Mercedes' relationship with German-based aftermarket tuner AMG has produced some interesting vehicles over the years. Three of them, the Mercedes-Benz ML55, E55, and C43, also known as the AMG Specials, appeared within the span of the 1998-2000 model years.

The ML55 was AMG's variant on Mercedes-Benz's successful M-Class sport utility, distinguished by exclusive, shapely fender flares and spoilers (designed in California); special wheels; and 342 horsepower from a 5.4-liter V-8. Chassis, brakes, and suspension were beefed up from stock. This car was pure luxury inside, and could do 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds.

The AMG E-Class variant, the E55, though boasting the similar engine and horsepower rating as the ML55, was a more subtle creation, marked mainly by black-on-white gauges, enormous tires, twin chrome exhaust pipes, and an "E55 AMG" trunklid badge. Top speed exceeded 170 mph.

And then there was AMG's version of Mercedes-Benz's entry-level C-Class, which ran with a 4.3-liter V-8 tuned to 302 bhp. Sixty mph came up from a stop in 5.9 seconds.

Five-speed automatic was mandatory on this trio of AMG/Mercedes specials.


Pluses of the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz ML55/E55/C43 (AMG Specials):

  • Blazing acceleration
  • Good mid-range response
  • Handling and roadholding (E55, C43)
  • Exclusivity

Minuses of the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz ML55/E55/C43 (AMG Specials):

  • Thirst
  • Mandatory automatic transmissions
  • High prices, new and used

Production of the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz ML55/E55/C43 (AMG Specials):

  • E55: 80 (1998)
  • C43: 788 (1998)
  • ML55: 16 (1999)
  • E55: 1,024 (1999)
  • C43: 546 (1999)

Specifications of the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz ML55/E55/C43 (AMG Specials):


ML55
E55
C43
Wheelbase, inches111.0 111.5105.9
Length, inches182.5
189.4177.4
Weight, pounds:4,861
3,6803,448
Price, new $64,900 (U.S.) $69,100-$69,800 (U.S.) $52,750-$53,000 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz ML55 (AMG Special):

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohc V-8
3323422000

Engines for the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz E55 (AMG Special):

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohc V-8
3323491999-2000

Engines for the 1998-2000 Mercedes-Benz C43 (AMG Special):

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohc V-8
260
3021998-2000

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