The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mercedes says it has AMG looks, but with its modest V6 mill doesn’t require an AMG’s checkbook. Let’s see if presenting as a poseur will make its price a plum deal.
Rationality ruled the day yesterday as many of you averred that while you wanted to like the 2005 Mini Cooper S we reviewed, common sense stood in the way of giving it a whole-hearted recommendation. Its $6,500 asking price was likewise seen as “not all that high” but when associated with the car, not all that great either, ending up with a 70% No Dice loss.
In late 1963, Southern California surf rockers Jan & Dean released Drag City, an album full of car songs. It was the follow up to their Surf City disk, released just a few months earlier. The new album carried a cover of the Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe, along with a number of Jan & Dean originals, a couple of which would end up on the Billboard Top-10.
The album’s grand opus, however, was a two-part song spanning the close of side A and the opening of B. That song is Schlock Rod (parts 1 and 2) and it’s one of the funniest car songs you’ll ever hear. Sadly, I’d wager that most of you haven’t ever heard it. The gist of the song is that the “schlock rod”—an olive green forty-eight Buick—is a total crap can and wildly effective girl repellent, but is beloved by its oblivious owner who thinks it’s the greatest thing since frenched tail lamps. Delusion is a hell of a drug.
There’s nothing schlocky about this 2004 Mercedes E320 Estate, although the seller claims that its AMG body extensions, badging, and wheels make it out to be a stealth pretender to something it’s not. A real AMG E55 or E63 is a beast of a car, even in its heavier wagon form. The cars’ supercharged V8 engines pumping out massive amounts of horsepower in what feels like a firehose of output. It’s all their air-suspended chassis’ can do to keep up.
This E320 sports a 221 horse 3.2-litre V6 and offers performance that’s less firehose and more sedate stream. There’s nothing wrong with that, and as this wagon’s seller notes, the E320 will be cheaper to run than an actual AMG-powered car every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
And it’s got the looks. The car carries a deeper front valance, bolder rocker extensions, and a four-pipe cosseting rear bumper, all for a subtle but more aggressive appearance. That is matched by 18-inch AMG alloys that look pretty fabulous.
The Desert Silver Metallic paint looks to be in fine fettle too, and pairs well with those silver alloys and the heavily tinted glass in the greenhouse. The four-pipe rear bumper actually marries to a pair of dual-tip E63 mufflers to fill the space. Other updates here include Bilstein dampers all the way around, some refreshed suspension bits, and new Michelin rubber.
Unlike the real AMG cars, the E320 wagon only has air suspension in the back. The ad notes that both the bags and pump have been replaced and that it works as you would expect. More new bits can be found under the hood where the engine mounts, CPS, and brake module have been replaced. The fuel tank and RMS were each replaced several years back and hence should be good for a while longer.
The leather interior is in Stone with lovely burlwood accents and comes with all the comforts of home. That includes a 2004-era Nav system which likely is still of reasonable use, as well as power everything.
In what’s possibly a misread of the Mercedes wagon market, the seller touts the car having a third-row delete option. That eliminates one of the mid-size carrier’s more compelling selling points. Maybe that could be retrofitted in place of the storage tray? According to the seller, “Everything works to the best of my knowledge” in the interior, and they note only minor wear on the steering wheel and seating surfaces.
Mileage is a modest 128K and while the seller says that being RWD rather than 4WD and sporting a V6 rather than a rabid bison under the hood, it should prove fairly reliable owing to that lower level of complexity.
Of course, that’s comparing apples to aardvarks and there’s no way this Mercedes is going to be as reliable as, say, a Toyota Venza of the same era. That being said, there’s a great deal of appeal to the W211 E-class, especially in the wagon body style. We’ll just have to see if this AMG-lite edition is worth its $9,595 asking.
What do you think, is this poseur Benz worth that much real cash? Or, for that much, would the AMG need to be more than just skin deep?
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