It's bloody huge, it's got a 5.4l V8 which kicks out 354bhp and at the top end it'll knock on the doors of 155mph. Unrestricted it'll blow those doors right down. This car is possibly the fastest, most powerful thing we've ever put up on N2G, it really is an animal.
The E-Class, however, is a car with history. A murky, depressing history. You see, between itself and its heinous brother, the C-Class, it damn near broke Mercedes Benz. The two cars in question (amongst others) spent a lot of time, well, breaking. Normally in very expensive and catastrophic ways. Oh, and they rusted prematurely, they were good at that, too. This resulted in warranty claims aplenty as well as a great many customers doing the unthinkable and defecting to BMW, primarily because BMW knew what A) a screwdriver was and B) how to protect metal from rust. For Mercedes it was a bad time, but bugger'em, that's what they get for letting standards slide.
Hmmm, that hardly makes the E55 seem like a wise move, does it? It is though, mainly because all the AMG cars are put together by, erm, AMG. They start with a stock E-Class, fix all the crap that Hanz didn't put in properly at the Benz factory and then they chuck in the hand-built V8, a decent gearbox, some leather, some big alloys and a decent diff. The result was a car that would happily stand the test of time while having the shit kicked out of it by its no doubt overzealous owner.
The good thing for us - here in 2011 - is that the colossal fail of the non-AMG cars has resulted in bargain basement, sub £2000 prices. This is car which, when new, cost in excess of £60,000. Nice.
So, if this car was built under questionable periods of quality why on earth would we recommend it? Quite simply, we'd suggest it because if it were a person, it would be Patrick Bateman*...
Why? We'll tell you why. It would be cover-your-flat-in-tarpaulin-and-then-lop-your-head-off-with-an-axe Bateman because, when it's not mooching around the office car-park and showing off its business-like status, it'll be lulling you into a false sense of security. It'll hug you with its sumptuous seats, it'll caress your ego as you skilfully drive it hard and it'll improve your self esteem every time you tell people you drive an AMG Benz. Then, when you least expect it, it'll try and kill you in a cloud of tyre-smoke while a howling V8 soundtrack drowns out your frankly pathetic screams. Actully, that's a lie. It won't try and kill you. It will kill you. Until you die from it. Twice. It's a bit mental.
The W210 E55 AMG doesn't like you. It doesn't want to be your friend. It's angry at everything and if you buy it, it'll punish you. If you're looking for a big car to pop down to the shops in, this ain't it. If you want a car that'll make you smile as much as it'll make you scream, apply within.
Don't come crying to us if it rips your face off, okay?
*If you've not seen American Psycho there's a solid chance that the last 3rd of the post was lost on you. Sorry about that, but it's not our fault you've not seen it. It's been out for 11 years.