10k: 2001 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG
The Mercedes-Benz W210 chassis was sold under the E-class name from 1995-2002. Mercedes offered some pedestrian luxury barge versions with V6 engine- but the real car to get was the $70k “sledgehammer to a knife fight” E55 AMG. Elegant comfort was replaced with menacing speed and this 2001 E55 AMG is available in Patterson, NJ for $11,750 (via ebay).
The E55 was a $20k upgrade cost to the standard E320 when new and included a brutish V8, stiffened and lowered suspension, big brakes, big wheels & an aerodynamic body kit. There was a 6-speed manual transmission available in Europe – but it never made it to North America – and this car is equipped with a 5 speed slushbox automatic.
The heart of the beast is a 5.5 liter aluminum-alloy V8 producing 349 hp and 391 ft-lbs of torque – enough to propel the 3800 lb sled from 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds and to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. But AMGs have never been about launches and speed stats – and more about endless torque that crushes passengers backside into the plush leather seats while listening to the aural crescendo of the dual overhead cam V8.
The steering wheel is connected to a power assisted rack-and-pinion steering system – a welcome change from the previous generation steering box setup that had steering feedback akin to a horse drawn wagon. Inside, well appointed leather and pre-DaimlerChrysler designed and sourced interior is both nice and mostly trouble free. These cars may have been produced during the DC dark ages – but they were designed when Mercedes wasn’t willing to trade its brand built on quality and reliability in exchange for a marketing weeny’s promise of more volume.
For the fraction of the cost of a new Mercedes, this 106k mile Mercedes can produce righteous burnouts and field-plowing-understeer or calmly drive the kids to day care…your choice.
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