24 Sep 2012

Mercedes C 55 AMG - secondhand bargain

In recent weeks the price of Mercedes C-class 55 AMG has started to nudge just under the £10,000 mark.

The C 55 AMG is a match for the BMW M3 in almost every aspect except those final few percentage points when a serious thrill is required.  In other words the C 55 AMG is more refined, more practical and has a classier presence than the M3 but when on track or full tilt along twisty back roads the M3 has the slight edge.

£10,000 will buy a 2006 C 55 AMG in saloon or estate form.  The 2006 model, the last of the W203 era, features the classic 5.4 litre V8 with 367bhp driven, naturally, though the rear wheels.

The estate will do 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and carry on to a, limited, 155mph.  The saloon does 0-62 in 4.9 seconds.  Transmission is via AMG's five speed Speedshift.

That's a serious chunk of performance car for not much money.  The C 55 AMG was a massive step up from the previous iteration of the C-class AMG, the C 32.  The C 55 had AMG has 20 percent stiffer springs, harder damping and a 14mm wider front track.

It also features quicker steering than the C 32 and the ESP has been modified for a sportier response.  Inside you get leather seats, a premium sound system and all the usual Mercedes and AMG trinkets.

And don't forget, the C 55 AMG was Formula 1's medical car in the mid-2000s.

If you are considering a six year old car like this make sure it comes with full service history - ideally by Mercedes-Benz for the first three years then a specialist independent for the last three years.

By 2006 Mercedes was starting to salvage it's reputation for rust and poor reliability but it is still worthwhile checking wheel arches, seams and bootlid for rust or blisters.

In summary this is a massive chunk of thunderous super saloon or estate that would be well worth the investment.  We would go for the estate version, which differentiates it from the ubiquitous M3.  With a private plate no-one would know you'd spent peanuts on one of the best, and fastest, estate cars on the planet.