Digestible Collectible: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 2005 mercedes benz e55 amg

I’m not entirely sure why, but most products from Mercedes-Benz have never appealed to me. Perhaps the buttoned-down, staid appearance of the cars and their owners didn’t match my own self-image? Anyhow, I recall walking through various car shows as a kid, completely ignoring gorgeous vintage Pagodas and Fintails to admire leaking British roadsters.

The lack of manual transmissions is likely a factor. Even the spectacular SLS, SLR and AMG GT are missing a third pedal, a turn-off for me. And the one Mercedes that really appeals to me, the 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth, is not a realistic family ride.

And it’s with this attitude toward the Tri-Star that I turned on Netflix for some inspiration from three English buffoons who loved the AMG sedans for the massive, tire shredding power.

Today I bring you another in our “Imagine Chris Doesn’t Have to Pay For Gas Or Tires” series of bonkers sports sedans. This 2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG looks subtle from the curb, and with some badge removal would look even more demure. Upon ignition, however, there is no mistaking the big supercharged V-8.

How is reliability on these newer Benzes? I know there were some serious electrical problems on cars in the ’80s and ’90s. Were those issues generally sorted by the new Millennium? I’ve read the air suspension can be very expensive to repair, but I’d have to imagine that real shocks and springs could be retrofitted.

I’ve done a bit of research, and I can’t find any compelling reason why this is a bad idea. I’m sure I’ll be set straight shortly in the comments.

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8 of 69 comments
  • Shortest Circuit Shortest Circuit on Dec 24, 2015

    Good cars, those W211's. I'd buy one any day. One thing to watch out, is the rear light control module (SAM) - that's a finicky little bastard, can go bad on its own, and unless you find one with the same HW/SW version as the one already in the car, it is a giant pain in the ass to replace/recode.

    • MBella MBella on Dec 25, 2015

      It's not the hardware software level, but the coding. Many things have to be set correctly. You would have to find one out of an identical car to code it correctly. If you have a good Mercedes specialist it shouldn't cost you more than an two hours to have it swapped out. Luckily, in the case of these older car, they don't really fail anymore unless there is some outside influence like poor collision work causing a water leak.

  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Dec 24, 2015

    I had a 2003 for a few days when it was new. What a wonderful car. Super Luxury, very powerful, epic brakes. This is one of the automotive peaks of all time. One of the real good ones. It was very expensive new, but the price today is dirt cheap to my mind. I think this can only be because the people who have owned them from new are very wealthy and shrug with an exasperated sigh. To them it is an old car. The people who see them listed and are pussyfooting, just have no idea how good they are. I was offered one this past spring and I dillydallied and it was sold out under my nose for virtually nothing. I am still grieving.

    • See 1 previous
    • JD23 JD23 on Dec 24, 2015

      Why did you own it for a few days?

  • Salguod Salguod on Dec 25, 2015

    You could save $9K and step up to an S55: http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/5363690618.html 4 years older and 26K more miles, but you're way ahead saving for repairs to the already squatting air suspension.

    • MBella MBella on Dec 26, 2015

      That's a S430/S500 with exhaust tips and a AMG badges. S55s all had Active Body Control. If this has Airmatic, it's a normal non AMG car.

  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Dec 27, 2015

    Without getting into too much boring personal stuff, I will say that the owner later bought the V10 M5, but really that was a next generation car that is currently twice the price. For the "last of the V8 interceptors" E55, pay no more than $24. From memory, (as I'm sure you know) the E55/SL55 were some of the last hand built AMG engines from the independent tuner - before it was bought out and corporatized by Mercedes. The numbers don't show it, but this car has significantly more upper speed thump than the turbo 550. That car needs two more gears to barely hang with it- look at the top gear acceleration numbers. Consider that while a McLaren P1 supercar is doing 180 mph after 16 seconds, the E55 is doing 130 mph, and that is saying something!