Last post on May 11, 2010 at 11:16 AM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Sedan
May 28, 2003 (9:27 am)
Well my neighbor who traded his 2001 E55 for a 2003 E500 is now considering an E55 and grabbed me for a "premier" test drive over the weekend. All I can say is that if you are hungry for power, this beast is a feast. As for the necessity of 469 horsepower and 516 ft lbs of torque, I was reminded of the "Field of Dreams" voices: if you build it they will come.
The new E55 is not only perhaps the most powerful car I've driven, it's handling dynamics are significantly improved over the previous E55. Still not quite as good as my M5, IMO, but the best Mercedes has produced. If I ever blew out my left knee to the point I couldn't drive a 6-speed, the E55 would likely be my next sedan.
My neighbor is on the fence. He's had several annoying problems with his E500 to the point Mercedes is offering a free trade-up (i.e. offered to give him 100% of his purchase price on the E500 as trade in on the E55 at MSRP). And, at only about $6k more than the outgoing E55, the new E55 is a relative bargain. I myself am not sure why someone would pay upwards of $60k for a loaded E500 when the E55 we drove had a $76,500 sticker. A lot of money, to be sure, but that incremental $16k buys you a world or two of difference.
May 28, 2003 (9:33 pm)
I rember you stating that the previous E55 had a rough ride, how was the ride of the new E55?
May 29, 2003 (11:39 am)
Much better, IMO.
My impression of the previous E55 was that it made up for excess body roll in the base E-class with very stiff shocks and upgraded wheels and tires. Although I may be biased, I thought the previous E55 was a full two notches below my M5 in handling and steering, yet one notch up in harshness over bumps. The new E55 seems like a better balanced car with a much better ground up suspension. Make no mistake, however, the ride is still that of a sport sedan, not an S-class. That's O.K. by me, perhaps not for others.
Supposedly, the new M5 (V10) will only have an SMG transmission. If Mercedes ever offered the new E55 with a 6-speed, I would lose sleep over which to pick.
May 29, 2003 (9:34 pm)
I so want Mercedes to do a SMG or even better a DSG box for AMG cars, or at least make them a option. It would fit perfectly since I highly doubt they'll ever offer or be able to sell a true manual in their cars.
#4937 of 6720 Future Production E55
May 31, 2003 (11:47 am)
Has anyone heard of or aware of a production schedule for an E-55 4matic vehicle. I would buy this car in a second if it were available.
Jun 02, 2003 (2:17 pm)
I agree it's unlikely AMG will ever offer a true manual transmission on the E55, especially since they haven't on the SLK32, C32 or CLK55. But, to AMG's credit, the new E55 is a lot more sporting of a car and could, potentially, give even die hard BMW M5 enthusiasts something else to consider, if equiped with a 6-speed.
I have mixed feelings about SMG. The unit BMW uses in the M3 is good, but not great. One of my European associates who ranted and raved about the SMG equiped 360 Modena "F1" ended up getting a manual transmission version. I don't think the issue is purely performance. My assessment is that while SMG is a highly attractive alternative to an automatic, it is still not as "fun" to drive as a stick for those who prefer a true manual.
I didn't ask, but an E55 4-matic would surprise me. I admit that, perhaps with the possible exception of the 911, I think most 4WD systems are counterproductive to performance compared to a very well balanced RWD system. They add a lot of weight, especially in Mercedes current 4-matic design.
However, my biases notwithstanding, the Mercedes rep we met on our test drive hinted of a possiblity that AMG would bring their version of the E55 Wagon to the US. So who knows, maybe a 4-matic isn't that far fetched. An E55 4-matic wagon would certainly would be one heck of a replacement for our SUV.
Jun 02, 2003 (9:12 pm)
I truly appreciate anyone's first hand experience with these systems, I'm still trying to get some seat time in a M3 SMG myself. From what I've seen on these electro-manuals they're best only for flat-out extreme driving and quickness of shifts??? Mercedes has one too, but it's only for the C and E-Class diesels in Europe. Now VW's new DSG gearbox is yet another interesting take on the theme.
Jun 03, 2003 (7:48 am)
I think you are right.
When I test drove the M3 SMG, I distinctly remember waiting at an intersection to make a left turn. As I saw an opening, I gave it some gas and there was a brief hesitation before a sharp acceleration. Under similar circumstances, I would have been subconsciously feathering the clutch of my M5 and made a much smoother turn. I am sure I would have gotten used to the M3 SMG with more seat time, but for everyday driving conditions, I still prefer having direct clutch control.
That's intesting that Mercedes is only using their version on diesels. Perhaps they get even better fuel efficiency and performance. For the record, I think the AMG automatic transmission in the C32 and new E55 is better than BMW's steptronic.
#4941 of 6720 Just dropping by...
Jun 05, 2003 (9:58 am)
I hope y'all don't mind this intrusion, I thought some of you might find this interesting.
I have been working in London for the last week or so, and I took a side trip to Paris for this weekend past. On my way back to London, I hailed a taxi at something like 4:30 AM Monday morning for a ride from the Gare du Nord area to Charles de Gaulle airport. Said taxi turned out to be a new W211 E-Class and when we started rolling, I immediately noticed that this one was a diesel just like the E220 CDI that I rode in back in April (also in Paris); however, it felt somewhat faster. When we heading onto the autoroute we were following some other traffic up the ramp, and as we hit the main roadway, my driver opened it up, and I was stunned at how fast that thing went from 60 kph (a little less than 40 mph) to 160+ (100 mph and then some). When we got to the airport the driver turned to me while patting his steering wheel and said, "What do you think of my new taxi?" I told him that I loved it. While retrieving my baggage, I checked the trunk lid for the designation and found that it was an E320 CDI. Hmmm, given my dislike of the looks of the new E60 5-Series, maybe by the time the lease is up on my 2002 530i, MB-USA will be importing that thing; I would buy one in a minute.
#4942 of 6720 E-Series future engine question...
Jun 05, 2003 (1:52 pm)
I have heard some rumors that the current 3.2L six may be pushed out to 3.7L in a model year or two. Anyone know any more about this? No doubt MB builds great engines, but they appear to be starting to slip behind other makes in terms of overall engine technology (constantly variable valve timing, BMW's valvetronic, continuously variable intake manifolds, etc). It would be nice to have someone from MB at least do an interview and mention some of the upcoming engine technologies....