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Those who demand extremely high levels of performance and luxury in the innocuous body of an E-Class sedan won't be disappointed with this blazing Benz.
Bottomless reserves of power, passive/aggressive personality, roomy and comfortable interior.
High price, optional COMAND system, no manual transmission.
Available E55 AMG Sedan Models
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Though it might not look different, the E55 AMG receives the same substantial freshening for 2000 that other E-Class models get, which includes an entirely new front end and a revised interior. A multifunction steering wheel debuts, and TeleAid, a cellular emergency service, comes with the package for 2000.
Seventy grand will buy plenty of sedans these days. Buyers shopping in this stratosphere can select from prestigious and powerful models from Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Some of these exclusively priced executive cars boast more luxury than performance, while others can coddle but are primarily focused on transporting people and their goods at warp speed.
Examples of this latter breed include the upcoming BMW M5, the rapidly aging Jaguar XJR, and the subject of this tale, the AMG-massaged Mercedes-Benz E55. What makes the E55 AMG special and worth a premium over the less expensive E430? How does 349 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque from a 5.5-liter V8 grab you? That's 74 more ponies and 96 more lb-ft of twist than the rightfully quick E430 spins out, and the result of all that thrust is incredibly rapid transit. From a standstill, 60 mph comes up in just 5.4 seconds, and the E55 AMG keeps pulling strong well into triple-digit territory, topping out at an electronically limited 155 mph.
But the E55 AMG isn't just fast. It handles too. The double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspensions are beefed up with thicker solid stabilizer bars for a flatter cornering stance. Gigantic 18-inch ultra-performance tires are mounted to purposeful AMG Monoblock alloy wheels. Power rack-and-pinion steering is responsive, but no more so than the more pedestrian E430. Like other 2000 E-Class models, the E55 AMG is equipped with standard ABS and BrakeAssist working through massive vented discs front and rear. All-speed traction control keeps the rear wheels from setting themselves afire during quick starts, and stability control keeps you on the straight and narrow if you get in over your head.
A Touch Shift automanual transmission can't really substitute for the thrill of rowing your own gears, but with the abundant luxury exhibited by the E55 AMG’s cabin, this is actually OK. Standard gear includes the usual upscale fare found on lower-level E-Class models, and adds niceties such as power sunroof, multi-adjustable sport seats dressed in unique two-tone premium leather, black birds eye maple wood trim, and an automatic climate-control system with active charcoal filter and smog sensor. New for 2000 is TeleAid, which can summon help in the event of a medical emergency or accident, but don't bother the live operator for excuses to get out of speeding tickets when a black-and-white has you on the shoulder of your favorite twisting canyon road. And this will happen, eventually.
Skip the optional COMAND system, which groups navigation, stereo, trip computer and integrated telephone functions into a single, difficult to understand unit operated using a small dash-mounted screen. COMAND is confusing, and distracts the driver from the task at hand. Get yourself a good atlas of the U.S. and the newly optional StarTAC digital cell phone with voice-recognition technology.Deceptively fast, with exceptional handling and astounding braking, the E55 AMG is the Benz for those who love to drive. But the competition has enticing, though not as exclusive, sedans at this price too. Pick wisely.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.