Depreciation hits used Mercedes AMGs like an anvil coming down on Wile E. Coyote. So you’ve got to imagine that once an AMG’s odometer his a ridiculous 402,292 miles it’d be totally worthless, right? You can decide for yourself after seeing how much power this well-loved 2003 Mercedes E55 AMG is still making.
The E55 was rated at 469 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque at the crank by the Mercedes factory in 2003. That was apparently enough to get it from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds and earn praise as “a compelling case for the creation of the American autobahn” from Car & Driver when the car came out.
Here in 2017 YouTuber, AMG enthusiast and our dyno-tester here Alex Palmeri posits that the car’s drivetrain “should” create about an 18 percent power loss, which would mean a young and virile E55 AMG would have put down about 385 HP and 423 lb-ft of torque to the wheels.
Palmeri dyno’d a 2006 E55 with 69,000 miles (the same bodystyle and drivetrain) in decent-looking condition with a result of 380 HP and 447 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. The 400,000 mile car wasn’t healthy enough for an earnest comparison at that time, but as of last week, the elder car had been repaired (an intake cooling issue basically caused the supercharger to be non-functional) and rolled back onto the Mustang dyno for another attempt at making maximum power.
Palmeri had the 400,000 mile car make three pulls, with the following results:
- 366 HP and 372 lb-ft of torque
- 362 HP and 416 lb-ft of torque
- 362 HP and 449 lb-ft of torque
By Palmeri’s math, that would mean this 400,000 mile Mercedes AMG is making about 441 HP and 547 lb-ft of torque at the crank, which is damn close to the factory rating on horsepower and exceeding the 2003 torque figure claim.
Prevailing lore corroborates the idea that a Mustang dyno, as used here, tends to read lower than an also-commonly used DynoJet. And there’s no doubt that a hot and humid day is suboptimal for dyno pulls in general, indicating there’s a strong possibility that this geriatric old Benz has even more energy to offer up when conditions are right.
This video seems to answer the question of whether or not a high-strung car can hang on to its power after traveling to the moon and (almost) back. Unfortunately, it still leaves us wondering what had to be invested to keep this car this clean for 14 years and 400,000 miles.
In another post on his site, Palmeri establishes that the car has spent its entire life in California and been serviced exclusively at a Mercedes dealership. That, and the car’s immaculate appearance, suggests that the owner has been fastidious about maintenance, which can’t have been cheap.
So while we’re still not really sure if an old AMG is really a “bargain”, it’s cool to see that if you do put in the work to take care of one, it will keep making power as it racks up ridiculous mileage.