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Mercedes-Benz AMG 55 saloon – on sale now

Mercedes-Benz

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Review

Any genuine prospect asking for a test drive in the supercharged AMG 55 will probably know as much about the car as a Mercedes retailer.

But he or she will also be aware what else is available in the £63,000-plus luxury performance sector – and there isn’t much.

The new BMW M5 V10 doesn’t arrive until May next year; the Audi RS6 has run out and won’t be replaced until at least late 2005, and the Maserati Quattroporte is more expensive (and much more of an acquired taste).

At a push, that leaves the supercharged Jaguar 4.2 V8 S-type R flagship, coming in at less than £50,000 but with slight disadvantages in performance, equipment and size. So, for a limited period, for those who like their fast cars to be fast, executive and chunky – and want one soon – the AMG 55 is the chief candidate.

Of course, there are those for whom the AMG badge means everything. They won’t be put off by the un-Mercedes residual value (CAP predicts it will retain just 38% of its £63,450 price new after three years/30,000 miles – an increasingly common story these days in this sector), or tempted to wait and see just how good the M5 is.

There’s no doubt the AMG 55 is an imposing saloon. Its V8 Kompressor can hurl this 1,835kg coach from 0-62mph in 4.7sec (stopping almost as quickly) and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.

But it is quick rather than racey. Despite the semi-active sports suspension with adaptive damping as well as a variety of electronic aids, it feels heavy under spirited driving – it’s one of those vehicles that makes the driver conscious that for every action there can be an equal or opposite reaction.

Driven with a weather eye on speeding points, however, this is also a supremely comfortable cruiser with brutal performance on tap, should it be required.

Strengths: Performance, handling, imposing looks
Weakness: Relatively poor residual value
Opportunity: Toy for the boardroom boy
Threat : Strong rivals from BMW and Audi next year
USP: The AMG badge
Price: £63,450
Engines: 5.4-litre supercharged V8, 476bhp @ 6,100rpm, 516lb-ft @ 2,650-4,500rpm
Transmission: 5spd tip auto, rwd
Performance: 0-62mph 4.7sec, 155mph top speed
Efficiency: 21.9mpg, 310g/km CO2
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £24,025 (38%)
Rivals: Maserati Quattroporte, BMW M5, Jaguar S-type R

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