The SLS wasn’t the best-handling sports car of its type, and the GT S isn’t, either. But both cars were created very much in the same highly strung, harum-scarum vein, their rationale being: “If you can’t beat ’em, you’d better leave a lasting impression.” And the GT does that.

Its handling is unapologetically and uncompromisingly flat, firm, grippy and direct. The car cleaves into corners with a keenness that’s rare even among its sports car rivals.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
I find it hard to believe, but AMG offers an even stiffer suspension tune than our test car's

It disdains body roll – or any kind of lost directional energy or momentum, really – and its remarkable agility comes as much from its razor-sharp cornering balance as its outright lateral grip or the gearing of its steering.

Driving this car quickly on the road means peeling your eyelids back and dialling your concentration levels up to 11. That hyper-responsive wheel offers just enough feedback at the straight-ahead to keep the car from feeling nervous on the road, although it doesn’t escape by much.

And yet both off and on-centre, the steering is in serious need of greater confidence-inspiring weight and feedback. The firm springing makes the helm react to every medium-sized bump that the front wheels cross, and this, on a really testing B-road, can challenge your capacity to guide the car smoothly and with total precision. Want exciting? You’ve found it all right.

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The ride is short and staccato. It’s slightly less aggressive when the softer damping modes are selected, but no less busy. Long-wave undulations hardly disturb the level of the body at all, but when the road’s topography turns particularly savage, the suspension often becomes skittish, as tyres part company with the road surface and impacts thump through that spaceframe chassis.

This isn’t a refined car. In fact, it’s perhaps the least refined in a segment increasingly preoccupied with everyday usability. Despite the lightness of its controls, it isn’t easy to drive, either – and it’s certainly no delicate flower.

It’s old-school and route one but, on the right road, also wildly dramatic and enthralling. Whether you can live with it the rest of the time is up to you.

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