Performance Mercedes: Why AMG Isn’t the Be-All and End-All

AMG of course needs no introduction. We all know that the badge on the back of a Mercedes means the car is packing some serious power, almost certainly from a V8, and if modern, it’s probably got one or two turbochargers in there too. The engineers in the subdivision certainly know how to get the most out of a Mercedes, so if you want a fast one, it’s them you turn to.

But then – is this entirely true? Many people in fact do not realise just how quick some of the non-AMG cars are in the Mercedes line-up. Let’s look at what those are.

Mercedes-Benz E 500 Coupé mit AMG Sportpaket, (C 207), 2012, Lack: feueropal, Ausstattung: Leder Nappa schwarz/ porzellan

Mercedes-Benz E 500 Coupé


The 500 (sometimes also called 550 in the US) models are generally the most high-powered versions of any of the Mercedes standard cars, and you really shouldn’t write them off. The now discontinued E500 for instance put out a strong 388bhp from its 5.4-litre V8, which was more than the original AMG E-Class did. Look at any of the S or E500 models from the last decade and you’ll see that they’re all equipped with a big V8 and bags of power, good for 0-60 times under six seconds. If you’re looking for a Mercedes, and don’t quite want to stretch the finances to an AMG, be aware that the 500 models will offer you almost all of the same useable power as their tuned cousins during everyday driving. Take a look here to see what your options are.


The engine found in the S600 is somewhat of an enigma, known by few people. It first found its way into the S-Class and CL-Class, and in 2002 became a true monster. A 5.5-litre, bi-turbo V12, it put out almost 500 horsepower, and a truly incredibly 800NM of torque, good for the sprint in 5 seconds flat. This was the same power as the S55 AMG, but with more torque. Those in the know however, will tell you that in actual fact the V12 was underrated from the factory, and it actually puts out more power than the AMG – the marketers however didn’t want anything to be seen as quicker than the AMG. You can get S600s for incredibly cheap prices for two reasons – firstly the lack of an AMG badge, and secondly, the eye-watering potential repair costs. If you want the ultimate Mercedes experience, then it doesn’t get better than this. The modern S-Class has a 600 in the line-up too – this time with the 5.5 bumped up to 6.0-litres

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