If you didn’t already know as much, it takes barely a moment’s rotation of the GT’s forged crankshaft to make you realise you’re not about to experience a typical modern sporting drive.
The engine’s woofling, deep soundtrack is lavish and enticing. At times it sounds like a powerboat gargling gently out of dock, at others like an angry Welsh baritone in a rugby crowd.
Either way, that delicious, varied tonality is the first major clue that this long-nosed two-seater is no ordinary super-sports car. Rather, it’s a complex, occasionally flawed but always enigmatic mix of out-and-out dynamic thriller, sporting throwback, hot rod muscle car, track-day special and grand touring coupé – all rolled into one.
Getting a permanent hit of charisma from that V8 is, you soon realise, an absolute must – and that means activating the bi-modal exhaust’s Sport mode whenever possible. It is misguided to imagine that deactivating it makes the GT’s cabin any quieter when you’re cruising. The vast majority of the noise filtered in (and there’s plenty) stems from the suspension and tyres.
The car’s raw speed is considerable but perhaps not the outstanding selling point, among £120,000 sports cars, that AMG would have you believe. Just as the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, new Audi R8 V10 Plus and even the latest Nissan GT-R offer more headline power than the GT, so, too, will they accelerate at a rate that the AMG has no answer for.
There again, where classic front-engined, rear-driven competition is concerned, neither a Jaguar F-Type R Coupé nor an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S will match the GT S until well into three-figure speeds.
That the car feels blisteringly fast is, of course, assured. Throttle response is good enough that you seldom notice any lag at all, and the car is ready and raring from low revs and still pulling hard above 6000rpm, with the redline not intervening until 7000rpm. AMG’s launch control system works well – something you couldn’t say of the SLS’s equivalent – and its brakes are toweringly powerful.
The one caveat with the brakes is that pedal feel with the optional carbon-ceramics still isn’t brilliant.