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Car of the Month

More on Bentley  in these books:

The Complete Bentley

Bentley - A legend Reborn


Car of the Month - April 2010
Bentley Turbo R, 1987, #JCH22079

The outstanding performance of the Bentley Turbo R was most impressively demonstrated in September 1986 when the manufacturer had the car travelling on the banked circuit of a test track at over 140mph. And that was below the Turbo R’s maximum speed to minimise wear on the Pirelli P7R tyres; due to the banked circuit severe loading was imposed on the inside wheels. The Bentley sports saloon set pace from a standing start with a 67 second first lap of the two mile circuit and then settled down to a consistent 51 seconds per lap. The average speed was some 140mph. In the end 16 new British national records were to be listed in the in the record books. Arguably the most significant among these was the new reord of 140.91 miles covered in one hour. That was an improvement of 8mph on the existing record which in 1983 had been achieved by Lamborghini Countach 2-seater sports car. This success was even the ore remarkable as three minutes before the finish was reached a pheasant had stuck the windscreen of the Turbo R – however Derek Rowland, the test driver, held his course and speed although vision was impaired by multiple cracks in the laminated windscreen.

It must be said that the car on the test track was one built to 1987 model year specifications and that latest version of the Turbo R Bentley incorporated a vast array of improvements and modifications. Carburettors had been superseded by Bosch KE2-Jetronic fuel injection with electronic microprocessor control and a mapped digital ignition system with twin coils and distributors. Re-designed inlet and exhaust manifolds gave better gas flow, e.g. exhaust back pressure was reduced. As a result the 6750cc V8 turbocharged engine supplied 10% more power. Although a higher axle ratio – 2.28:1 – was used acceleration remained unimpaired. An overall improvement of 18% in fuel economy was claimed. If that directly led to a reduction as regards expenses on petrol was mainly depending, of course, on whether or not a driver would use the car’s tremendous potential frequently. The vehicle speed limiter had been discarded and the red line on the rev.-counter at 4500 should now be obeyed as limit (in theory 4500rpm equated 160mph). An antilock braking system, again by Bosch, had been added as a safety feature.

Bentley Turbo R Engine

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Bentley Turbo REasily recognisable changes to the interior were a sports steering wheel and re-designed seats with horizontal flutes. The front seats featured a new 10-way electric adjustment with a position memory facility. Each front seat could have individual settings for up to four occupants stored in that way. A cost option was to abandon the standard 255/65VR15 AVON tyres in preference of tyres supplied by Pirelli. These were of different diameter hence at the factory the speedometer was calibrated accordingly if a car was to be fitted with 275/55VR15 Pirelli P7R. The least expensive item from the options’ list was a fire extinguisher at 40 Pound Sterling and the most expensive was “Special paint formulation” which was charged at 1,314 Pound Sterling. However there remains the question if indeed on a car with a price tag of ca. 85,000 Pound Sterling (ca. 95,000 for the long wheelbase variant) such extras could be quoted expensive?

Bentley Turbo R

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