Bentley

Bentley

Bentley Continental GT (2003-2011)

When Bentley revealed the Continental GT in 2003, it marked the dawn of a new era for the Crewe marque under Volkswagen ownership. The model has gone on to become easily the most popular model ever offered by this luxury sporting brand, with a variety of offshoots also offered, including convertible and saloon editions. Anyone worried that VW Phaeton underpinnings might devalue the Bentley brand were quickly reassured by the car’s blend of agility, comfort, performance and reliability. And while you’ll need deep pockets to buy and run one of these stylish machines, the Bentley Continental GT still represents something of a bargain on the used market.

Key dates

6/03: The Continental GT debuts in 552bhp coupé form, as the world’s fastest four-seat coupé.

4/05: There’s now a four-door saloon, the Flying Spur, mechanically identical to the coupé.

10/06: The Continental GTC convertible goes on sale.

11/06: The Diamond Series celebrates 60 years of Crewe production and features ceramic brakes, unique wheels and fresh colour schemes.

8/07: 600bhp Speed versions of the Continental GT and GTC debut.

3/09: There’s now a Continental Flying Spur Speed.

10/09: The 621bhp Supersports appears, capable of 204mph and with carbon-ceramic brakes as standard.

Checklist

  • Despite their generous dimensions, the GT and GTC aren’t especially spacious inside, with rear seats suitable only for children.
  • Some cars are fitted with aftermarket wheels on ultra-low profile tyres, which damage the ride quality.
  • Some cars have tacky paint schemes; buy with caution as selling them on can be extremely difficult.
  • The heated rear window contains the radio aerial. These fail, with the whole window having to be replaced.
  • A warning that the engine is overheating when it isn’t is probably because of an imbalance between the two exhaust manifold temperatures.
  • The high-level brake light over the back window can fail, and repair costs can be high.
  • Tyres can be hard to find; standard GTs are fitted with 275/40 ZR 19 105Y (B) rubber. It’s essential that you fit tyres with the correct loading.

We like

  • Performance
  • Refinement
  • Build quality
  • Image
  • Comfort
  • Four-wheel drive

We don’t like

  • Cramped cabin
  • High running costs

Bentley

Bentley Arnage (1998-2010)

Few cars offer a sense of occasion like travelling - and arriving - in a Bentley. That's certainly the case with the Arnage, available for ridiculously small amounts of money. Sadly, despite low purchase prices, running costs tend to be high - so don't get carried away snapping up a cheap Arnage, only to find that it bankrupts you at the first service..

Key Dates

6/98: The Arnage debuts with a BMW 4.4-litre V8.

9/99: The Red Label Arnage appears, with the classic 400bhp 6.75-litre pushrod V8; from this point on, the BMW-engined Arnage is known as the Green Label.

1/02: A long-wheelbase version of the Red Label is now offered, along with the 450bhp Arnage T.

3/02: The Arnage R arrives.

3/03: The long-wheelbase Arnage RL appears, with a 450bhp V8.

11/06: The V8 gets an overhaul, with displacement rising to 6761cc and power jumping by 50bhp.

9/08: The run-out Arnage Final Series goes on sale.

Checklist

  • That bluff front easily gets damaged by flying debris, so check for paint chips.
  • Be wary of wacky colour schemes specified by first owners with more money than taste.
  • Alloy wheels don't age well, with peeling lacquer par for the course.
  • Interiors also don't necessarily age well; look for sagging leather, delaminating wood and tatty carpets.
  • The suspension and brakes have to work hard; check they're not tired, as they often are.
  • Check who has serviced the car; independent specialists are fine - but it needs to be somebody with a decent reputation.

We Like

  • Prestige
  • Comfort
  • Power
  • Value

We Don't Like

  • Running costs