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Issue Six
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Bentley Arnage
Issue Six
March 22, 2003
Daytona 500
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Bentley Arnage R
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Road Test: 2003 Bentley Arnage R
By Steve Litscher

(Thursday, March 20, 2003 9:40 PM EST)

Bentley Arnage

Bentley Arnage

Bentley Arnage

Full Bentley Arnage R
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"Why?" If you have to ask, this is not the car for you. "Why" became a very common question for us as we spent time with the 2003 Bentley Arnage R. People would approach us at the gas station, the grocery store, the restaurant, the marina, the McDonald's drive through, you get the idea...

"That sure is a nice looking car, it's a Bentley?" is usually how the conversations started.

"Yep," we'd respond, trying to sound rather nonchalant.

"What does it cost?" they'd ask, their eyes following the sleek yet muscular lines of the Arnage.

"They start at around $199,000, give or take a couple of grand," we'd say, trying again to make it sound like it wasn't any big deal.

"Why would anyone pay that for a car?" their eyes now wide open, jaws opened a little farther past comfortable.

And that is how just about every conversation went. Of course, we were more than happy to engage folks in whatever discussion they wanted to have regarding the car, but the pressing question that appeared time and time again was "Why?"

"The Bentley" as it became known around our office, arrived just about mid-morning on an otherwise uneventful Tuesday morning. We went out to have our first look, and the first thing we noticed was the "presence" that this car carries with it. Sitting in a parking lot with approximately 60 other vehicles, our eyes were immediately drawn to the blue Bentley.

It's lines are, well, breathtaking. I hate to use that word because it's so overused, but try as I might, I couldn't find a better word to describe the Bentley. It literally takes your breath away every time you get near it, sit in it, drive it or walk away from it. And don't think you can walk away from it without looking over your shoulder once (or twice) - it ain't gonna happen.

The car wasn't as big as we had expected it to be - don't get me wrong, it's no Geo Metro, but it's not "school bus big" as I had envisioned it to be. It carries its weight well - much like a power lifter would. You know that it's big, but you never think of it as fat - it just sits there, commanding your attention and manipulating the parts of your soul that control greed, envy and lust.

Open the heavy door and you're greeted with a luxurious, hand-crafted interior. Supple leather, fine carpets and fabric, and enough burr walnut to make you wonder if the world really is running out of trees - this car is gorgeous in every sense of the word. We took a deep breath of "Bentley Air" - the leather still smelled great; ah, now this is living.

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