AMG C55 Wagon. Black Edition. 362 bhp normally aspirated V8.
Original Japanese Market Supplied. Low Mileage and with Zero Corrosion & in Stunning Show Condition.
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The C55 AMG was the replacement for the C32 For the C32 Mercedes chose the V6 engine in Supercharger form to be able to shoehorn in a powerful engine, without having to modify the engine bay. The C55 AMG was an altogether more focused beast.
The C 55 AMG is the only AMG model to feature different body panels than its base Mercedes platform. For the C55, Mercedes AMG engineers were thus able to use the front-end structure from the CLK model (which is 8cm longer) to accommodate the 5.5L M113 hand-built AMG V8. This was an evolution of the V8 engine found in the previous AMG E-Class, with power raised to 270 kW (367 PS) and torque climbing to 510 N·m (376 lb·ft). The V8 design was from the same engine family as the W202 generation C 43 AMG, which has in time, proven itself to be robust, reliable for high mileages and not prone to significant leakage of oil. Though maximum speed was still limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), the 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) time dropped from 5.2 seconds to a blistering 4.9 seconds. The C 55 AMG continued to use the five-speed automatic with AMG Speedshift. The C 55 was the first AMG C-Class to feature quad exhaust outlets and an external differential cooler.
The chassis of the C55 benefited from a raft of improvements over the earlier C32 AMG model, to further help sharpen up the overall driving feel.
This included a new direct feel steering rack with just 2.7 turns lock to lock, 14mm wider front track, 20% firmer springs & dampers at each corner with reset suspension geometry to keep handling in check, complemented by larger diameter 18” wheels of AMG design.
The result was a much improvedr driver-focused machine, better in every aspect than the C32. The C55 was able to lap the Nurburgring a full 15 seconds quicker, than the C32 AMG although few would-be owners would be swayed by such a statistic. The Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time seen on List of Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times for the C 55 AMG is 8:22 compared to 8:37 for the C32 AMG mainly due to the revised suspension and extra torque. The exterior was subtly updated as was the interior, especially around the dashboard.
Galvanised panels were also featured on the W203 C55 for the first time. This model was only built for only 2 years, between 2005-2006.
Although it’s difficult to pin down exact figures for production, with wagons being a lot less common than C55 saloons or even the C55 CLK (which also has a cult following in Germany), we estimate less than 250 wagons in total were built in RHD form (Which would only have supplied expensive UK, Japanese, Australian and HK markets). With the majority no longer alive as a result of meeting their demise for the usual sinister reasons, we believe this stunning & very low original mileage example is a unique & very rare beast, today and represents a unique opportunity to get the very best currently available RHD Black Edition.
Equipment levels on Japanese market supplied Benz is, from years of experience selecting the best modern classics for our cars sourced to order, or for our stock – usually high. This example is no exception. There are all the usual electric extras: Power mirrors, windows, remote central locking, projector headlights with retractable washing system, integrated security system, etc.
Also included are such niceties such as a tilt/slide glass sunroof with sliding blind, tinted windows, self-dimming rear-view mirror, heated full-electric front seats with memory settings, full leather on AMG Embossed sports seats, parking sensors front & rear, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted remote control buttons for the LCD display, JDM Navi infotainment system with powerful speakers, CD changer built into the glovebox, climate control air conditioning (also venting to the rear), rear wash-wipe, sports pedals, fitted mats, luggage cover, space-saver spare wheel, integrated driving lights and more.
The Exterior received subtle, but meaningful improvements over the older sibling. During the change-over, MB updated the design, so for example, the headlight clusters, bonnet, grille and front bumper are all different, but only glaringly noticeable when comparing the two models side by side. You’d notice the front end of the C55 is longer too (from the CLK), to house the delightful normally-aspirated M113 V8 engine. The wheels discreetly grew in diameter from 17” to 18” in size for a more purposeful look and improved handling. We noted the integrated door mirror repeaters were changed from being frosted and containing normal filament bulbs, to being of a classier design clear crystal, now with LED.
At the rear, the C55 badge gives the game away, but if you were to delete this, for those in the know, the 4 tailpipes might still give the game away. If not, they’d soon know if they listened to the engine sound, which is unmistakable in its velvet V8 idle, climbing rapidly to an authoritative normally-aspirated V8 howl, when unleashed.
The interior also received discreet, but worthwhile upgrades. The dashboard was now mostly revised with the gauge cluster being more pleasing to the eye with “AMG” on an analogue, as opposed to the C32’s digital speedometer and in case you’d ever need reminding, “V8” proudly embossed on the rev counter. The Steering wheel was sensibly no longer adjusted via a button on the driver’s door, but with a column-mounted toggle, for both reach and rake.
The Steering wheel was now also of a better & more aesthetic design, with integrated + & - transmission switches. The shift can thereby be controlled manually and there’s a full M mode, selectable via the button beside the revised shift lever design, or if preferred, by buttons on the 3 and 9 o'clock steering wheel positions. The shift lever also controls the gearbox. Pull it toward the right and it changes up, opposite, it changes down. A traction control over-ride button is there, should the desire to burn rubber ever arise, although the traction control does such a great job of keeping things sensible, this would only be for hooligan antics, but if you want to steer from the rear, the option is there.
The centre console was also completely updated, with much better air conditioning controls, a better infotainment system and revised buttons to control the seat heaters, with now 3 settings per side, instead of 2, as on the C32 AMG. We noticed the glovebox was also re-designed.
