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Car of the Month - August 2006
Bentley Turbo R 1991, #MCX35458
4 Door Saloon


Bentley Turbo R

Rolls-Royce made it to the headlines when in September 1986 they sent a Bentley Turbo R to the high speed track that is a major feature of the Millbrock proving ground where company test driver D. Rowland achieved , along with 15 other new marks, a new national one-hour record of 140.96mph (225.46 km/h). The Bentley Turbo R 4-Door Saloon thus had beaten the previous record set by a Lamborghini Countach, i.e. by a 2-Door Fixed Head Coupé.

Bentley Turbo R

It was no miracle that towards the end of the 80ies Bentley sales counted for approximately 50 % of all cars sold by Rolls-Royce. In 1990 from the overall figure of 3,333 Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars having been delivered (as per company’s press release from Sept. 1991) indeed no less than 1,070 had been Bentley Turbo R. This was remarkable because immediately after introduction of the turbo-charged version - in 1982 in the form of the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo – there had been some critic that the car’s suspension and drive-train didn’t harmonize perfectly well, and any attempt to employ the car in a true sports mode was hindered. There had been the question, too, whether or not turbo-charging of such a big engine would limit reliability and longevity? The manufacturer’s reaction had been to launch the Bentley Turbo R in 1985 and the ‘R’ stood for ‘Roadholding’ (the Mulsanne Turbo was phased out during that year). Most important from a magnitude of modifications were stiffer anti-roll bars front and rear (100 % stiffer front, 60 % stiffer rear), re-set location of rear suspension subframe and torsions bar in the rack-and-pinion steering stiffened by 50 %. This almost eliminated the previously criticized heavy roll on quick changes of direction. In combination with lowered weight of ‘unsprung masses’ thanks to new light alloy wheels this lead to the massive car being easy to handle under all conditions, especially at high speeds.

Bentley Turbo R
 

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Over the years detail specifications changed persistently and included the remarkable feature of electronically controlled adaptive damping being adopted for the 1990 model year. Thus it was guaranteed that within fractions of a second the dampers were automatically set according to driving attitude and road conditions.

Bentley Turbo RHence it is only fair to say that a Bentley Turbo R from 1991 like the one shown here can be considered as but a very fine choice. Although over the following years further development resulted in one or the other improvement, this car even under present traffic conditions does offer impressive power in combination with the level of comfort that is the hallmark of a true ‘Upper Crust Motor Car’. – The most obvious hint as regards the age of this car is given by the odd-shaped cellphone, with a design from the early period of mobile telephone communications; but then it is an appropriate nostalgic note to leave that un-altered on board this car.

   


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