Bentley Arnage Genealogy

Discussion in 'British' started by Bradwilliams, Apr 12, 2017.

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  1. Bradwilliams

    Bradwilliams F1 Rookie
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    Quick FAQ for any Arnage guys here. I know the BMW VW split happened early 2000s. I can't find any definitive info on when the cars switched over the VW platform. From what I can tell the Arnage T from 2002 is VW, but I'm looking at photos and info on the 2005 model years and it looks very similar to the BMW style again. Anybody have a link on this? I'm looking at one of these for a daily driver in the next few years whenever I decide to let go of my 7 series. I'd prefer to go VW over the BMW version if at all possible. I love my 7, but it is a colossal pain in the ass. First and last BMW I'll own.
     
  2. kdf398

    kdf398 Formula Junior
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    The 1999 model year Arnage was the only year with the 4.4L V8 that is similar to your BMW 7 Series. It is referred to today as a "Green Label." Everything after that, beginning with the 2000 "Red Label" had a Bentley sourced 6.75L V8.

    The Red Label Arnages (2000-2002) were prone to cooling problems associated with stuffing the 6.75L into an engine bay designed for the smaller BMW V8. These problems were somewhat fixed with the Arnage R and Arnage T, beginning in 2003. The car continued to improve and received a facelift in 2005, mainly evident in the headlight arrangement.

    There was never a switch of body styles associated with the switch from BMW to VW. Only the aforementioned switch of engines. Thus, the 'Green Label' Bentley of 1999 MY (of which a total of approx. 1000 were made) is the only Arnage with the BMW mechanicals. And even that is a bit of a misnomer, as the 4.4L V8 in the Arnage, while sourced from the 7 Series, was heavily reworked by Cosworth into something that is quite unique and different from the V8 of the same vintage 7 Series.

    Because the Green Label was quickly replaced when VW took over Bentley, its reputation suffered somewhat as the motoring press and enthusiasts began to look at it as a bit of an Orphan. Ultimately, however, the Red Label were the problem cars that damaged the Arnage reputation. The Arnage was originally designed for the 4.4 L, and VW shoehorning the 6.75 L into it simply because it had to quickly do something to replace the BMW engine, have caused those later cars to suffer problems.

    As time has proven, the Green Label cars are much more reliable and robust and inexpensive to maintain than the later years. Yet maintaining all the same Bentley levels of refinement, interior appointments etc.

    So, don't dismiss the 7-Series derived 4.4L version of the Arnage. It's an incredibly satisfying car and an incredible bargain. Otherwise, if you want the 6.75L, which does indeed have much more torque and HP than the Green Label, then just avoid the early years and go for a post 2003 (or post 2005 for newer body-style) R or T.
     
  3. 88MONDIAL

    88MONDIAL Formula Junior

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    kdf398 - His post is excellent and accurate from everything I've read (as I love the Arnage too). Good points and advice!
     
  4. Bradwilliams

    Bradwilliams F1 Rookie
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    #4 Bradwilliams, Apr 13, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Thanks fellas. So you either go green label or 03 and up is the moral of the story. I'd probably be happy with either. The big motor would be cool but not for a daily. I do about 10k a year at the moment on the DD. If that drops a bit then it wouldn't be as big of a difference. The 03-05 models are coming down as we speak. Used car market is tanking. The 03-05 should be a great buy when they get into the 30-40s. I'm not going to buy anything for at least another year or two. Trying to drive this sucker into the ground first :)
    20160405_132913.jpg
     
  5. 88MONDIAL

    88MONDIAL Formula Junior

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    Beautiful 7 series! Love that low beltline. Still one of the best looking full size cars around. They were built between 1995-2001 and they still look great, especially with the 18" sport wheels that yours wears.
     
  6. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 Veteran

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    Love imola on the E38. Tan or black interior?
     
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  8. Pav

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    M-parallels give the E38 a sporty touch for sure, it might be even a M-sport version from the looks of it.
    Arnages are expensive to maintain, this is not your regular E38 servicing, prepare to spend 3x more for a car that might stay 3x longer at the independent bentley/britcar workshop you‘d chose for servicing...
    On the other hand the AC panel is the same as in the E38, so that‘s a funny touch.
     
  9. Bradwilliams

    Bradwilliams F1 Rookie
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    Black. I actually wish it were tan. Black looks good and sporty from the outside. But when you're in the car it hides the style of the interior too much IMO.

    It is the M sport short. I hear ya. I'm starting to think it's just a bad idea. I'm starting to look at the 560SEC as another option. Big body car (safe), plenty of room in the front and back seat and you still get a huge trunk. Those are the main boxes that I like ticked in a daily driver. I love this 7, and I'm driving it for nothing. But I just get tired of the headaches that surface every year it seems. Most tempermental car I've ever owned.

