Last year's C32 receives a larger engine and becomes the C55. Other changes include a new dash, redesigned seats and some interior trim enhancements. A DVD-based navigation system has been added to the options roster, and a Harman Kardon sound system replaces last year's Bose unit. Unfortunately, the Mercedes complimentary scheduled maintenance program has been discontinued.
Over the recent decades, AMG has established itself premier tuner for Mercedes-Benz, and the German marque now offers an AMG version for almost every model in production. Enhancements include interior and exterior trim upgrades, more potent engines, and additional performance tuning.
The C55 debuts in 2005, replacing the C32 AMG. The C32's supercharged V6 has been swapped for a 5.5 liter V8. This potent engine generates 362 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. The V8 is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission which includes three driver-selectable shift modes: standard, sport or manual. The compact sedan rockets from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, and will brake back to a stop in 120 feet.
The AMG touch also adds additional comfort and luxury equipment. C55 Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels and tires, ten-way power sport seats, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, metallic interior trim, upgraded instrumentation, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and a sunroof. There are also a few options to choose from, including HID headlights, satellite radio, and a navigation system. Buyers may also select between solid or two-tone upholstery.
Owners and reviewers seem to be in complete agreement over the sheer driving enjoyment one will experience behind the wheel of the C55 AMG. The suspension offers the handling of a sports car, without compromising the ride quality one would expect from Mercedes. There is plenty of torque available throughout the speed range, and the steering is incredibly responsive. Unfortunately, Mercedes does not offer a manual transmission, which may steer enthusiasts toward competitors like the Audi S4 and the BMW M3.