Sam Philip10 June 2009

New Arnage out

Bentley reveals first photo of all-new Arnage replacement, but what’s under that sleek new bonnet?

This summer, after 114 years in production - OK, it's only 11 years, but it feels like forever - Bentley will kill off the Arnage to make way for an all-new giant ultra-luxury land yacht-thing, due to hit the road next year.

And it looks like this. Well, the bit at the front does, anyhow. This is the first official teaser shot of the Arnage replacement, set to be formally unveiled later this summer as an even-more-upmarket rival for the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

We don't know what it'll be called (Bentley is referring to it as ‘the New Grand Bentley', though the new model has been codenamed ‘Project Kimberley' - here's hoping that one doesn't stick), but we do know it'll be a significant departure from the current Arnage's design: that front end looks far more sculpted, with a Conti-style clamshell replacing the Arnage's flat bonnet.

The Arnage replacement is expected to sit on a heavily modified version of Audi's modular space frame chassis - an iteration of which already underpins the A8 - meaning it'll be far lighter than the current car: good news for handling and economy.

As for power, well, all we know is that Bentley is highly likely to ditch the 6.7-litre V8 from the current Arnage in favour of... er, something else.

It'd make sense to use something from the VW/Audi stable - rumours that it'll adopt the Bugatti Veyron's 8.0-litre, 987bhp W16 engine refuse to go away, though we're sceptical - but the Arnage replacement looks unlikely to be diesel- or hybrid-powered: Bentley doesn't believe the demand for either exists yet, particularly in the US.

So we're looking at something big and petrol-ish. V8 seems right to us, but how about a V10 made by bolting a pair of Audi TT-RS engines together, Bentley? Or how about three Scirocco R engines in a row for a nice 6.0-litre V12? Or... actually, we can't top that Veyron suggestion, actually. What engine would you like to see under there? 

Now watch Clarkson smoke the Arnage around the Top Gear test track back in 2002:

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