A few weeks ago, I traded off my steaming pile of German automotive excellence. Don’t feel too bad for the new owner, though, as I received his steaming pile of British automotive excellence in return. Basically, we covered each other in our own filth, though I’m pretty sure he came out on top because I now have an old Bentley Turbo R leaking all over my garage floor.
I should have known this was a bad idea, especially since the trade happened by accident. I was disgusted with my 2007 E63 AMG Wagon after it was breaking constantly and I documented it all in great detail on my YouTube channel. The downside of showing all this made the car difficult to sell for anywhere close to what I had into it. After paying $13,000 for this green 200,000-mile AMG wagon and spending $4,000 in repairs, the investment was pretty significant, too. So I figured this E63 would keep annoying me forever — or at least until something catastrophically broke and I finally junked it. Since it was a beautiful green 500-horsepower station wagon, though, it wasn’t the worst car to be stuck with.
Fate had other plans, though: A few weeks ago, I saw a Facebook post from an individual looking to trade his 1990 Bentley Turbo R for something else. I jokingly posted a picture of my E63 wagon on a flatbed, not at all serious about the possibility of trading, but he replied immediately. After a few messages and a phone call, the deal was done. Not long after, the shippers took away my E63 and returned with a broken Bentley.
The seller did his best to tell me everything that was wrong with the car but since it’s an old Bentley, there were plenty of things that he omitted or didn’t notice or forgot about. The passenger windows were taped up, as the regulators had gotten weak, AND the heater didn’t work, AND the car tends to sputter a bit at idle, AND there’s an obvious leak from the power steering AND the fragile mineral oil brake/suspension system. There are numerous other little things as well but at least it runs and drives like it should, unlike my last disastrous Bentley purchase.
I imagine there are few people at this point who feel sorry for me or think I’m a moron — or both. I’m well aware that I got the worst end of this deal but I’m still happy. I’ve always wanted a Bentley Turbo R and now that I’ve had a few days to appreciate its majesty, I’m convinced this is the best luxury car value in the world. Also, if you count my total investment in the E63, I technically bought the cheapest Bentley Turbo R in the USA. For used Toyota Camry money, I bought a Bentley with an original MSRP of nearly $200,000.
At first glance, this Turbo R doesn’t look all that special, since its body is shared with other Rolls-Royce and Bentley models of the era that I imagine both brands would like to forget. Horsepower and acceleration figures were described as "adequate" probably because it would be laughable to disclose that a six-figure luxury sedan couldn’t produce 200 hp inside its massive 6.75-liter V8 or accelerate to 60 in less than 10 seconds. The Turbo R changed all of that and singlehandedly brought the Bentley brand out of its own version of the Dark Ages.
Sticking with tradition, Bentley still didn’t release official performance figures but thanks to a big Garrett Turbocharge and Bosch mechanical fuel injection, it’s estimated the hp was bumped to somewhere over 300. Torque levels were the more impressive figure, though, which were estimated at around 470 lb-ft and which made it possible to launch this land yacht to 60 in under 7 seconds. Even more impressive was the updates to the suspension, which managed to preserve the plush ride, but the addition of 100% stiffer roll-bars and other tricks helps this barge actually take a corner.
This balance of classic luxury and modern performance makes the Turbo R the best of both worlds. Vintage luxury items like metal switches, acres of wood and dual tone horns have been replaced in modern luxury cars with loads of plastic and infotainment screens but this Bentley still has all of them. Since it has a standard-sized radio slot, it was easy for the previous owner to upgrade to a modern Bluetooth audio system as well, which is something I’ll probably never be able to do with my more modern, BMW iDrive-equipped Rolls-Royce Phantom.
So there’s a lot to like with this Turbo R but there’s also a lot that is broken. I’m hoping the repairs aren’t massive, though once it’s sorted, I could see this Turbo R as a viable alternative to my much more expensive Phantom. Trying to economize with an old Bentley may seem moronic but I’m sure there’s a few people out there reading this while eating a Grey Poupon sandwich that see the logic. Find a Bentley Turbo R for sale
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