Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

A 125kg weight penalty over the GT coupé means the Flying Spur is fractionally slower against the clock, but the difference is so insignificant as to be undetectable from the driving seat. This is an absurdly fast way of transporting four-people and luggage around, plus it's more than capable of humiliating all but the very quickest of supercars. 0-60mph takes just 4.9 seconds, around half the time needed by most family saloons.

And because the Bentley has a proper automatic gearbox all you have to do is flatten the accelerator to extract every last one of the available 552bhp rustled up by the 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12. Paddles are fitted behind the steering wheel to let you change gears at will, but with massive amounts of pulling power available, much of it spread evenly throughout the rev range, there's absolutely no need.

No matter how fast you're travelling, a tickle of throttle sends the Bentley hurtling forward.

If the way the Spur accelerates is surprising given its demure exterior lines, then so is the way it handles, unless you've already driven a Continental GT or GTC that is. There's no disguising the car's mammoth 2.5-tonne girth though. It would be silly to expect it to be as nimble as a 3-series saloon with so much wood, leather and metal to move about.

But the Bentley has a good go, serving up taut body control and meaty if not overly communicative steering, yet manages to ride well too. So much power in a rear-wheel drive saloon – and some rivals try to put nearly 100bhp more through the rear wheels – can send the stability control light berserk, but though the Spur has stability control as standard, it's simply never needed in road driving thanks to the traction of its four-wheel drive system.

You can deploy every last drop of performance without worrying about coming unstuck.