BENTLEY TURBO R REVIEW

How do you improve an already excellent luxury saloon? Strap a whacking great turbo on to it, of course. We sample a tasty classic...

Boasting an enormous price tag when new – comfortably in excess of £100,000 in 1990 – the Bentley Turbo R is now the luxury bargain of the 21st Century. The best thing is that Turbo Rs make absolute sense as a driving machine too. A generous prod on the accelerator elicits a rush of energy that launches you past lesser vehicles. If you’re in a post-1990 model complete with clever active suspension, you’ll enjoy total composure in the corners, too. Tempted?

VITAL STATISTICS

1987 Bentley Turbo R

Engine                                    6750cc/8-cyl/OHV

Power (bhp@rpm)                  330bhp@4000rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 480lb ft@2250rpm

Top speed                                140mph

0-60mph                                  7sec

Consumption                            14mpg

Gearbox                                    3-speed auto

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS
 

The first Turbo Rs are now 25 years old, so despite excellent build quality when new, they will rust if neglected. Rear wheelarches are particularly prone to corrosion if the car hasn’t been cared for. Make sure you examine up inside the arch, as well as down at either end of the sill. Water gets in at both ends, but especially the front. The rear valance can also corrode, and it is well hidden behind the rear bumper, so be thorough with your examination. Under the car, front outriggers can rot on higher mileage cars, while the rear spring pans should also be checked closely.

ENGINE

 

Pre-1987 carburettor-fed examples are less popular because the complex Solex four-choke unit has a poor reputation for reliability. They can also suffer from hot-starting issues, unknown on fuel-injected models. Either motor should cruise beyond 200,000 miles without requiring major attention, provided that proper service intervals
have been respected.

Poor starting, pinking, uneven idling or lack of responsiveness could be anything from a leaking inlet manifold to an engine management fault, the latter more common on post-1994 cars. Take a test drive and keep a close eye on the temperature gauge – steer clear of anything that overheats. Cooling leaks can quickly become serious, so check carefully for drips or weeping hoses anywhere in the system. Minor oil leaks are par for the course on a 50-year-old engine design, but liberal coatings of oil on the underside should find you walking away. Leaking turbo oil feed pipes are another bad sign
– a loss of oil feed will cause the turbo to fail, with potentially catastrophic results, so be on your guard.  

RUNNING GEAR

Two sturdy GM automatic gearboxes were used through the production span of the Turbo R. The three-speeder used until 1992 is simpler, but the later four-speeder gives better flexibility, acceleration and economy. Both should find all their gears without hesitation. Transmission fluid should always look pink and clean. You might hear a whine from the differential on high-mileage cars, suggesting a hard life. They will go on like this for a while, but clunks or rumbles are a definite no-no.

Suspension-wise, both standard (pre-1990) and active suspension should provide excellent ride quality. A well looked after car shouldn’t feel loose or sloppy, even over a poor surface. When they need replacing, the active dampers are very expensive, so haggle accordingly if this is required. Power steering is standard on all models. Leaks can occur from the pump, the rack and the connecting hoses. 


INTERIOR

 

It is unlikely you will find a car where the cabin has been mistreated, but look out for dirty leather, worn carpets and pedal rubbers, and untidy boot linings. All of these symptoms point to a car that hasn’t been treated with sufficient respect. Veneer door cappings and dash sections can fade due to sunlight, so avoid cracked or peeling varnish. Ensure exterior chrome isn’t pitted – the hefty, impact-absorbing bumpers should also be straight and free from scratches.

OUR VERDICT

Turbo Rs are complex machines, so seek expert advice both before and after you buy. Buying one privately can be worth the saving over a specialist dealer’s price, but you will be glad of a reputable trader’s guarantee should things go wrong. Rough examples can have a thirst for cash that’s bigger than their thirst for fuel. Get a good one, however, and it can be astonishing value for money. But be careful – once you’ve acquired a taste for the high life, you may find it hard to settle for anything less.

Recently Added

50731 1Sponsored Ad
2005
£13,999
4.4
  • 46,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1106856
RANGE ROVER VOGUE 4.4 V8 Petrol (ONLY 46,000mls) 2005 (Low Road Tax) This Very Rare RANGE ROVER V...
3
01483 315 194
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
£4,750
  • 85,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107501
Blue with blue and grey trim interior. full restoration approximately 15 years ago to a high stan...
0
07702004051
View details
1Sponsored Ad
1963
€32,500
1300 SPRINT
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1071803
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1300 Sprint
3
0043 7252 38080
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
1991
£6,950
SL
  • 99,856
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107429
Finished in Obsidian black with grey leather trim, previously owned by an engineer it is a credit...
0
07593080566
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
1932
£27,450
Plus Ultra Tourer
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1107503
Excellent and rare family sporting tourer
0
01296 622 770
View details
Lotelan003fSponsored Ad
1970
£POA
S4 SE FHC
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1095097
Purchased by myself last year as a "keeper". Sadly I have not used it anywhere near enough and a ...
10
01296 622 770
View details
Dsc 0526 editedSponsored Ad
1973
£274,950
GT Dino
  • 33,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1070724
Presented in Rosso Chiaro with Nero vinyl, Our Dino is in beautiful condition both inside and out.
12
01582 857940
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
1999
£Auction
Sport 135
  • 61,666
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1107502
Factory assembled rarity, one of 83.. 1999 Lotus Elise Sport 135 Registration Number: T930 JNC Ch...
0
+44(0)1963 363353
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
1966
£18,000
  • 84,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: DIY1107488
3 speed manual, power steering and finished in sapphire blue. Like new underneath and has had the...
0
07956957473
View details
A54df0ae 4e51 4dec ac84 4993ddaf8486Sponsored Ad
1999
£6,800
MERCEDES SL320
  • 76,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1106618
MoT July 2018, 3 owners, 76,000 miles, unmarked black leather seats. Very low miles, looks and dr...
20
07425737366
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale