When new, the fastest production 4x4 that money could buy: An astonishingly powerful, genuine Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG.
At a glance:
- Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG
- 5.4 litre V8, 'Touch Shift' automatic & four wheel drive.
- Full Service History
- Just had an annual/12,000 mile service
- 20” genuine Kahn Alloys
- All available optional factory extras
- 164,210 miles
- Exceptionally clean interior with black AMG buffalo leather seats
- MOT to September 2020 with no advisories
- HPI Clear
The legendary Mercedes-Benz AMG ML55… the sort of thing that happens when German engineers have too many pilsners after work... The designers at Mercedes and their racing/tuning arm AMG decided to build the world's fastest 4x4 sport utility vehicle, starting with the Mercedes-Benz USA built M Class, and adding the ‘Teutonic hotrod’ treatment: body add-ons, beefed up suspension, huge V8 engine, all the optional extras possible and superb quality luxury interior. These were magnificent cars from Mercedes-Benz; German over-engineering, coupled with the AMG tuning, making this an extremely formidable SUV. The ML55 was a beautifully engineered and very expensive car, in its day the fastest production 4x4 you could buy.
The history of this car:
The car was first registered in on the 4th June 2001 and has averaged in the region of 10,000 miles per year regularly over the last 17 years.
This ML55 AMG is in the most desirable colour combination; jet black with black leather interior. The ML55s came with every available option such as Air con, glass sunroof, privacy glass, Xenons headlights, detachable towbar, heated seats, BAS, ESP, Command Sat Nav, Bose sound system, the list is endless. Visually, the ML55 differs from the standard M-Class with a bonnet featuring twin power bulges reminiscent of the 300SL of the 1950s, a new front end incorporated an AMG grille, fog lights and xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, flared wheel arches, twin chromed exhaust tips, larger wheels and uprated brakes with bright-red brake calipers peeking between the five spokes.ML55 models from 2000 onwards got a much-needed upgrade in interior trim: This ML55 comes with AMG designed buffalo leather sports seats, more leather on the armrests, door trims and centre console, white-faced AMG branded gauges with chrome trim rings and dark burl walnut accents on the dash, console and steering wheel and shift knob, plus a more comfortable rear seat with 60/40 split capability, a centre armrest, rear side airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners for the outboard rear passengers. Specification also included a new modular Bose 80-watt stereo integrated with a six-CD changer, phone and satellite navigation system.
According to online sources, at the end of 2017 there were only 281 of these ML55 AMG models still taxed on UK roads, making this car increasingly rare and desirable and likely to become a future classic in its own right.
This car has covered 164,258 miles and although this is higher than some, the car has always been serviced according to the correct service schedule, and it drives superbly, like it has covered only 40k miles. It has never spent any prolonged period off the road and has covered an average of 10,000 miles per year.
The car comes with full, complete and up to date service history with the service book and a thick folder full of receipts for servicing and parts. The condition of the interior also suggests that this is a car that has been cherished and cared for over the years. These SUVs tend to be used as extremely brisk family transport, which can take a toll on the interiors, but this car has no noticeable traces of children or dogs and is in good condition for its age. The car has also just been freshly serviced ready for the new owner, so it is available immediately and ready for use and enjoyment.
On the Road:
I absolutely adore driving this car, it’s so much fun! These cars drive exceptionally well which is testament to their superb build quality and high original price tag. Having driven Range Rovers, X5s and Cayennes in the past, this car feels better made, more solid and the MLs tend to be far more durable and reliable. The car starts swiftly without hesitation with the ominous burble of the AMG V8 engine. The car has a very solid German feel and is very engaging to drive, with endless power and torque available. The speedometer appears accurate and the car is capable of covering long journeys with ease. It’s a very pleasing experience driving a car of this quality, coupled with immense power, on either short or long journeys. If required, it would make the perfect towing car with a 3.5 ton towing limit, 4 wheel drive and excellent road holding. It can be driven sensibly, just like a normal ML, but when pressed into action, the acceleration of this car is brutal, awesome and highly addictive.
These cars can be used for everyday commuting if required, as reliable family transport, as a working thoroughbred 4x4, or just for pleasure as a weekend treat - by being capable of all uses these cars are a brilliant all-rounder.
