Home Car Reviews W210 Mercedes E55 AMG: Complete Overview

W210 Mercedes E55 AMG: Complete Overview

by Frank
1999 w210 mercedes e55 amg

The W210 Mercedes E55 AMG sedan really is as good as you’ve heard. I’ve owned two Mercedes E55 vehicles. The first w210 AMG was a 1999 in Obsidian Black, the second Mercedes e55 AMG was also a ’99, but in Brilliant Silver Metallic. This will be an extensive review of the 1999-2002 Mercedes Benz W210 E55 AMG from a previous owner’s perspective.

The W210 Mercedes-Benz E55 is, in my estimation, the best sports sedan ever to ride the surface of this earth-and a testament to the tuning acumen of AMG and the carmaking ability of Mercedes-Benz. In the long history of other great Mercedes-Benz super sedans (most recently, the fabulous C43, which has been generated ), the E55 raises the bar, this time to a brand new elevation. At least until the introduction of the 400-horse BMW M5 in the autumn of 1999, the E55 is the greatest.

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W210 Mercedes E55 AMG Review

The W210 Mercedes E55 AMG was sold from 1999 to 2002, though you might want to skip a 1999 model if it is in any way possible; updates for 2000 were substantial, and they turned the E55 into a far better car.

By now, 1999-2002 E55 AMG is the abandoned AMG: Everybody remembers the Porsche-built Mercedes 500E, which came before it (from 1992 to 1995), and everybody remembers the mad supercharged “W211” E55 version, which came after it, in 2003. But nobody actually remembers the one I had.

Even though the original W210 E55 was not as unique as the W124 500E or as quickly as the W211 E55 version that came after, it was tremendously understated, tremendously subtle, and free from all of the W211 E55 common problems.

There is no scroll wheel for the COMAND system. There is no radar cruise control, or finicky air suspension, or “active control.” There’s only a simple car that no one guesses is fast, with a naturally aspirated V8 that makes good power. Not enough for mad speeds by contemporary standards, but fast enough to actually have some legal pleasure.

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W210 Mercedes e55 AMG Specs

w210 e55 specs

At the core of the pleasure is the AMG-massaged 5.5-liter V-8, the biggest V-8 engine accessible in a Mercedes-Benz passenger car. Based on the new-generation 5.0-liter V-8 (which is otherwise not available from the E-Class), the AMG mill includes a long-stroke forged-steel crankshaft to improve displacement. Breathing improvements revised cam profiles, and other tweaks function to match the inherent goodness of the new SOHC twin-spark-plug-per-cylinder engine.

In comparison to the largest engine otherwise available from the E-Class, the 4.3-liter V-8 that comes standard in the E430-the power difference is dramatic. The smaller V-8 hits a peak of 275 horsepower at 5750 rpm, while the E55 puts down 349 horses at a more relaxed 5500 rpm. The torque increase is more, rising from 295 pound-feet at 3000 rpm to 391 at exactly the same rpm.

Seeing as how the E55’s overall weight creeps up by about 40 lbs, the fat dyno curve has a predictably dramatic effect on the W210 E55’s power-to-weight ratio. Various road tests showed ranges of 0-60 mph times in 4.8-5.3 minutes and quarter-mile times in 13.3-13.5 seconds at approximately 105-107 mph.

Partially completed E-Class sedans with special interiors and bodywork roll off the regular Sindelfingen assembly line in Germany, they’re delivered to AMG (where Mercedes-Benz has a developing ownership interest) in neighboring Affalterbach for modification. After AMG pops in the 5.5-liter V-8 engine and extensive work is completed to brakes and suspension, the cars return to Sindelfingen for ultimate quality checks and transport. The W210 Mercedes E55 AMG is a full-size Mercedes-Benz version, not a tuner car, so it is serviced like any other Mercedes-Benz.

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E55 Driving Dynamics

driving dynamics

Mash the throttle to the floor one time, and the only numbers you are going to be thinking about are additional points on your driving record. If you have got the traction control switched off, the W210 E55 will enthusiastically light the huge back 275 tires, laying down twin stripes that will stretch deep into 2nd gear.

With this much power on tap, a measure of restraint would be your best approach to maintaining if you want to keep this car driving in a straight line. If you’re smooth on the power, the E55 catapults off the line, and the slick five-speed automatic clicking off perfect gear changes as the speedo races towards that little peg. It’s a rush you can get used to real quick.

The list of highly desirable automobiles that can not keep up with this E55 at a 0-60-mph game reads like a who’s who of what is what. The much-loved Jaguar XJR can just muster a 5.2-second clocking, nearly a half-second slower compared to the E55’s 4.8-ticks, but a brand new Porsche 911 is slower, also. A ’65 427 Shelby Cobra and the Ferrari F355 F1 are only two-tenths of another quicker than the E55.

W210 Mercedes E55 Interior Features

w210 mercedes e55 interior

Special items were AMG exclusive “Condor” leather, black birdseye maple interior wood trim, AMG monoblock staggered 18-inch wheels and tires, AMG sport suspension, AMG brakes, AMG/Avantgarde front and back body aprons with “dynamic” side skirts, AMG body casing modification, HID xenon headlights, Avantgarde fog lamps, heated multi-contour AMG sport seats with memory and power, multifunction computer, automatic climate control system, Bose premium audio system, power tilt, and telescoping leather-covered AMG multifunction sport steering wheel, power glass sunroof, power rear sunshade, and blue glass. The majority of these products were standard in North American models.

Options available: Power adjustable front seats, power tilt & telescoping leather-covered AMG sport steering wheel, leather upholstery, leather shift knob, 5-speed automatic transmission, Brake Assist System (BAS), Electronic Stability System (ESP), automatic climate control with charcoal filter, heated front seats, heated rear seats, front and side airbags, power windows, metallic paint, xenon HID headlamps. Most of the options were standard in North America.

E55 Reliability Concerns

Some known W210 Mercedes E55 AMG issues include:

  • front spring perch has corroded and ripped off from the inner fender, causing the front suspension to collapse
  • faulty harmonic balancer pulleys (recall)
  • rust on the back lid near the latch
  • rust on Mercedes logo on the front hood
  • rust on door frames beneath window seals (recall)
  • rust on front fenders just above the bumper
  • faulty mass air flow meter
  • melted backlight bulb sockets
  • faulty blower motor regulators
  • and rear window regulator failures

Final Thoughts

I still love these cars. I think I should have never sold my silver W210 Mercedes E55 AMG for a 1995 Corvette (nice car by the way). The good news is you can find Mercedes-Benz w210 e55 AMG for sale on websites like Autotrader.com and eBay Autos.

I took a quick look and at the time of this writing, you can pick up a very nice first-generation E55 for about $9,000 to $11,000 dollars. That’s not bad if you really like these cars and are in the market. It would literally only take a stereo upgrade to give you all the tech you want. And if you got a 2002 model with factory navigation, you could swap that out for an Apple CarPlay head unit, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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