Zaprojektowany przez studio Pininfarina Bentley Azure powstał na platformie Continental R w jedynie 1321 sztukach. To typowe gran turismo, wyposażone w automatyczny miękki dach. Czterobiegowa automatyczna skrzynia płynnie zmienia przełożenia podwójnie turbodoładowanego V8 o pojemności 6,75-litra. Jego nazwa “Azure”, tak jak “Corniche” i “Camargue”, odwołuje się do egzotycznych miejsc na południu Francji. Model ten odniósł ogromny sukces rynkowy szczególnie w Ameryce Północnej, gdzie połączenie niezrównanego luksusu, niewysilonej wydajności i miękkiego dachu zostało uznane za wyjątkowo atrakcyjne. Ten piękny okaz wystawiony na aukcji został zakupiony jako nowy w USA, jednak z obecnym drugim właścicielem powrócił do Anglii. Niezwykle elegancka konfiguracja kolorystyczna potrójnej czerni została wzbogacona niestandardowym pakietem Mulliner, który obejmuje między innymi płyty fornirowane drzwi, pięcioramienne 18″ felgi aluminiowe z chromowanym wykończeniem, drewnianą dźwignię zmiany biegów, ramki reflektorów i wiercone aluminiowe pedały oraz chromowane obramowania deski rozdzielczej. Bentley Azure ma na liczniku zaledwie 9050 mil przebiegu i zachowany jest w pięknym stanie. Ten pięciogwiazdkowy luksus z turbodoładowaniem wyceniony został na 60 000 – 80 000 funtów, czyli około 300 000 – 390 000 złotych. Na aukcji osiągną cenę £72,800.
2002 BENTLEY AZURE CONVERTIBLE
£60,000 – 80,000
PLN 300,000 – 390,000
GOODWOOD MEMBERS’ MEETING
19 Mar 2017, 14:00 GMT
2002 Bentley Azure Convertible
Registration no. L700 JSB
Chassis no. SCBZK22E92CX01002
*Delivered new to the USA
*Circa 9,050 miles from new
So far, the Bentley resurgence had relied on models whose basic architecture was shared with other Rolls-Royce products; but also on display at Geneva in ’85 was Project 90, a mocked-up coupé intended to gauge public response to the idea of a high-performance car unique to Bentley. When the real thing – the Bentley Continental R – was unveiled six years later, the waiting crowd burst into spontaneous applause. Styled with the assistance of consultants International Automotive Design, the Continental R benefited from computer-aided design and wind tunnel testing in the devising of its sleekly streamlined shape. Despite the need to incorporate non-traditional features such as doors recessed into the roof, the result looked every bit a Bentley, albeit one re-stated for the 1990s. Also new was the gearbox, a four-speed automatic with an ‘overdrive’ top ratio, but the main focus of interest was the newcomer’s performance. Needless to say this was staggering, the combination of the Turbo R engine in the new wind-cheating shape cutting the 0-60mph time to under six seconds and boosting top speed to more than 150mph.
The Corniche convertible had been a major success for Rolls-Royce so it can have surprised few onlookers when a soft-top version of the Bentley Continental R was announced, albeit a full four years after the Coupé’s introduction. Once again, Geneva was chosen to launch what would turn out to be the first Bentley model in several decades to use an entirely new name – ‘Azure’ – which, like ‘Corniche’ and ‘Camargue’, evoked exotic destinations in the South of France. The famous Italian styling house of Pininfarina – a firm with unrivalled experience in the design of soft-top Gran Turismos – had been chosen to develop the Azure on the four-seater Continental R platform, and there was no questioning that the result was most successful. Bodyshells were assembled in Italy by Pininfarina, fitted with the automatic soft-top, painted and shipped back for finishing at Crewe. Mechanically similar to the Continental R, but with an engine further up-rated to 385bhp, the Azure was launched in 1995 and cost £215,000 in the UK. Hailed by its maker as, ‘the world’s best convertible’, the Azure lived up to that grand title, proving an immense success especially in North America where its combination of unmatched luxury, effortless performance, and soft-top style was found highly attractive. When production ceased in 2003 a total of only 1,321 Azures of all types had been built.
This left-hand drive Azure was purchased new in the USA by John Stanley Boyles, who shipped it back to the UK in 2007 and used it at his homes in England and Ireland. It was at that time on UK plates. Mr Boyles later took the Bentley to his home in Marbella, Spain. The current (second) owner bought the car in London, but it was on Spanish plates at that time. That suited the new owner as he took it straight to Mallorca and kept it there for nearly two years. Back in London now and once again on UK plates, the car has been recently MoT’d and taxed, and all VAT has been paid.
The Bentley was delivered new finished in the desirable ‘triple black’ livery and came equipped with various special Mulliner features. The latter include veneered door panels below the fully veneered door cappings; five-spoke 18″ alloy wheels with chrome finish; special brightwork to headlamp bezels; wooden gear selector; drilled aluminium control pedals; and chromed instrument bezels, bringing the purchase price up to the equivalent of £250,000.
With only 9,050 miles covered from new, this rare and highly desirable Azure remains in virtually ‘as new’ condition. The car comes complete with all books, manuals, small and large tools, service/maintenance bills, correspondence, MoT to August 2017, and a V5C registration document. Few cars combine five-star luxury and effortless power like a modern turbo-charged Bentley, and this beautiful Azure has to be one of the finest currently available, not to mention quite outstanding value for money.