Under the swoopy bodywork lies a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 engine that dishes out 517bhp as standard, and 549 when you’ve got the £6500 Performance Pack fitted, as our car did.
What’s it like to drive? As you’d expect with more than 500bhp at your beck and call, acceleration varies from startling to vaguely unsettling. That’s because the AMG gains speed incredibly quickly, and the rate at which it does so doesn’t tail off much the faster you go. Keep the throttle pinned for more than, say, eight seconds, and you will not pass Go, will not collect £200.
The adjustable suspension is best left in Comfort for 95% of the time. It’s firm enough to ensure that there’s no unseemly pitching and rolling from the body, but comfortable enough to isolate you from the worst of roads. When the opportunity comes for you to try a bit harder, you need hit the Sport button on the centre console only once to firm it up a touch; it keeps everything perfectly well controlled and doesn’t render the ride intolerable. You can firm things up even more, but there’s really no point.
The steering is perfectly easy and accurate, if a bit mute, and although the brakes are strong, they could do with being a bit sharper when you brush the pedal.
What’s it like inside? In short, sumptuous. Everything you look at and touch has a feeling of deep quality, and even the bits you don’t often touch, such as the lower area of the dash and the seats, feel good.
The front seats are active, so move to hold you in corners. For example, go round a left-hander and the right-hand backrest bolster inflates to support you, and vice-versa in right-handers. It’s highly effective. That styling does compromise the view out slightly; over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t great when you’re changing lanes.
Should I buy one? This is a car that can cover the ground at huge speed, and is something in which you could do a great many miles, albeit punctuated by frequent fuel stops. The official average is 28.5mpg, but we struggled to hit 20.
Other running costs are suitably hefty, but if you’re in the market for one of these you probably don’t need to worry about such things. If that’s the case, you should definitely buy one: it’s superb.
What Car? says