350kW and 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds

Posted on March 24th, 2009 in AutoSpeed,Driving Emotion,Intercooling,Power by Julian Edgar

Today I was lucky enough to drive an interesting car.

A 2003 model AMG Mercedes Benz E55, it comes standard with a supercharged 5.4 litre, 3-valves-per-cylinder V8 boosted by a Lysholm compressor spinning at up to 23,000 rpm and pushing air through a water/air intercooler.

Peak power is 350kW at 6100 rpm, but the real whammy is in the torque – no less than 700Nm is developed from 2650 – 4500 rpm.

Initial impressions were of complexity – there are an awful lot of obscure knobs and buttons, especially on the car I drove that was fitted with options including dynamic driver and passenger seats (adds lots of controls – some automatic – for seat shape), tyre pressure control, rear sun-blinds, keyless go – and Gawd knows what else.

But having said that, the instruments and controls most often used by the driver were clear and easy – it was the next layer down… and the next, and the next… where things got complex.

Without a doubt the best aspect of the car was the engine. It hauled like the fastest freight locomotive on earth, a massive amount of torque available at whatever engine speeds you liked.

Performance? Yes, very strong – the factory 0-100 km/h is quoted as 4.6 seconds.

But the steering had that horrible Mercedes Benz slow ratio around straight-ahead (but with some lock on, good, meaty weight and feel), and the initial movement of the throttle was quite non-linear in terms of response – not much happened at first.

Ride (set at the most comfortable of three settings) was very good; handling equally so. The stability control and traction control systems were refined and effective: it was the sort of car you could throw around after only a short familiarisation.

Impressive? Yes, I think so – especially at the AUD$100,000 they now command. Impressive at the original AUD$250,000+? Perhaps proportionally less so!

If you’d like to own one, contact Paul at www.qsm.com.au – the car is currently not for sale but I am sure a deal could be done…

3 Responses to '350kW and 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds'

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  1. doctorpat said,

    on March 26th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    The more experience I have with owning expensive german cars, the more I react to “complexity” in such vehicles in the same way I would react to the words “contains pre-added rust spots” or “made with Soviet Union level quality”.

    Only the Japanese can be trusted to make a complex car and have it remain reliable for more than a year or two.

  2. Mark said,

    on March 30th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Fascinating the lack of interest this blog has generated! The car is quite clearly stunning in terms of its combination of performance and practicality. But at $100K for a ~6 yr old car, it looks a bit ordinary. Apart from the previous observation about unreliability (probably true) this is just a sports sedan. You can get most of the quality and functionality from a host of brand new cars and for less cash, al beit without the prodigious performance (where do you use it?). No, for that much money a used car needs to be exotic or beautiful or collectable or track-day-fun or some combination of the above.

  3. Ramon said,

    on April 11th, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I have a 2005 E55 AMG, although I am in the states so it’s far cheaper than what it’s being sold for in Australia. Luxury, performance and if you are lucky enough to get a handful of the cars that don’t break, then it’s a beast. I know in Australia ( I used to live in Sydney) though you won’t get to use all of it’s power, but what power you’ll have in a luxury car. Over here, there are tuners that can put a pulley and a tune and you’d have 550hp. Add headers and a larger throttle body and it’s 600hp. All day.