Well, that was the Audi RS6's power reign lasting all of about 4 minutes. Just a few years ago it seemed unimaginable that BMW would introduce 400hp into a sedan, and now Mercedes has come up with almost 500! Under the hood is a supercharged 5.5-litre V8, good for an adequate 476 horsepower and 512 lb-ft of torque. This beast is connected to a five-speed automatic gearbox with SpeedShift, which allows three different settings (comfort, sport and manual) with shift buttons on the steering wheel and a manumatic shifter. Mercedes says this transmission shifts 35 percent faster than the previous unit. It's also about as sporty as an automatic transmission could ever be and adds up to a 4.3 second 0-60mph, thus making the E55 quicker than the DIY manual M5 (and also a few supercars for good measure). At full gallop the E55 AMG is untouchable.
To transfer this high engine performance to the road effectively, AMG has reworked the suspension and braking systems. The E55 borrows the AirMatic air suspension system from its more humble brethren and features the latest generation of ABC (Active Body Control) as well as several other do-dads intended to keep the big Benz from getting intimate with the nearest roadside attractions. They also keep it from getting intimate with the driver, giving uncommunicative steering, excessive roll and underwhelming grip. When it comes time to slow down, the E55 brings the Sensotronic brake system from the SL55 to the party, with 14.2 inch front and 13.0 inch rear rotors and eight-piston front brake calipers. Unfortunately, it feels as if there is no direct mechanical link between the driver and the pads (because there isn't), and for all its technological glory, the Benz's braking system is still far from matching an M5 for stopping distances. Cosmetically, the AMG gets 245/40ZR18 front tires, 265/35ZR18 rear tires, slight body modifications and unique interior trim.
Flawed and devastatingly quick, the Mercedes E55 has set a new benchmark for outright speed, by quite a margin. Will its current reign last only until the future BMW M5 arrives (or will it be even shorter)? We'll know in a short while. - by Traian Popescu
|Base Price, USD||81,800||Engine Type||SOHC 24-valve supercharged V8|
|Powertrain Layout||Front engine, RWD||Displacement, cc||5439|
|Curb Weight, lb||4200 est.||0-60 mph, sec||4.3|
|1/4 mile, sec@mph||12.5@116||0-100 mph, sec||9.9|
|70-0 mph, ft||173||Top speed, mph||155|