Why buy a C55?

Why buy a $55,000 C55 ( 362 HP )when you can get a $40,000 Chrysler 300 SRT8 ( 430 HP ), which is effectively the previous E class with a big engine and a muscle shirt.
The only rational I can think of is some people prefer small and nimble.
http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/2005/01/24/cx_cd_0124test.html
Forbes.com
Test Drives 2005 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG Charles Dubow
Overview There is a joke among people who work at Mercedes-Benz that the three most powerful words in the car business are: AMG.
Besides the obvious dig at longtime rival BMW, the punch line has merit. AMG, which is the high-performance line of Mercedes, is one of the fastest-growing and most successful divisions within DaimlerChrysler (nyse: DCX - news - people ). It was founded in 1967 in a garage in the German town of Groaspach by two Daimler engineers, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, who were moonlighting, turning regular Mercedes cars into hot rods. (The name AMG comes from the first letters of their two last names, plus the first letter of the town.)
After entering, and winning, many major road races over two decades, AMG began officially teaming up with Mercedes. By the early 1990s, the team entered into a formal contract with Daimler to build both race cars and also to develop high-performance passenger cars. Their first successful effort was the limited production Mercedes C36 AMG, which boasted 276 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 284 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. It was also capable of going from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds and had a top speed of 155 mph.
The original C36 was the precursor of the 2005 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG, the subject of this review. But first a bit more history: By 1997 more than 5,000 C36 AMGs were being produced. In addition, Mercedes' E-Class model line had its own AMG, the E50, which had been introduced the previous year. These were closely followed by the C43 AMG and E 55 AMG. Today, there are 12 AMG models across every Mercedes product line--if you count the CLS55, which is coming to market in early 2005--with the exception of the A-Class, which is not currently available in the U.S.
It was the E55 that put AMG on the map in the U.S., becoming the first AMG car that sold in good volume to Mercedes' traditional customer base. That success had much to do with the formal acquisition of AMG by DaimlerChrysler in 1999. AMG has gone from being a tuner car to a factory-made, street-legal race car--complete with AMG's 600 employees and 45 master engine builders capable of producing three engines per day, as well as service, parts and a full warranty.
Unlike some high-end performance lines, AMG has been a success despite its high prices. According to Rob Allan, product manager for AMG, in 2003, the last year for which full data are available, one in 20 of all Mercedes coming into the U.S. was an AMG; 11,000 AMG models were sold, accounting for 5% of all U.S. sales.
Clearly, AMG seems to be a hit for Mercedes, and, as anyone who has ever had the pleasure of driving one of these cars can attest, it is not hard to figure out why. The C55, like all AMGs, is not only wickedly fast thanks to its special engine and drivetrain but is also fitted out with unique bodywork and alloy wheels, as well as specific performance-oriented interior equipment.
The C55, which has a MSRP of $54,620 (including destination charges), costs--also like all AMGs--considerably more than the regular C-Class Sedans, the most expensive of which is the $38,070 C320 Sport Sedan. Is it worth the extra bucks for the extra rush? Read on to find out.
Even though the speedometer goes up to 200, in the U.S. the C55 is electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph.

