∙Brilliant performance estate
Back in the late 1990s Mercedes had the rapid estate genre completely sewn up – BMW didn’t offer the contemporary M5 as a Touring model and while Audi had dabbled with the genre it was yet to unleash the RS6 Avant on the world. No, if you wanted an obscenely fast machine that was capable of hauling the family and their luggage swiftly and securely to the south of France you needed to beat a path to Mercedes’ door.
In 1998 Mercedes launched the E55 AMG, based on the W210 incarnation of the E-Class. Available as both a saloon and an estate it was an absolute masterpiece and the last of the AMG models where much of the car was built at AMG’s HQ in Affalterbach. Under the bonnet was a 5.4-litre version of Mercedes’ M113 V8 and with a single overhead cam for each bank and three-valves per cylinder it produced 354hp and 391 lb ft of torque – enough for a sub six-second 0-62mph time. And, of course, it sounded absolutely divine.
The example we have here is finished in Brilliant silver with a black leather interior and dates from 1998, having been registered in November that year. It would appear to have been based in the east London area having been serviced at Lancaster Bow and Mercedes-Benz Stratford before moving on to the Dorset area where it was serviced by German car specialists Autotechnics.
In total it has had just three owners in its 23-year life, with the last one acquiring the car in February 2019. He has subsequently part-exchanged the car with a North London classic car specialist who are now selling the E55.
The E55 comes with its original handbook folder complete with the correct owner’s manuals and serviced booklet. The service book details services at the following mileages – 13,706, 21,227, 31,662, 43,584, 72,645, 75,502, 87,794 and 95,056. In the last few years it’s led a relatively pampered existence covering just a handful of miles each year.
As well as the book pack and stamped service book there are a number of MoT certificates to accompany the E55 dating from 2006 to 2020 inclusive with just the 2014 document missing. The current MoT expires on 15 November 2021. There is a V5C in the previous owner’s name.
Inside the AMG really is very well appointed with all the extras you’d expect from a top of the range car. The black leather is in good condition and the seats are comfortable and supportive and their electric adjustment works as it should. The door trim panels are in good order as are the carpets and the headlining. The dashboard is in good condition and all the switchgear is present and when tested everything appeared to work as it should with the air conditioning blowing cold air.
The boot area is in good order with no visible damage to the carpeting. The first aid kit and warning triangle are present as is the spare wheel. The load cover still operates as it should although there is some marking to the roller cover holder mounted to the top of the rear seats. This also contains a luggage net which operates correctly.
Externally the majority of the paintwork still looks resplendent and the door shuts are tight and consistent with all the doors closing with a reassuring ‘thunk’. There are some blemishes to the paintwork with some scratching to the bumpers and some blistering here and there.
The 18-inch Monobloc alloy wheels are a classic design and set the car off perfectly – there is some kerb rash evident and there is a little bubbling to the paint here and there. They’re shod with a set of Pirelli P Zero tyres which all have a decent depth of tread remaining.
From what we could see of the underside of the vehicle it would appear to be in a solid condition.
The AMG V8 starts with a characteristic V8 rumble and sounds absolutely superb. It idles and runs cleanly and at town speeds sounds to be in fine fettle, pulling cleanly with the automatic transmission swapping cogs smoothly. Under the bonnet everything would appear to be in order from a visual inspection.
The Mercedes E55 AMG Estate is without a doubt one of the finest concoctions to have emerged from Stuttgart – devastatingly rapid yet with deft handling for when you want to make swift progress on the backroads, but equally cosseting when on a cruise. There are very few machines from this period that could offer the same sort of performance with equivalent levels of practicality. And the E55 does all this with one of the best soundtracks to have graced our roads.
This example would appear to have been well looked after during its life and mechanically it seems in fine fettle. One or two areas on the body do require a small amount of attention if it was going to be returned to the sort of condition as it left the factory but once it’s been tidied up it should provide many more years of service thanks to Mercedes’ reputation for engineering integrity. As an affordable yet entertaining family wagon it really has very few, if any, peers.
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