    I need to get behind the wheel of an SEC or two. The only thing I'm afraid of is excessive body roll/boat feel in the steering. That was one thing about the arnage I hated and don't want to live with. I've heard the SEC is loose but not too bad.
     
  10. Pav

    Pav Formula 3
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    #9 Pav, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
    The 560SEC has an awful bodyroll, I had the opportunity to drive a standard 560SEC and my ex AMG 500SEL (LWB sedan) on AMG W126-dedicated bilstein-eibach setup on the same uphill road and it is like two different worlds despite the SEL being longer and heavier than the coupe.
    Either way this is NOT a recommendation for you to look for a AMG W126 SEC, a replacement OEM AMG suspension kit will cost you around 9 to 12k euros + shipping if you manage to find it... and in most cases the suspension is tired on US-market cars, so there you go for big spending.
    I absolutely love stupid luxury sedans and coupes from the 80s and 90s and have experience in ownership and maintenance - the piece of advice I can give you is:
    1. anything rare in the 80s or 90s is going to be hell on earth to maintain because parts are simply not available, and on top of it, a rare car is good for collecting not for daily driving.
    2. anything top of the range in the 80s or 90s like Bentley or Rolls Royce etc. is going to be helluva expensive to service even if the parts are available, because the cars were helluva expensive when brand new, and in most cases hand built cars have their own set of "small production engineering" issues, because in these transitional years we are talking about engineers just couldn‘t figure out how the electronic and electric components are going age and how to avoid glitches in daily drive use. That‘s the main difference between limited production hand built luxury and limited production hand built sports from these years. It is still the case today for niche manufacturers.

    Best is to stick to big figure manufacturing, like your E38 or W140 Benzes etc. for daily drive usage.
     
  11. exoticfan001

    exoticfan001 Rookie

    Sep 30, 2010
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    As a satisfied long-term owner of an Arnage Red Label and Mercedes 560SEC I'd like to shed some light on these wonderful motorcars. The Red Label's cooling system issues are a bit overblown (no pun intended). In depth conversations with top Bentley techs and personal experience indicate that proper preventative maintenance prevents problems. Stay on top of coolant levels with the proper BMW coolant, periodically check the temp guage and avoid excessive idling in park. The original head gaskets do have a weak spot between several cylinders, but these cars are not ticking time bombs. I've only encountered two system failures: a cracked plastic radiator (weak spot on most modern cars including later Arnages); and coolant loss from a new coolant level sensor. We discovered that the OEM replacement sensor (made by BMW) is now made from a plastic that is attacked by the original-spec coolant. While the 4.4 liter Green Label is fun to drive, it lacks the true big-block Bentley feel and has a less refined low-speed ride. This contributes to them being the least valued in the Arnage market. No Arnage is cheap to maintain, so better to put money into the more valuable and desirable models.

    The 560SEC does not handle like a boat, but you will feel some body roll while entering corners. This can be reduced by changing the size and type of tires fitted. The sensation fades as you power through the corner. I've found it to be stable in tight corners and very flat on sweeping bends at speed. Like the Arnage, it is an engaging driver's car when you push beyond the initial softness. The SEC also offers bulletproof reliability and is MUCH cheaper to maintain than a W140 or later Mercedes/BMW.

    I disagree with the advice that an enthusiast should avoid either car (or top-end grand touring cars from this era). These cars are the stuff of legend, so people often have unrealistic expectations. If you understand what you are getting into and the associated costs, the ownership experience is rewarding and unmatched by lesser machines. Much like Ferraris, these cars aren't now and never were for everyone. They become more impressive the longer you own them, which can't be fully appreciated during a test drive.
     
  12. bjwhite

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    Be thankful it's black, tan sucks. A red on black 740i M-sport. That is a rare and beautiful car.....the last gorgeous 7-series. I'd keep it to be honest....
     
  13. Pav

    Pav Formula 3
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    Daliy driver perspective only. I love these cars, though I would never daily drive them. If I had an unlimited budget I would fill my garage with several W126s in AMG Lorinser etc, an Arnage, a RR Park Ward from the end of the production, AMG upgraded W124s, a L7 E38 and so it goes...
     
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  15. Bradwilliams

    Bradwilliams F1 Rookie
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    I'd like to. And most likely will until it dies or at least 2 more years. Car is mint and clean as hell, sorted. I just hate the headaches and I know the 560SEC wouldn't be nearly as bad. As long as it doesn't drive like a total boat I'm game.