recognize any significant differences between the interior of the C55 and that of any other C-Class sedan. The controls for the power seats are still on the side of the door, the three-pointed star still adorns the center of the steering wheel, and the fit and finish still ooze Mercedes quality.
But then you notice certain touches and design cues that let you know this is not your run-of-the-mill Benz (not that there's anything run of the mill about them either, in point of fact). Below the speedometer, for example, is the AMG logo. Look closer and you will also see that the speedometer also goes all the way up to 200. A dead giveaway, if there ever was one.
Then you will notice the AMG-design Nappa leather upholstery with Alcantara shoulder inserts that are, while luxurious, just a little more tightly sprung, as befits a performance car. Then let your right hand wander down to the center console, and you will find that the usual gear box has been replaced by the AMG SportShift. This five-speed automatic shift provides 35% faster gear changes and prevents automatic downshifting while braking and upshifting while cornering.
It also lets you select between three different modes, "M" (manual), "C" (comfort) and "S" (standard), which let drivers select the performance level they want. Particularly fun is the Formula 1-style shifting buttons on the back of the steering wheel for those moments when it's really not a good idea to take your hands off the wheel.
While some people may complain that this is not a true manual transmission, Mercedes is about nothing if not providing its customers with the driving experience they want. If some people buy the AMG for its sex appeal alone but don't really have an interest in exploiting its awesome horsepower, that's fine. They will be very happy with the C mode. However, if you want the manual experience, and all that entails, it will be hard to find fault with the M mode. (Of course, if you haven't ever used SpeedShift before, make sure your dealer shows you how before you drive off the lot. It can be pretty confusing.)
All AMG seats are sport-tuned and slick looking.
The point of the C55, and indeed of any AMG model, is the fact that this is not a car intended for anything else other than going really fast. Sure, it looks nice, but if what you need is a car to commute to work in or to retrieve the kiddies from school, why spend all that extra money? After all, a non-AMG Mercedes is still pretty special.
What makes the C55 so special is its 362-hp, 5,439-cubic-centimeter, SOHC 24-valve, 90-degree V8 engine made out of a high-pressure, die-cast alloy cylinder block that is capable of 376 pound-feet of torque @4,000 rpm. This allows the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds, which is as fast as the Maserati Spyder Cambiocorsa and Panoz Esperante, both of which retail for more than $90,000. Not bad for a car that weighs 3,540 pounds.
Of course, how fast you go is only as important as how quickly you can slow down. Mercedes has given the C55--and all AMGs--a dynamically handling control system composed of an anti-lock braking system, the braking assistant, the ASR acceleration skid control system and the ESP Electronic Stability Program, as well as AMG-enhanced, dual-circuit, power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes on new 18-inch, AMG light-alloy, double-spoke wheels. This also allows for a near-intuitive braking function that, for example, automatically applies the right amount of braking pressure when the car goes into a tight turn.
In short, the C55 is a blast to drive.
The C55, like all AMGs, doesn't look that different from a normal Mercedes. Should You Buy This Car? To the casual observer, with it understated but distinctive lower-body work and markings, the C55 AMG doesn't particularly look like a $50,000 performance car. That is part of its charm. This is not some tricked-out road rocket with racing stripes and a spoiler poking out of the hood. This is more about subtle power. Like a black belt who only reveals his prowess when it is absolutely necessary.
Some people may want more flash, of course, but it is clear that AMG is becoming increasingly popular--at least if an informal survey of Manhattan's streets are anything to judge by.
Now, if we were to voice a criticism regarding the C55, we would have to zero in on two issues: size and price. The C55 is not the smallest performance car on the market, but while the front seat is quite comfortable even for tall drivers, the rear is pretty tight, even though it's the same size as the regular C-Class sedans. It's big enough for kids or even a dog, but is the C55 really the kind of car you should be driving when children are in the back? The trunk is big enough for two sets of golf clubs or a few weekend bags. What else would you need it for?
Then there's the price. The concept behind the C-Class is to create an entry-level car that will attract younger buyers, people who are either too young or not rich enough yet to buy an E- or S-Class. That's sound thinking and we applaud it, but would this same target consumer be looking to spend $20,000 or so more buying an AMG? If someone just wanted an affordable, very fast car, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS, which has an MSRP of $27,929, can rocket from 0 to 60 in a blistering 4.4 seconds.
What the C55 does do, however, is put AMG performance and prestige within the price range of people who would have to spend vastly more to buy practically any other AMG. The next most expensive AMG is the CLK55 AMG roadster, which has an MSRP of $61,220 but quickly escalates into six digits, with the most expensive being the $179,720 SL55 AMG. In fact, if you added up all the 11 current AMG models, the average price, excluding the as yet unpriced SL55 AMG, would be nearly double at $105,570.
Seen in that light, the C55 looks like an extremely good buy. Are there other cars worth looking at in the high-performance category and price range? To be sure. Both the slightly less-expensive $47,000 BMW M3 coupe and the $46,579 Audi S4 (for a review of the S4 Avant wagon, click here) not only cost less but are well worth considering.
However, BMW's M Series has been somewhat under the radar recently, with only the M3 coupe and M3 convertible currently in production. Despite the respect it commands from aficionados, Audi just doesn't have the market- or mind-share of the other two German makers. Mercedes' brand, not to mention its nationwide dealership network, is much bigger.
So now is the time for AMG to shine. If you want to shine in a C55, and spend the $54,000 it takes to do so, get ready to dazzle and be dazzled.
Each AMG engine is hand-built by expert craftsmen. Specs Manufacturer Contact: www.mercedes-benz.com
MSRP: $54,620 (including destination charges)
Color Options: brilliant silver metallic, alabaster white, black, Capri blue metallic, desert silver metallic, diamond black metallic, granite grey metallic, Mars red, obsidian black metallic, pewter metallic
Suspension Type: Front suspension: independent three-link with antidive geometry. Enlarged stabilizer bar. Rear suspension: independent five-arm multilink with geometry for antisquat and alignment control. Enlarged stabilizer bar. Sport suspension: AMG- tuned front coil springs over AMG gas-pressurized shock absorbers. Separate AMG-tuned rear coil springs and AMG gas-pressurized shock absorbers.
Acceleration: zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds
Engine Type: AMG-built, 5,439-cc, SOHC 24-valve, 90-degree V8 engine. High-pressure die-cast alloy cylinder block. Reinforced crankshaft and valvetrain. Alloy heads. Lightweight camshafts. Reinforced engine block, oil pan structure, pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft.
Horsepower: 362 hp @5,750 rpm
Torque: 376 pound-feet @ 4,000 rpm EPA Mileage: 16 city/22 highway mpg
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On 28 Jan 2005 06:36:05 -0800, "greek_philosophizer"

