Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

There’s just one engine and one gearbox available but don’t let that fool you into thinking that Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG performance is anything less than breath-taking.

It has a 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine which makes 416bhp and 540Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. That means that if you bury your foot into the carpet the engine responds with a huge surge of power, and 62mph flashes by in 4.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

The gearbox is a seven-speed automatic and can be operated in a trio of modes. Comfort is a cruising configuration which offers lazier gear changes for a more serene driving experience. Sport sharpens things up, holding onto the revs for longer and thus offering better performance. It also changes gears much quicker in Sport. The final piece of the puzzle is Manual mode, which allows the driver to change gear via the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

Another aspect which is worth mentioning is that noise. In a departure from modern trends, this car doesn’t have any turbochargers to boost its efficiency. The net result is a distinctive roar which at times sounds quite ludicrously loud. It really makes you grin, and is very much what this car is all about.

Although undoubtedly a decent car to drive through corners, the main issue the SLK 55 AMG suffers with is its main rival. The Porsche Boxster eclipses the Mercedes mightily, which means cracks in the latter’s armour are all the more obvious.

Thanks to its rear-wheel drive nature it’s responsive and well-balanced, but lacks the outright engagement of the Porsche which means it lacks finesse too. With the heavy steering and fairly hefty kerb weight the AMG car feels brutal to drive quickly, and when combined with that engine it feels more akin to a sledgehammer than a scalpel.

As with many cars these days, you get a variable traction- and stability-control system which allows you to adjust the amount of intervention such systems provide. Activating AMG Sport mode means you’ll have more headroom for tail-out action, while turning it off altogether unleashes the full terror of such a huge engine in a relatively small car with rear-wheel drive. If you turn the systems off, you’ll need to be both on top of your game and hopefully off the public road – tyre smoke is a given.