Under the ML55's "power domes" on the hood (a heritage note from the 300SL Gullwings) lurks an AMG-specific 5.0-liter aluminum block equipped with a forged-steel stroker crank that raises displacement to 5439cc. The heart of any vehicle is its engine, and AMG squeezed in its 5.5 litre normally aspirated V8, essentially a stroked (8 mm longer) version of Mercedes' single-overhead cam, three-valve-per-cylinder, twin spark plug, 5.0 L all-aluminum V8. This three-valve SOHC V-8 is further beefed up with a larger-bore dual-resonance intake manifold, stiffer valve springs, and lightweight modular camshafts. The result is 352 hp at 5500 rpm and a lusty 376 pound-feet of torque at 3000rpm, coupled to a five-speed ‘TouchShift’ automatic transmission which will surge from 0 to 60 mph in an astonishing 6.3 seconds.
As in the E55, all that power is channeled into the five-speed automatic from the S-Class V12, and fitted with Touch Shift, (Mercedes' version of the manual-automatic or ‘tiptronic” concept). It changes gear smoothly and quietly and performs exactly as it should.
Sold with MOT until 19th September 2020 with no advisories.
As can be seen from the photographs the car is extremely clean, tidy and well presented for its age. The interior is in excellent condition with no significant wear. Mercedes used buffalo leather on the AMG version as the thickness and durability is far superior to the normal cowhide used in the standard models. The upholstery is in amazing condition for the age of the car, clean and virtually unmarked, with original AMG floor mats. Every control on the car appears to work exactly as it should; windows (all six of them), sunroof, dash, heater controls etc. Although some of the standard MLs were available as a 7 seater option, the ML55 only came in the 5 seat version. The car has good tyres with plenty of tread all round on four genuine Kahn 20” alloy wheels which gives it a more muscular stance than the standard 18” AMG five spoke alloys. These wheels were over £1,800 when new, even before adding tyres. Tyres of this size used to be fairly expensive, but thankfully nowadays new 275/45/20 tyres are available from a mere £75 upwards, fully fitted.
Mercedes-Benz cars of this era tended to suffer with rust, and there is some present on this car on the door bottoms, and around the rear number plate. It’s relatively inexpensive to fix, should you wish or just use it as it is, depending on your preference. It's not structural, just cosmetic imperfections.
It’s always difficult to express in words the condition of any car, and most people have differing opinions about condition, so the best way to get a true impression will be to view this lovely car in person. I’m confident that anybody with realistic expectations will be delighted to own and enjoy this awesome four wheel drive.
This car is bit different to the typical cars I am used to, as I normally deal with modern classic cars from 1970-1995. This is obviously newer, the mileage of this car is higher than that which I would normally offer for sale, and it came in part exchange to me. Therefore it is offered as a ‘part exchange to clear’ vehicle at a lower price than if it were offered as a normal showroom example. It has been cleaned and also serviced by my mechanic and he was of the opinion that it's a good car. The only known faults which my mechanic could find are; the rust, a weep of power steering fluid from the reservoir and a slight whine from the power steering pump. This can be used daily and fluid topped up every couple of months, or the pump could be replaced, as new/refurbished are only around £85 on eBay (plus fitting).
Other than cleaning and occasionally servicing the part exchanged vehicles, I don’t carry out any remedial work on them, and I offer them at a lower price point ‘as is’.
The original price of these cars was eye-wateringly high, with all of the extras, largely due to the high build costs and the over engineering which is synonymous with Mercedes’ reputation for quality. These ML55s are exceptionally good value now, and look likely to increase in value in years to come as they become a modern classic. This is a great opportunity to purchase an ‘entry level’ true thoroughbred AMG car at a fraction of the new price.
The general value range for these cars in good, road worthy and presentable condition with full service history and long MOT is normally £3500 - £7,000 with immaculate showroom examples priced considerably higher. This car is offered to sell swiftly as a ‘part exchange to clear’ at a very tempting £3750.
This is an astonishing car, hugely powerful, coupled with superb traction, sublime ride quality and the ultimate luxury interior, it’s sure to put a smile on your face with every mile. Some people might be worried about the expense of owning a proper thoroughbred AMG, but actually it is very easy to live with as the majority of parts are standard ML, with only brake calipers, some suspension components and engine internals being more expensive, everything else is pretty much standard cost. I really love the condition, immaculate interior and extremely smooth drive of this particular car, and I’m sorely tempted to keep it for myself, but I don’t have the time to enjoy it as much as it deserves. I can’t keep all of the cars I deal with, but if I could put just a few into storage to appreciate for the next 10 years, this would be one of them!