Another is that the Chrysler is ghastly ugly.
Kal
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The star at the end of the bonnet?
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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While build quality may not what it used to be in a Benz, I've sat in the C55 and a 300C (SRT-8 isn't available yet), and Mercedes still has it over the Chrysler. Especially in the long-term wear-and-tear department; however that is only my opinion. I think the Benz interior will look almost new in 5 years, as where the 300C will look more warn, and have more rattles. I'm not knocking the 300C, the SRT-8 is actually on my consideration list. The SRT-8 is a bargin, but I am considering the Audi S4 over it. If the SRT-8 had all-wheel drive (4matic), I might have ordered it already...
Randy 1997 E420
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Only 55000 dollars ?
In the Netherlands the same car costs 95 euro. That is 123000 dollars.
You lucky americans. Buy the C55.
rpm
Torque: 376 pound-feet @ 4,000 rpm EPA Mileage: 16 city/22 highway mpg
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Oeps.... must 95000 :-)

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"R. Feddema" wrote:

In the NL the net price is 59.220 Euro, VAT (=BTW) is 19 per cent and so it comes to 70.472 Euro plus 25.228 Euro BPM which makes a total of 95.700 Euro.
In Germany it costs 53.600 Euro net (69.900 USD,), plus 16 percent VAT makes a total of 62.176 Euro (81.000 USD).
In the US it is 54.620 Dollars MSRP.
The NL net price translates to 77.250 Dollars at today's currency rate (1 EUR = 1.30430 USD), all the rest (95.700 - 59.220 =) 36.480 Euro is taken by the NL state (which is 47.500 USD).
In the UK it costs 40.166 BP net (58.200 Euro, 75.900 USD) plus 17,5 percent VAT plus road fund licence, which leads to 47.935 BP (69.500 Euro, 90.500 USD).
What you can see is that the net prices do not differ that much, what differs are all sorts of taxes and the exchange rates.
But to come back to greek_philosophizer's original post:

If I'd be in America and would be in the position to choose between the two I'd choose the 300 SRT8 without any hesitation.
Here in Germany the C55 is 62.176 Euro, the 300C 5.7 V8 HEMI (we don't have the SRT8 here) is only 49.950 Euro with lots of options more than the C55, which makes the price difference even greater.
Juergen
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"R. Feddema" wrote:

In the NL the net price is 59.220 Euro, VAT (=BTW) is 19 per cent and so it comes to 70.472 Euro plus 25.228 Euro BPM which makes a total of 95.700 Euro.
In Germany it costs 53.600 Euro net (69.900 USD,), plus 16 percent VAT makes a total of 62.176 Euro (81.000 USD).
In the US it is 54.620 Dollars MSRP.
The NL net price translates to 77.250 Dollars at today's currency rate (1 EUR = 1.30430 USD), all the rest (95.700 - 59.220 =) 36.480 Euro is taken by the NL state (which is 47.500 USD).
In the UK it costs 40.166 BP net (58.200 Euro, 75.900 USD) plus 17,5 percent VAT plus road fund licence, which leads to 47.935 BP (69.500 Euro, 90.500 USD).
What you can see is that the net prices do not differ that much, what differs are all sorts of taxes and the exchange rates.
But to come back to greek_philosophizer's original post:

If I'd be in America and would be in the position to choose between the two I'd choose the 300 SRT8 without any hesitation.
Here in Germany the C55 is 62.176 Euro, the 300C 5.7 V8 HEMI with 340 PS (we don't have the SRT8 here) is only 49.950 Euro - with lots of options more than the C55, which makes the price difference even greater.
Juergen
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