claims strong likely residuals for this car but much will depend on whether buyers see the car in terms that are as exclusive as Crewe would like. If sales struggle, second hand values could drop fast.

Summary

Most of us will never see a Bentley Brooklands let alone own one but cars like this show us just how much is possible. They operate on a different plain from the rest of the motoring world and are judged by different standards but you've got to appreciate the work that goes into producing a motorcar of this quality. The traditional styling won't be to everyone's taste but that's the point. This is a Bentley and even under Volkswagen's stewardship, the brand remains all about heritage, Britishness and that understated elegance. With the Brooklands, we can see that the famous Crewe firm remains firmly in touch with its roots.

Most of us will never see a Bentley Brooklands let alone own one but cars like this show us just how much is possible. They operate on a different plain from the rest of the motoring world and are judged by different standards but you've got to appreciate the work that goes into producing a motorcar of this quality. The traditional styling won't be to everyone's taste but that's the point. This is a Bentley and even under Volkswagen's stewardship, the brand remains all about heritage, Britishness and that understated elegance. With the Brooklands, we can see that the famous Crewe firm remains firmly in touch with its roots.

'The world's most exclusive coupe'. It's a big claim but the Bentley Brooklands has the opulence and class to back it up. It may not look like a sportscar but that 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 delivers acceleration that will keep supercars honest. The whole point of this £200,000 car is quality and exclusivity. Each one is hand-built by craftsmen employing skills they've honed over years precisely manipulating wood, leather and metal in Bentley's Crewe-based production facility. It's named Brooklands after the legendary Surrey racetrack where the marque achieved some of its greatest motorsport triumphs in the 1920s with the famous 'Bentley Boys' at the wheel. It's more than just a name too: there's definitely something of that era in the aura around the Brooklands. Power for the big Bentley comes from the 6.75-litre V8 that can trace its development all the way back to 1959 and its first installation in the S2 saloon. In its day, it was a highly advanced unit will all-aluminium construction and a five-bearing crankshaft but it's less high-tech by modern standards. That should matter little, however, since with twin low-inertia turbochargers installed and a reprofiled camshaft, it's not lacking in old-school grunt. The crushing low-end torque that has become a Bentley trademark over the years is all present and correct with a monstrous 1050Nm maximum being generated. There's 530bhp to experience as well so Brooklands owners can expect prodigious in-gear acceleration combined with brutal top end performance all delivered with poise and an eerie hush inside the cabin.

'The world's most exclusive coupe'. It's a big claim but the Bentley Brooklands has the opulence and class to back it up. It may not look like a sportscar but that 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 delivers acceleration that will keep supercars honest. Unveiled at the 2007 Geneva motor show, the Brooklands signalled Bentley's return to the super premium coupe sector if you can call it a sector. At the kind of money that the Brooklands commands, it has few, if any, direct rivals and with sales strictly limited to 550 vehicles across the entire lifespan of the car, it won't be troubling the top superminis and family hatchbacks of the day in the sales charts. The whole point of this car is quality and exclusivity. Each one is hand-built by craftsmen employing skills they've honed over years precisely manipulating wood, leather and metal in Bentley's Crewe-based production facility. It's named Brooklands after the legendary Surrey racetrack where the marque achieved some of its greatest motorsport triumphs in the 1920s with the famous 'Bentley Boys' at the wheel. It's more than just a name too: there's definitely something of that era in the aura around the Brooklands. Power for the big Bentley comes from the 6.75-litre V8 that can trace its development all the way back to 1959 and its first installation in the S2 saloon. In its day, it was a highly advanced unit will all-aluminium construction and a five-bearing crankshaft but it's less high-tech by modern standards. That should matter little, however, since with twin low-inertia turbochargers installed and a reprofiled camshaft, it's not lacking in old-school grunt. The crushing low-end torque that has become a Bentley trademark over the years is all present and correct with a monstrous 1050Nm maximum being generated. There's 530bhp to experience as well so Brooklands owners can expect prodigious in-gear acceleration combined with brutal top end performance all delivered with poise and an eerie hush inside the cabin. The Brooklands uses a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission with a semi-automatic function and features ESP stability control to reign-in any over-enthusiastic drivers before they get carried away. Fuel economy is likely to be absolutely crippling but that kind of expenditure is a mere drop in the ocean for the average Brooklands customer. The Brooklands keeps it very traditional on the styling front with classic proportions and a long, elegant shape. In profile, the short front overhang and long drawn-out rear are highlighted while the front end is typical Bentley with the twin headlamps and the unmistakable grille. The car's waistline is kept high and the glasshouse low to emphasise this coupe's dynamic side but the overriding impression is of the car's presence and sheer size. Most of us will never see a Bentley Brooklands let alone own one but cars like this show us just how much is possible. They operate on a different plain from the rest of the motoring world and are judged by different standards but you've got to appreciate the work that goes into producing a motorcar of this quality. The traditional styling won't be to everyone's taste but that's the point. This is a Bentley and even under Volkswagen's stewardship, the brand remains all about heritage, Britishness and that understated elegance. With the Brooklands, we can see that the famous Crewe firm remains firmly in touch with its roots.

Scores
Performance 9
Handling 6
Comfort 10
Space 9
Styling 8
Build 9
Value 5
Equipment 9
Economy 4
Depreciation 4
Insurance 3
Total 76
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