There are few things more tempting, and more potentially heart-breaking, as a depreciated luxury car. Especially when it’s from a high-end brand like Bentley. A used Continental GT, for example, is in many ways just as luxurious as a new one. And this week’s Bring a Trailer bargain buy offers similar levels of luxury with decent reliability: a 2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label.
The Bentley Arnage Red Label was the first ‘modern’ Bentley
The Bentley Arnage is the first car released after Volkswagen purchased Bentley, Autocar reports. It debuted in 1998 and was updated in 2002 into the Arnage T and Arnage R. The 2001 Arnage Red Label is therefore the last of the first-gen models. However, it’s also “the car that the engineers wanted to do all along,” Car and Driver reports.
The ‘Red Label’ part of the Bentley Arnage’s name refers to the engine under its hood. At the time, the luxury sedan offered two different powerplants, due to the complicated way BMW and VW fought over Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Classics World explains. The Arnage Green Label used BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. However, the Green Label trim disappeared after 2000.
The Bentley Arnage Red Label, in contrast, has Bentley’s own 6.75-liter turbocharged V8. It makes 400 hp and 619 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. It goes to the rear wheels via a GM 4-speed automatic transmission. At the time, that made it the torquiest sedan on the market, Cars.com reports. And it means that, despite weighing 5557 pounds, it goes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, Automobile reports.
Besides speed, the Bentley Arnage Red Label offered a high level of late 90s luxury. It offers traction control, adjustable dampers, automatic ride-height control, and GPS navigation. The leather upholstery and wood veneers are high-quality, as is the metal switchgear. It’s heavy, but it rides very comfortably and handles fairly well, Automobile reports.
And there’s a low-mileage example available, as of this writing, on Bring a Trailer.
The 2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label on Bring a Trailer
The 2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label listed on Bring a Trailer is in very good condition, and only 35,000 miles on the odometer. Its vehicle history reports zero accidents, and the only imperfections are some wheel and door scratches.
The interior isn’t just pristine, it’s also well equipped. It doesn’t have navigation, but it does have heated front seats with memory functions, a sunroof, folding walnut picnic tables in the rear, and dual-zone automatic climate control. This particular Bentley Arnage Red Label also has parking sensors, a CD changer, and tinted windows. Plus, it’s fitted with a battery tender, which is helpful given that it has 2 batteries.
There are no specific maintenance or service records included. However, the Carfax report indicates that this Arnage was serviced regularly since new. One Bring a Trailer commenter, Schreck1, has reportedly driven the car. And they were surprised at how well-maintained it is.
What makes it a bargain purchase?
As of this writing, this 2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label is listed at $13,750 on Bring a Trailer with 3 days left in the auction. Given this car’s condition, that’s a fairly low price. The typical price on Bring a Trailer hovers around $30,000.
Admittedly, a cheap Bentley is still a Bentley, which means service costs can be a concern. Luckily, the Arnage tends to be a fairly reliable car, and the Red Label avoids some of the BMW V8’s foibles, BMW Tuning reports. The only major concern is the head gasket, which can fail in pre-2002 Arnages, 6SpeedOnline forum members report.
Bring a Trailer doesn’t report if this 2001 Arnage has had its head gasket replaced. However, with regular coolant changes, and letting the engine warm-up properly, failure appears to be a non-issue, 6SpeedOnline forum members report. And the seller, ogdenlincoln, welcomes potential bidders to inspect the car themselves. So, if you want to bid, consider getting a pre-purchase inspection.
Still, there’s a lot of appeal in a sub-$20k Bentley Arnage Red Label, especially given it retailed for over $200k.
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