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New Car Review - 2005 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG


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SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Mercedes-Benz

By Andrew Frankl

I’ve just said good-bye to a truly great automobile, the C55 AMG. To a casual observer it is just another C class Merc but boy oh boy, are they in for a surprise! Coming home on 101 a somewhat over-excited young man caught up with me and decided to follow about 10 inches from my bumper. Not for long as I floored the 5439 cc hand built V8 and within seconds his Subaru was just a tiny spec on the horizon.

For the uninitiated I should explain that AMG-now fully owned by Daimler/Chrysler is the company’s answer to BMW’s M range. Quite how they will fare against Munich’s brand new V10 engine M5 remains to be seen but what an exciting comparison that is going to be!

The 2005 C class in not cheap at 60 big ones and you have to be a. wealthy and b. a keen driver. There is absolutely no point in getting it if you’ll never exceed 55 miles per hour, in fact they shouldn’t even sell it you because it would be such a waste.

AMGs are in limited production and in a perfect World each and every one should go to someone who can appreciate them.

The handling is outstanding, the Pirelli P Zeroes are the same that are fitted to Ferraris and Lamborghinis, the acceleration is mind-blowing and the comfort-for four people is fine. Not great in the back but perfectly adequate and the trunk swallowed two huge golf bags with ease and all in all there is little to complain about.

There are silly little niggles...the back of the seat might be too hard for some drivers and the instruments are so-so. The –speedometer and rev counter are fine but the others are hard to see. Dark grey dials on a black background are not what this great car deserves.

Last but not least there are some people who don’t think that there is a connection between everyday cars and racing cars...they are flat wrong.

The C55 is a classic example of how racing improves the breed. In Germany touring car racing is huge and many of the C55’s components were developed there. For Formula One fans the biggest thrill will of course be the paddle shifts under the steering wheel. Although on the C55 these are not exactly paddle shaped the function of the two levers is still the same- up changing on the right and down changing on the left. Or for the lazy ones there is always good old “D”. A great car, a perfect substitute for a 911 for someone who does not want to give up the thrill but has to make allowances for the children.

Mercedes have had some quality problems in the States, I must say that the C55 never missed a beat, went like a train, well, actually more like an express and I was really sorry to see it go.