Used Bentley Azure
The Bentley Azure first burst onto the scene with an unwieldy name but bags of potential, using its imposing good looks to court the media back in 2005 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Arnage Drophead Coupe moniker was soon ditched in favour of its more manageable title and it hit the market in 2006 for the princely sum of £225,500.
Like many modern Bentleys the Azure was created to blend traditional design elements with cutting edge technology and unchained luxury, although the engineers actually managed to get this model ready for production in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Bang for your buck
The styling of the Azure is in line with that of the Arnage, at least when you consider the car's front end. At the back things are quite different, while the interior is decked out with seats and design details that are contemporary without feeling garish or anachronistic.
Its creators want to make sure that it looks just as good with its roof up as it does when it has been dropped out of sight and they certainly achieved this goal. The canvas construction can be raised or lowered in 25 seconds and unlike other convertibles you do not have to compromise on luggage room when the roof is down.
Fans of chrome detailing will appreciate the liberal use of it on the used Bentley Azure's interior and exterior, while this is offset thanks to the use of oak veneers and a steering wheel with attractive wooden elements. Basically, if you can afford the Azure then you will be wringing luxury and opulence out of every single penny you pay.
What you'll pay
The premium Bentley brand ensures that well maintained models hold their value well, so an original 2006 edition can be expected to hover around the current list price, or even exceed it, when sold. Bear in mind that the rarity of used models does mean that you will pay a premium whenever one does come on the market, with Group 20 insurance a given at this price.
What to check
The Azure's relatively recent release means that only a few minor fragilities have been identified over its life span.
When buying a used example, check that everything electronic is in full working order, paying particular attention to the electric roof, since this piece of kit can be particularly expensive to repair if something goes wrong.
Should the car not yet have been driven enough to merit a service, check to see what maintenance has been performed; you can trust that an owner who has had an oil change has also looked after the Azure in all other areas.
How it drives
450bhp is developed by the V8 engine that throbs under the sleek bonnet of the Bentley Azure. While you might assume that such a long, heavy car might wallow, the double wishbone suspension helps to keep it taught and sporty, putting its power down effectively when required.
The Azure is a great long distance cruiser and you will feel like you have nearly unlimited power at your disposal when you are behind the wheel, although it will also guzzle petrol if you push it hard.