The front seats were also improved, with Alcantara on the upper corners of the back-rest, with an AMG badge for each front seat, instead of embossed leather.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
AMG owners sometimes describe their vehicles as an engine with a car attached and for good reason - the C55 is smaller than most current estate cars, with discreet looks & only a C55 and those 4 tailpipes to give a clue, yet it packs a 5.4-litre V8 engine. The grin factor derived from burying your foot, dropping two gears and hearing that engine transform from a hum to howl is an addiction that may become hard to resist, at times. Packing 362 bhp and 376 lb·ft, there’s no need to use all that is on offer most of the time though. Fast progress can be achieved with minimal effort. The transmission is the very same as used in the McLaren SLR; chosen for its robust nature and ability to transmit supercar levels of torque in an exotic package worth many times over the down to earth value of a C55 AMG. This 722.6 gearbox is rated to over 700 ft.lb. These are the reasons the C55 drivetrain has a reputation for being bullet-proof and so it’s one of the reasons we particularly like this model.
As part of our preparation work, we’ve just completed a level B service and with almost 8L fully synthetic oil capacity, MB’s computer states the next service is only due in another 12,000 miles, although we’d recommend doing an oil change at half this mileage, to keep this engine as smooth as it is now for a lot more mileage to come.
The transmission on these is known not to respond instantly to driver chosen gear-changes, but once the owner is familiar with it, it’s easy to time changes to a tee. Compared to more recent and more troublesome 7-speed boxes, the smoothness of this one makes us wonder, why did MB feel the need to add more gears? It works so well, surely there was no need.
The engine bay is, as expected for such a low mileage example is like new, completely leak-free and devoid of the typical corrosion found on UK & EU market cars.
Taking a peep underneath the rear of this C55, we not only notice the completely rust free (like new) exhaust, but the beautiful AMG branded diff cooler, which of course came standard on these.
Having driven Supercharged AMG’s (including the C32 wagon), we have to say, our choice would be the C55, maybe even against the E55 AMG. The normally aspirated engine is a bit more aurally pleasing without the Supercharged whine as it climbs through the rev range and offers more than enough power, with instant urgency. Being normally aspirated, it will also do high mileages without concerns of worn supercharger components and expensive repairs. ...Sometimes, less can actually be more.
WHEELS, BRAKES & SUSPENSION
AMG re-tuned suspension for this model, featuring 20% stiffer springs and dampers over the earlier C32 model.
Although the front discs remained the same, the rears were 10mm larger to give better balance and now being 20mm thick, as opposed to 10mm, courtesy of added rear disc ventilation. Naturally, original 18” C55 AMG staggered alloys suit this car to a tee, with 225/40R18 sized sports tyres at the front and 245/35R18 sized on the rear, with plenty of tread depth remaining. Changes to the chassis included a new direct feel steering rack with just 2.7 turns lock to lock. Handling was markedly improved and the result was now much more "driver-focussed" performance. We can tell by the hardly worn condition of the discs and the lack of stone chips, this AMG C55 Black edition wasn't driven hard. It was clearly owned by a well to do, mature gentleman in Tokyo prior to coming into our stock.
As the pictures show, the condition is superb throughout this example. Whilst detailing the bodywork, we noted a few small stone chips and small, light scratches, although not many – which the previous owner carefully touched in. Most people would never spot these, as the paint match is perfect (MB supplied touch-pen, we believe), but we mention to give a complete description. The wheels do have some minor scratches, so our intention is to have them refurbished by our contracted specialist, whose finished product will be better presented than new.
Note this C55 AMG has been garaged since new, which explains why the interior leather is still so soft & supple and the paint still so fresh, throughout. Underneath, as the pictures show, there’s no corrosion whatsoever. Zero! This car has never seen salt. Even the disc centres barely have the slightest surface rust. We also noticed the lack of wear on them, which would suggest the previous owner wasn’t a fast driver. Inside, the carpets are unworn and the seats too, are still close to new. The luggage area has barely been used. The Cigar lighter and ashtray have never been used either. Whilst cleaning the interior we found no signs anybody had even eaten inside this car. All original tools, warning triangle, etc. remain unused since new. Documentation is complete with its books and maintenance file. In essence, it’s been treated with the utmost respect & care, since it left the factory in the middle of 2005.
We don’t mind admitting, we’ve put around 300km on this car, whilst testing it. The LCD is user-settable, so the first thing we did was make the instrumentation display in English, with MPH and total mileage showing on the centralized digital display.
We were surprised at how frugal it is, when not pushing hard. It’ll return up to 25 mpg with the cruise control set at a sensible legal speed on Japanese highways. On familiar backcountry roads, it was fun to explore the handling, which is taught and sure-footed. Fuel consumption still remained pleasantly sensible too. Gone is the vagueness in the steering of the C32 which is too high-geared, this feels a lot more direct.
It’s notable despite the age, there’s absolutely zero wrong with the way this car runs & drives. Everything electrical works just as it should. The engine and transmission provide velvet hammer levels of performance and the ride is firm, yet comfortable and cossetting.
This would make a great family car, or even a GT car to tour Europe in, it’s ready for anything. So much so, that we are sorely tempted to keep it for ourselves. If it doesn’t sell within a month or two, it’ll be coming off the market permanently. We’re under no illusion low mileage C55’s will rise in value considerably over the next 5-10 years. Just look at an E34 M5, then this and you’ll agree with our logic. It should be obvious that Q-wagons of strong German engineering are not losing their popularity, they steadily gain desirability and availability will never fail to decrease.
This example has a full Japanese Mercedes Benz dealer service history and has been clearly very well maintained by its previous one owner.
The engine bay is as expected for such a low mileage example is like new, completely leak-free and devoid of the typical corrosion found on UK & EU market cars.
A fully synthetic oils & filters service plus a full PDI check & extensive test drive has been completed by ourselves as part of full UK preparation, ready for the first UK to registration and we can confirm there are no faults whatsoever, as to be expected for a car so fastidiously cared for.