You’d imagine then that such a large car would feel heavy and cumbersome? Well it is heavy, weighing in at 2,437kg, but cumbersome? Hardly. The Flying Spur has a twin-turbo W12 with 635PS (626bhp) and 900Nm of torque, the largest front brakes fitted to any car in the world, four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steering, an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, air suspension and electronic anti-roll bars. This is no bus.
On paper the Flying Spur’s performance stats are mind-blowing. But when accelerating, the usual tell-tale signs of speed are quieter than you’d imagine. The W12 is audible but not shouty, and there’s very little wind or tyre noise. Just a heavy kick in the back.
The ride isn’t quite as soft as that of a Rolls-Royce but, as a Bentley, it really shouldn’t be – it should be quiet and composed, but ready to give the road a good kicking when necessary. It does that brilliantly, removing all but the sharpest road imperfections with ease.
The new Flying Spur has four drive modes, namely Sport, B (for Bentley, as you might imagine, and the default mode on start-up), Comfort and Custom, all of which affect the air suspension, the gearbox, the engine response and torque distribution. For the long-distance cruise you’ll want Comfort, for the relaxed drive over mixed roads you’ll want B, and for the times when you want the car most awake you’ll want Sport.
For a car this large and this heavy the Flying Spur should not be able to stop or steer anywhere near as well as it does. There are times when that weight is apparent, when the ten-piston calipers and 420mm front discs really have to prove their worth, but there’s a bite right at the top of the brake pedal that really reassures and the electronic anti-roll bars keep the Flying Spur flatter than you’d expect. The gearbox is mighty impressive, too, moving up and down through the ratios with lightening speed, although the trade-off is an occasional jumpiness at manoeuvring speeds.
Four-wheel-drive lets you steam out of corners without worrying about anything, but the miracle worker is the four-wheel-steering system. At speed you have stability, and at normal speeds you have a much more usable car than a first glance would lead you to believe. As mundane as it’ll sound, the turning circle at low speeds is exceptional and feels quite spooky. (The turning circle of a Honda Civic is 11.3m, while the turning circle of a Flying Spur is 11.05m…)