The Azure is a direct successor to the long-running Corniche. Like its predecessors, it is Bentley’s flagship model and transcends the luxury so typical of Bentley motorcars, acquiring a celebrity status all on its own. One of the world’s most imposing convertibles.
Working in conjunction with Pininfarina, Bentley succeeded in developing a graceful convertible, uncluttered and elegant in design, with the foundation of a Continental R horsepower and a remarkable 645 pound-feet of torque. Such numbers propelled the 6,000-pound behemoth to sixty miles per hour in under six seconds – a remarkable achievement. From 1999 through the end of production, the Azure was also available in “Mulliner” trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customisation during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests.
As with any other Bentley, or Rolls Royce for that matter, it is of course the luxurious, handcrafted appointments that truly set these automobiles apart from their competitors. As would be expected, production numbers remained very low – just 1,308 cars between 1995 and 2003, of which 703 left-hand drive examples were sent to the USA.
Power hood, Hide matched Demister ducts, Tweeter and Thermister grills in Nautic Blue, Wilton overmats, Bentley Umbrella, Dual zone climate control, Electric multi function leather steering wheel with memory setting, Electric heated memory seats and door mirrors, Deep pile carpet, Cruise control, Alarm, Immobiliser, Central locking, CD multi changer, Head light power wash, Driver’s airbag, Active seatbelts, Power folding door mirrors.
This Azure has an elegantly crafted body that Mulliner have promoted with a subtle yet purposeful stance.
Finished in Black Sapphire and complemented by the French Navy convertible roof, the coachwork holds a deep shine and presents in good condition all round, accentuating an imposing presence both at the kerb and on the move.
An opulent interior of soft Cotswold hide and navy detailing set against Burr walnut instrument panel and door cappings. The interior is further lifted and modernized, benefiting from chrome instrument bezels, push-button start and drilled metal pedals.
The dashboard top is stitched in soft French navy and the headlining parchment wool cloth. All the interior leather presents in good overall condition with no marks or tears, just light signs of use to the vulnerable bolsters. All switches, dials and courtesy lights operate without fault, and the power hood functions as it was designed.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Powered by their infamous 6.75 litre V8 with single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger and Zytek engine management system the Azure produces in the region of 420 bhp and 553 lb. ft of torque at 2000 rpm. The stats are impressive; 0-60 mph in 6.3 sec and a top speed in excess of 150mph; remarkable for a car of this weight and aerodynamic profile.
Having been continually well maintained by Bentley the engine runs as expected, strong, silent and with immense power; particularly with the Turbo rebuilt by the main dealer at 32,545 miles. No smoke on start up and the car settles into a smooth tick-over once up to temperature.
The gearbox shifts seamlessly through all gears up and down the rev range with a minimum of fuss.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
Tyres are matching Pirelli P Zero Rosso’s with new tread to front and plenty of life remaining at the rear. The 5 spoke alloy wheels with distinctive blue Bentley insignia centre caps show in good condition with no major marks or scuffs.
Brakes are in good order with recent receipts for work to the brake sphere pipework at the last service in January, alongside a new assembly valve accumulator.
Supplied in the summer of 2003 by Jack Barclay, the car would return for it’s first service in July at 805 miles with the supplying dealer.
Jack Barclay would go on to service the car on a further 4 occasions before Harwoods of West Sussex would assume duties on behalf of the second owner from 2008; servicing the car on a further 3 occasions.
Having just returned from Bentley Hampshire of Bramshaw the car has received attention to the braking system and thermostat whilst treated to a fresh oil service and a pair of front tyres. A dealer sheet annotates every visit between 2008 and 2014 with the original leatherbound Azure handbook, full Mulliner book pack and spare key present and correct.
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