Awesome – and the story would end there except this Mercedes Benz E 55 was so much fun to drive I have to share the feeling with you. With a price range of $42,400 – $69,100 for the E-Class you can have the joy of driving perhaps the best-engineered car in the world today. This E 55 is at the top of the class in price and performance. It is, in a word, awesome.
I drove an E 420 through much of Europe and the autobahns gave me a sense of how well cars need to be designed for such demanding conditions. I test on the track from time to time, but I\’m not a professional race driver. Neither are the drivers on the autobahns of Germany. But they routinely drive 200 km / hr., or about 120 mph. And to do that, drivers must be good. I’ve said it before – European drivers are truly the best in the world. They display disciplined etiquette, perhaps because of the danger involved at high speed while we in the US hear to often that American drivers display \”road rage\”. Personally, I believe that results from the cultural diversity we find on our highways. We have accomplished drivers and others on the road with them who just learned to drive last week when they arrived from some ox cart country. The disparity in skill is frustrating to all concerned. That disparity of driving skill doesn’t happen in Europe, because a license to drive is taken seriously and thus much more difficult to fulfil the requirements.
Anyway, thanks to Mercedes for the thrill. I also had the good fortune to drive this car in the rain and thus learning about other examples of great engineering. I really like the single windshield wiper design. It gives a single clean and clear swipe of the glass that eliminates the overlap marks left by traditional wiper systems. And more importantly the advanced system electronically measures the amount of rain on the windshield and automatically adjusts the speed. Wow, it’s true that the only thing money won’t buy is poverty. Are they good or what? Another even more important safety feature is the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). This truly is phenomenal. It assists the driver when they oversteer and are in danger of losing control. It will alter braking and power to keep you going in the direction you point the car. Amazing. I pushed the limits going into turns and found the car has a mind of its own. If you get stupid, it senses that and takes control to keep you from crashing.
The 1999 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available in five trims: E300 Turbodiesel, E320, E320 4-Matic, E430, and the limited edition E55. I, like most Americans, can’t warm up to the diesel versions. It also detracts from the elegance of Mercedes and they should dump that or make it an option people can forget about. And the E 55 with the big V8 was more fun than should be allowed. Truly a natural high and cheaper than drugs.
Acura RL $41,900 Audi A6 $33,750 – $35,400 BMW 5-Series $38,900 – $53,900 Cadillac Seville $43,355 – $48,050 Infiniti Q45 $48,200 – $49,900 Jaguar XJ Sedan $55,200 – $67,450 Lexus GS 300/400 $37,305 – $45,505 Lincoln Continental $38,525 Saab 9-5 $31,025 – $37,450 Volvo S80 $35,820 – $40,385.
Unmistakably Mercedes-Benz with a modern look, good fuel efficiency for the great performance, aerodynamic – if it had wings it would fly, top quality in all the world, outstanding handling and performance, roomy comfort.
If there is any, it isn’t significant. But if I had to get picky it would be that the cruise control lever is too close to the turn indicator lever and I confuse the two.
5.5 liter AMG Twin spark 349 horsepower V8, 5-speed auto trans, dual climate control, front heated 3 position memory seats, remote keyless entry, black and silver leather, maple trim, power windows, tilt & tele steering column, moonroof, rear sun shade, dual front and side airbags, 4-wheel power antilocking disc brakes, anti theft alarm system, Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
16 City and 23 Highway MPG.