From the March 1994 subject of Automotive and Driver.
If the $226,450 value of the 1994 Bentley Turbo R appears a bit, properly, extravagant on this period of frugality, a brief tour of Rolls-Royce’s meeting plant in Crewe, England, will quickly put issues in perspective.
The manufacturing facility the place Bentleys are constructed employs each space-age know-how and olde-worlde craftsmanship. There are gleaming clear rooms the place engines are assiduously assembled to extraordinarily shut tolerances, and there are workshops the place craftsmen go to extraordinary lengths to form and polish veneered dashboards and to chop and sew flawless hides.
It’s exactly all that diligent craftsmanship that helps offset any monetary misgivings potential house owners might need, even realizing there are a number of arguably higher automobiles available for lower than half the Bentley’s value. After all, higher is a relative time period. In spite of everything, the Bentley Turbo R will propel itself from relaxation to 60 mph in 6.four seconds, and thru the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds at 93 mph. In our palms, the automobile additionally ran a 146-mph high pace, and stopped from 70 mph in simply 171 toes.
These are greater than modest accomplishments for a five-seat luxurious automobile weighing greater than 5300 kilos. And now, after an intensive company reorganization that has resulted in important new product-development applications, the 1994 Bentley Turbo R can be higher outfitted, extra refined, and extra environment friendly. The engines have new cylinder heads with bigger valves and manifolds that stream extra freely, and the motor electronics have been optimized within the space of turbo-boost management and transmission-shift vitality administration. Plus the automobile’s suspension has been fastidiously recalibrated.
However, the automobile can be one other 12 months older. Though the corporate might argue that it’s one 12 months higher, the unavoidable unintended effects of its outdated design are readily obvious. Climbing into the automobile, for instance, we’re reminded how uncommonly excessive the flooring of those automobiles are. Likewise, the seat and windshield are at an elevation not not like that of a pickup truck. That is what Bentley calls “a commanding driver’s place.”
And it is true. You get a lofty perch and view of the street forward. However the driver’s seat is so excessive that folks with lengthy torsos will discover their scalps uncomfortably near—and even touching—the wool headliner, and their view of overhead site visitors lights neatly minimize off by the roof the place it meets the windshield. A retreat to the rear seat is not going to present a lot reduction. The area again there, whereas satisfactory for passengers of common measurement, doesn’t examine favorably to that present in, say, a Chrysler New Yorker. (For extra space, strive the Turbo RL mannequin with a wheelbase that’s 4 inches longer.) Fortuitously, the ambiance supplied by the elegant wooden veneers, the impossibly even-grained leather-based, the lambs-wool rugs, and the opposite lavish inside appointments go an extended technique to negate any niggles about area.
To set the raffish Bentley other than its stuffy stablemate Rolls-Royce, the Turbo R’s cockpit boasts options like a tachometer and a gear selector that has been moved from the steering column to a a lot sportier place within the heart console. The selector is a change quite than a lever that sends digital directions right down to the four-speed computerized transmission because it slides effortlessly from place to place. But it surely seems the half, and the transmission now has a shift technique that coordinates engine and transmission features electronically in order that engine torque is diminished briefly throughout shifts for smoother driving.
The engine now options digital transient enhance management, which gives a quick interval of excessive turbo enhance throughout the preliminary levels of full-throttle acceleration. That is of explicit worth throughout passing maneuvers, when the massive Bentley steams by slower site visitors with stunning vehemence. At full throttle, the automobile belies its measurement and weight, pulling via every gear on an unrelenting wave of torque.
With this a lot punch, the Bentley clearly wants assist from the remainder of the chassis to remain on the street in corners. So the automobile’s suspension is extra firmly sprung than lesser Bentleys and Rollers, and has extra stringent roll management. It additionally has Bentley’s adaptive trip management, with three ranges of damping firmness for a trip that’s poised and pretty taut with out feeling harsh.
The refinements have eradicated practically all the structural creaks that we would seen on poor surfaces in earlier Bentley Turbos. A self-leveling system operates on the rear, and you may arrange a collection of front-end pogo-ing motions with a few well-timed dab on the throttle earlier than the rear jacks as much as restore the automobile’s composure.
Contemplating its measurement and function, the Turbo R displays compromise between consolation and management—an achievement value applauding even after a decade of growth—and it may be pushed with enthusiasm whereas retaining a good sense of what’s going on on the contact patches. The steering can be new for ’94, and it feels a lot livelier and extra naturally weighted than the Rolls model, though it is nonetheless considerably distant by up to date automobile requirements.
The brakes go away little to be desired, however we have been dissatisfied when the brake pedal refused to return to its resting place after our braking exams, inflicting the brake lights to stay on and requiring us to rig up a firmly tensioned bungee wire to revive regular perform. We additionally seen that at idle the massive V-Eight produces a discernible bobbing movement, and that it’s fairly vocal when requested for max output. Our automobile additionally shook the entrance passenger seat considerably when it was unoccupied.
However, our microcassette recorder performed again our verbal notes with remarkably little rumble and roar, so maybe the crew at Crewe is aware of which frequencies to kill and which to disregard. They’ve definitely executed a convincing job of creating the Bentley carry out like a contemporary automobile whereas incorporating the normal trappings wanted to justify the big value of possession. The problem now’s to draw sufficient rich prospects to maintain worthwhile operations. And that shall be a substantial problem certainly.
Everybody appears enthralled with the Turbo R’s uncommon mixture of efficiency and weight, as if weight have been a property of some intrinsic advantage. I feel the most effective facet of this automobile is its terrific paint job. The colour is deep and wealthy and the end is uncontaminated by even a hint of murkiness or orange peel. The hood displays each element of the drifting clouds overhead, as if it have been a flawlessly tinted mirror. There are sooner luxurious sedans for much less cash, but when your hangup is paint, there isn’t any substitute for the Bentley’s hand-rubbed end. —Csaba Csere
Is my judgment clouded by bourgeois awe, or is that this truly a fairly first rate automobile? Rollers and Bentleys have by no means been terribly good at doing the issues automobile journal editors like doing. But, if I am not mistaken, I loved driving this zillion-pound tank not less than half as a lot as I loved arriving in it. It goes and stops in addition to many good sport coupes weighing half as a lot. Its demeanor at 146 mph is as imperturbable as any Mercedes. It corners flatter than most 2.5-ton autos I’ve pushed. And my neighbors simply died! (I assume we would higher not low cost the bourgeois awe issue). —Frank Markus
What I love to do with a Bentley Turbo is crawl alongside a freeway at about 50 mph, then ground it. The feeling is of an outdated 707 at liftoff, and the sound of this enormous, historic engine points forth quite a lot of fury. There may be simply nothing like a Rolls. Lots of people will say that is the issue, they usually have their factors as a result of it’s a dinosaur. However what a dinosaur! What different automobile has a alternative of horns? Or a hood the size of an ICBM? Or leather-based seats as onerous as saddles? After all it is unnecessary to most individuals, however the Sultan of Brunei and the Duke of Kent usually are not common Joes. —Steve Spence
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