What is it?
Few cars possess the sort grace exuded by the Mercedes SL. The 1950s W189 is the stuff of bedroom wall posters, the 1960s W113 'Pagoda' is stop-in-the-street gorgeous, the 1970s R107 is now deep in 'phwoar' territory and the 1990s R129 is getting prettier every day. We'll, er, gloss over the 2000s R230, shall we?
Mercedes found better form with its next one, though, this R231 - available from 2012 and facelifted earlier this year. We've already sampled the impressive entry-level V6 SL 400 on UK roads. This time we're driving the altogether more potent, AMG-fettled, twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 SL 63.
Unlike the 400, the 63 gains no extra oomph for 2016, but it didn't really need any more; a colossal 577bhp is still produced at 5500rpm. It does receive the range's other (minor) changes, though. These include a new headlight, grille and front bumper design, as well as a boot separator that now closes electrically rather than manually. I told you it was minor.
What's it like?
To return briefly to where we started, even in AMG guise the SL makes a superbly graceful cruiser, and one that seems inordinately classy. Sure, there'll be some cynical passers-by, but the SL evokes a more positive response from the general public than some of its obvious plush open-top GT rivals.
And AMG getting involved has done nothing to ruin said cruise. The 63's ride is a touch firmer than the 400's - as you'd hope and expect - but it's only the sharpest road-ruts that reveal the difference. Roof-down, which takes 18 seconds - and with highly recommended optional £525 wind deflector in place - the cabin remains brilliantly calm, even beyond 70mph.
But the 400 can do all of this. For your additional £40,000 you'd hope that AMG would added some magic. Happily, it has. Turning the rotary drive mode dial from Comfort through Sport to Sport+ firms the suspension, weights the steering, improves throttle response and alerts the gearbox, all in the name of enhanced performance and handling.
There's a brief pause while the V8's two turbos whine into life, before the SL 63 surges forward. Traction on, this is accompanied by a busy dash stability light. Traction off, and the 63's huge torque soon turns rubber to smoke. In both cases the standard sports exhaust spits furiously.