    Are a lot of those parts interchangeable with BMW 7? I have the aftermarket aluminum radiator in mine so I never have to deal with that garbage again. Who on earth thinks it's a good idea to put a plastic radiator in a car? So stupid, and could only have been done to make people hit up your service department to get raped. If it is the same, then there is an aluminum upgrade available if you're interested.
     
  16. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 Veteran

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    I agree that imola on black is a far better combination. Keep driving it until it dies.
     
  17. exoticfan001

    exoticfan001 Rookie

    Sep 30, 2010
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    A bone-stock SEC has excellent handling on tires with OEM aspect ratio and speed rating. The problem is these are difficult to find now, so many wear taller, softer sidewalls which amplifies roll (along with worn suspension parts). Some owners switch to 16" MB 8-hole wheels to expand tire choice. Back when it was a new model I drove one with BBS wheels and low-profile Z-rated tires. I still remember being impressed at how this change made it corner better than a Porsche 928S4 driven several days before. It also seems easy to truly dial up the sportiness with a few suspension mods.

    Arnage/7 series parts interchangeability is a good question. I'll have to ask my tech about this. Aside from a the climate controls and some sensors, I have not seen many BMW-sourced parts on my Arnage. I've read that the wheel bolt patterns are the same and saw a photo of a Green Label with 7 series wheels. I share your passion for the E38; it is one of my favorite big luxury sedans (sorry to hear it's been a PITA).

    I agree with you 100% on plastic radiators -- just a shameless money grab by manufacturers. Thanks for the aluminum radiator suggestion. Where did you find it? I did investigate one sold by a RR/B supplier in England, but my service manager told me that they installed one and it requires much modification to fit. The extra labor and shipping made it cost more than OEM, so I went back to plastic. Hopefully it lasts as long as the original. Good luck with your car hunt!
     
  18. Monsieur Yoge

    Monsieur Yoge Karting

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    I think a Lexus LS430 might be an interesting alternative. They have bulletproof engines and reliability, incredibly smooth engines and a very cushy ride. Fairly inexpensive to maintain for what it is and it won't spend too much time in the garage since it is a fairly simple car to work on. Build quality is excellent and the whole car feels very 'solid' or safe, which I think you would appreciate. Parts are also widely available and there will never any 'Bentley' tax when visiting specialists since it is essentially, still a Toyota.

    But therein might lie an issue, it certainly won't be as engaging to drive as the aforementioned cars but I still think it is a viable option, but for some it might be too 'vanilla', all I can recommend is you at least give it a look. There are plenty of LS400s and LS430s still being driven on the roads in the UAE and that should tell you something given that Ferrari's are not all that rare here...
     
  19. Bradwilliams

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    #18 Bradwilliams, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    Yeah I hear ya. I just haven't had a Lexus I liked since I owned the LS400 first gen. That's the only Lexus I would ever consider again, and the clean ones are starting to get hard to come by. I had a mint 91 with the nakamichi system in it that I adored, then two second gen. GS4's that were pretty, fast, nice, but meh. Wouldn't mind having another LS400, perhaps a 93 or 94. That's the best car they have made, and will ever make. Everything over the top in the ergonomics, and materials used departements. That car still reeks of quality, and is an event, every time you drive it. An incredible machine.

    I found a nice LS430 for a friend of mine that he loves. Funny, I hated the exterior style of that car when released. But it has aged surprisingly well. Not a bad looking car at all. Great buy for the money for sure. He got it for 8500 with just under 100k on it. Full service history, clean as a whistle.
     
  20. Julia

    Julia Formula Junior

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    I don't know, man, mightn't you be jumping from the frying pan into the fire?
     
  21. Bradwilliams

    Bradwilliams F1 Rookie
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    Yeah I think you're right.
     
  22. Monsieur Yoge

    Monsieur Yoge Karting

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    How's the search going...? Found what you want? Do keep us posted...
     
  23. Bradwilliams

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    So according to the aformentioned, the only switch on the red labels is the motor, and the typical cooling issue BMW nonsense remains. But from what I've found, it looks like you can swap the radiator with aftermarket aluminum 7 series radiator which would knock out the cooling issues mostly. It would just be a matter of which motor is more reliable. MPG is better on the green of course but if the vw motor has the head gasket issue resolved, or you get a deal on one and knock it out, you may have a pretty decent machine. Not sure if there is an aftermarket fix for the leaking head gasket on the red label?

    And the 02 arnage t definitely looks vw. Shifter and interior. That is definitely a VW. the red and greens are all still bimmer. The T's look like the one to have, harder to find. I have seen a driver for sale here and there in the twenties. I actually prefer the interior of the BMW platform but the vw one has to be more reliable.
     

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