Using the word agile when describing a limo feels like a stretch of the definition, like putting the unsuspecting word into chains and forcing it into some really heavy lifting. But actually, the Flying Spur V8, kitted out here with Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Control and rear-wheel-steer, it is at least more agile than you expect. The V8, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo unit, is 100kg lighter than the W12, the equivalent of removing all the crown jewels and Prince William, allowing for a much better weight distribution than its heavy-nosed sister. While that doesn’t mean a sprightly super sporting drive, it is nonetheless very rapid when it needs to be.
The sprint to 62mph is dismissed in 4.1 seconds, 100mph in 8.9 and the Flying Spur V8 will hit 198mph where you can. That’s despite it weighing in at 2,330kg, but that’s what 770Nm (558lb ft) of torque will do for you. That torque is available at 2,000rpm, although half of that is there from basically idle. The eight-speed ZF dual-clutch ‘box then distributes that around to all four wheels, and what is most impressive about sticking your foot to the floor in the Flying Spur is just how unfussed it is about the process. There’s barely a whiff of heave as the eight cylinders fire into action, all down to that aluminium suspension and air springs. It feels less like a punch in the back and more like when a big jet passenger plane hits the straps, a reassuring push to the back to let you know something is happening. Power, and it feels slightly gauche to talk of power here, is all concentrated at the top, 6,000rpm to be precise, but it really doesn’t matter as the torque curve is perfectly flat from 2,000-4,500 rpm, getting you up to speed before the engine’s power takes over.
Cornering is flat, as you would expect from a Bentley. Really, really flat, in a way that means the wheel barely weights up, but that’s not scary; it takes a couple of corners to get used to it, but in reality it’s more incredible than off-putting. Corner after corner and bump after bump is dismissed as if not there, massive potholes become mere humps as you glide along completely unperturbed by what’s going on around you. Of course it is entirely impossible to hide the Bentley’s size when it really comes down to it, but to be able to sprint along this fast in something this gargantuan is very impressive. Almost as impressive as the fact that, with the rear-wheel-steer, the turning circle is just 11.4m.