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Clean & Capable: 2002 ML55 AMG

We're now entering a time where post-merger AMG cars are showing strong appreciation potential as seen in the past year with W202 and W210s, and this ML55 AMG W163 is no exception. First released in 2000, the first AMG treatment to Mercedes' first foray into the SUV market was more oddball than staple as the general public had not yet become accustomed to the "fast SUV" trend that would follow years later. Ever the pioneer, Mercedes was one of the first to establish this market with the launch of the ML55 AMG. The ML55 is also a more rare AMG with limited production numbers. In total, just over 4k were built with only 735 for the year model 2002.

This 2002 ML55 AMG is located in Tbilisi, Georgia. That's correct, we mean the country Georgia. The ML currently has 173,000 kilometers (107,000 miles) and appears to be well-kept. Finished in Black Opal Metallic (189), the color appears more dark blue in hue and is one of the more desirable color offerings. The interior is finished in Anthracite Leather which is upgraded over the non-AMG variants and comes with embroidered floor mats. The leather shows no signs of creasing with minimal wear. The woodgrain is still rich in color with no sun-fading present. No information is given around maintenance history so interested parties will want to inquire. As an 02 model, the headlights are revised over the original housings from earlier models with a projector lens for the HID low beams and clear face. No blemishes are seen on the exterior which is refreshing compared to many of the ML55s we find stateside with clear coat failure and broken bumpers.

By squeezing the 5.4L M113 V8 from the E55 into their W163 chassis, Mercedes produced a squat, monstrous SUV that launched to 60 at a then-impressive 6.3 seconds (pre-facelift). The ML55's 5.4-liter V-8 made 342 horsepower at 5500 rpm when new, which is 74 horses more than in the ML430. AMG added a larger cross section to the magnesium intake manifold to increase airflow, replaced the hollow-cast camshafts with even lighter modular ones, and increased the stiffness of the valve springs.

Enthusiast magazines at the time clocked the ML55 at over 141mph in individual tests; making it the fastest SUV in the world (at the time). AMG didn't tinker as much with the ML's existing independent front and rear suspensions: Stiffened dampers, front torsion bars, and high-performance summer tires (which are now a difficult size to find) lowered the ML55 only 0.8 inches below its non-AMG W163 brethren.

In short, this ML55 appears to be very clean both inside and out. These under-appreciated AMGs are beginning to gain momentum in the marketplace and values have been on the rise. With an asking price of $13,000, this ML is a great way to get into an all-wheel-drive AMG. Unfortunately, it's not able to be legally imported into the United States but there's certainly many other buyers out there for an ML55 AMG in this condition.



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