C55 AMG Review

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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c55 amg review

I swear I had no intention of performing a drifting demonstration outside my step-daughter's school gates. In a prior attempt to gain a little mid-corner throttle control, I'd switched off the computerized handling Nanny. And then forgot all about it. So when I attempted to merge with the after-camp traffic, I suddenly found myself laying down a good 20 feet of rubber, in a decidedly sideways fashion.

Needless to say, that was not an example of driving in the traditional Mercedes manner. One wafts in one's Merc. But let's face facts: the C-Class appeals to a younger, thrustier demographic. Turning a plain Jane C into a demented German hot rod can't piss away the model's air of emotionally reserved exclusivity– it never had any in the first place. So it's damn the brand, full speed ahead!

And speed there is, aplenty. The C55 holsters a 5.5-liter V8. The heavily modified powerplant generates a staggering 349hp, accompanied by an equally epic 376ft.-lbs. of torque at 4000rpms. Translation: AMG's mini-Merc is never, ever short of grunt. Grunt as in shove. Shove as in The Hand of God smacking you in the ass and sending you on your merry way.

To put some numbers to it, zero to 60 takes 4.9 seconds, with a top end well beyond the 155mph electronic speed limiter. To put an image to it, my impromptu tail sliding came complete with expletives and opposite lock.

LOTS of opposite lock. Despite its enormous accelerative abilities and diminutive footprint, the Mercedes C55 is no track-honed BMW M3. It's a muscle car writ small. The C55's rack-and-pinion steering system offers a leisurely 3.3 turns from lock-to-lock. The fact that you can have any gearbox you like so long as it's an automatic confirms the car's "horsepower uber alles" bias.

Of course, AMG has done their level best to make the C55 corner its level best. Affalterbach's satanic mechanics have modified and tuned the C's multi-link suspension to create firm, flat and fair cornering. The car hunkers down on seriously sticky 18" Pirelli P-Zero low profile tires. And its enlarged perforated brakes are almost powerful enough to stop time itself.

Put it all together and you've got a German pocket rocket that can negotiate bends at fantastic speeds with only a trace of initial body roll. Oh, and one small concern: that flashing triangle on the speedo warning you that power and grip are going their separate ways. Again, you can disable the death defying gizmo, steer with your right foot and take your chances. But even then, the computer retains the right to have the last say (excepting your insurance company). Trust me, it's no bad thing.

The comfort penalty exacted by this elevated body control is not as large as you'd think– at least until you crash into your first pothole. In fact, the C55's duality, its ability to cruise serenely yet mug a corner and murder a straight, raises an important question. Why the Hell aren't all Mercedes AMG?

The query comes into sharp focus the moment you lower yourself into the car's cabin. Unlike most modern MB products, the C55's cockpit is superbly constructed. From the meaty satisfaction of the leather-wrapped steering wheel, to the way the glove box lid snicks home, the controls and amenities feel like those found in Mercs of old: precise and durable. The doors shut with the time-honored bank vault thunk.

The fit and finish is far better than we've come to expect; especially considering the fact that the donor car is sold largely on the basis of its reasonable monthly payments. Rattles and squeaks are notable only by their absence. The Nappa leather seats are only slightly softer than an Amish church pew, but let's chalk that one up to low mileage. Like the rest of the car– especially the monster engine– you get the impression that the C55's chairs will only improve with age.

Unfortunately, the taste police failed to patrol the perimeter. While I'm a big fan of AMG's current wheels– they signal the car's mechanical strength with complete clarity of purpose– I'm not so sure about the rest of the body mods. The C55's side skirts, boot spoiler, meshed grill, etc. smack of back street tuning. An owner aspiring to The Fast and Furious look would have to do… nothing much. The car wash guys love it, but it doesn't say $55k to me.

Yes, that's right, $55k. That's a whole lot of money to pay for a car that looks like a car that costs $27k. The depreciation must be killer. Yes, but… for some of us, driving a dull car depreciates the soul. Get behind the wheel of the Mercedes Benz C55 and I guarantee you'll live fast and die old.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting#cite_note-auto-1][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriorshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ting
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.
  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.