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Alf McQueef

Good value?

If I saw an estate one of these at similar price/mileage/condition (given I'd rather an estate with roof bars for ease of sticking bike racks on) I would be seriously tempted to buy it...

Yes its a lot of fuel burned, but at that purchase price a lot of the pain goes away - such as with depreciation!

I had a friend who had an E55 Estate of that vintage and he says it was the best car he has ever had. Different car I know but the same engine I think.

At that kind of mileage, it should still have a lot of life left in it although a gearbox oil change would be a must. With the miles you do, it would be worth next to nothing after a couple of years though

I think it would be a backwards step for you.
Alf McQueef

This is just one possibility at the extreme end of the SH purchase scale (the cheap end). I like E500 coupes and they are good value, but I don't fancy a non-AMG Merc as I want the noise/drama, and also I am moving strongly towards another estate having done a lot of racks/bikes on/off both our cars recently. Mountain biking is my main hobby/sport and I aim to do at least as much in future as now, past 40 now exercise is even more important. An estate with bars is very, very much quicker to load with bikes and you are less likely to scratch the roof to shit in the process.

Wanting an estate narrows things a lot - basically purchase C63 AMG estate SH, or 335i Touring new or SH (which incidentally weighs exactly the same a a 435i Gran Coupe but is 10k less at street prices).

I love the buy a C63 option in theory but what John says about that C55 is true - with spades on - for them. You can get a lovely 3 year old one with the newer interior for 35k at low mileage (say 30k miles) like this (which I drove past the other day):

And although the depreciation slows massively after that, in 3 years with nigh on 100k on the clock, what's that likely to be worth? A C55 is not much slower/quieter/worse handing (the facelift C class of that shape got the next shape's excellent chassis) and was the point at which Merc started building things properly again. When the outlay is much smaller. depreciation percentages are unimportant - its the total loss that counts.

Just an idea, it was the car I always had in mind to replace the GTA before this job. Which, with me regularly topping the European sales charts and being used as a part-time sales trainer across Europe as a result, and feeling a lot more secure here than in previous roles, is probably paying well enough to go back to slightly more silly cars if I want (or move out of a house I bought in my twenties if I have my sensible head on).

With tiny numbers sold, an estate C55 in good nick and low mileage will probably not come up anyway in the next 6 months. I'm not supposed to be looking until spring (I just cleared the finance off on Mrs ALF's car so have a negative bank balance!) but those C55's (two in that condition were available a week ago) got me thinking...

If a saloon has built in attachment points for a roof rack, isn't that as easy as fitting bars to an estate?
Bob Sacamano

But estates with roof bars are way cooler.
Alf McQueef

No, it's nothing like it. Trust someone that has done it a lot! Being able to just lob the bars over and have them sit on roof bars on an estate while attaching "your" end is a lot easier that attaching one end directly to the paintwork on a saloon, while the other end scratches the fuck out of the paint on the other side, plus it is just much easier and faster if there is one of you (with two adults on hand the attachment points on a saloon/coupe might be more user friendly).

Don't tell Mrs ALF, but the C Max already has some marks on it from where the brand new (Thule, rubber coated) feet attached - and it was clean at the time (having to clean the attachment point is another hassle without roof bars). If the vehicle has the holes to aid positioning - which help - then there is a spiky bit that will go in that hole (which does the scratching) and regardless there will be 4 big rubber pads pressed firmly onto your paintwork, which tend to leave marks. And they tend to sit higher which makes loading harder.

Overall, nothing will beat the ease, security, and lack of damage of attaching to roof bars/rails. Add that to fork-mount bike carriers and you have a system about as secure as possible.

Incidentally, with cars like the C Max getting so tall, putting bikes on the roof is a total PITA - I look at things like X5's and wonder how people manage - Mine is a joy with such a low roof, which is why we use it for times like the weekend just gone when we go for a family ride somewhere (and I then ride back while Mrs ALF drives back).

Bob Sacamano wrote:
But estates with roof bars are way cooler.

That's a fair point, they are much cooler!  

I've never fitted a set of roof bars, so was just wondering whether having proper fixing points on a saloon would help widen the options. Clearly not!
Alf McQueef

They work on all cars with the kits available for them, its just a question of how often you do it!

The worst are the racks that hang off the back of the car with a multitude of straps and hooks - they seem most prone to falling off, and damaging the car, plus they mean you can't get into the boot!

Estates are just cooler anyway

I was looking for a C55 when I got the E500.

Good cars and often enthusiast owned so "no expense spared" ownership - that's not a bad price but I've seen them down around 10K.

Estates are far rarer but the one to go for (I still hanker after one as I know it would be the perfect car for me). Derin (the guy BMW Classics guy) owned this one and reckoned it was one of the best cars' he's ever owned (and he's owned a lot!) -

EDIT - been on sale for a while, you'd get this for 10K -
Alf McQueef

Its a bit high mileage. There were 2 C55 saloons similar to the one I posted above, only the other one (which sold fast) had 29k on it. That would be appealing to me, not because I think it would be in better nicl, just worth more at the end!

It is a nice, sleek shape of estate a bit like the 156.... Good for someone that wants that body shape but not bothered about huge amounts of space. I never loved the next shape of C class estate, much less sleek than the 3 series or A4...

Its another one in the mix anyway. With no B7 RS4 autos and no E91 M3 estates its a small club.

I'd not factored in your miles.

Personally I'd suggest keeping your eyes out for a good estate and just buy it.  A good way to scratch the V8 itch with minimum downside, if you don't like it you'll have lost a grand or so, nothing compared to an C63.

It's the same electronics as mine and although the Sat Nav could be a bit more modern, but it doesn't feel out of date, unlike that of my old E39.

If you do like it, then keep it, or upgrade to a C63.

Like you I like the shape a lot. An S4 or C55 Estate are a nice size but the C55 is a lot lower risk in terms of running costs.
Alf McQueef

Before buying any Merc I would pay a quite big Merc specialist near here a visit - they have been there a long time and I would be interested in their views. I get the overall impression most of the big engined Merc stuff is OK for running costs/reliability (accepting we are not talking about Japanese superminis here) - Audi worry me more than Merc or BMW - with RS models anyway. The weird suspension system they run can go wrong and stay wrong, and the costs for things like brakes are silly. They seem a bit more bespoke.

I will keep an eye out - it would be a "right car" sort of thing, a mint low mileage C55 estate with an owner not taking the piss with the price. I doubt one will come up but if it does, before I buy something else, I'll look at it. Of course I might not like it, but an ex-colleague (who used to have an SZ he took me out in once) has run a C55 AMG for some time now, I think I'll seek him out and see, at least! Inside they are not too clever, but obviously for me nav is not an issue, and given I meet people every day that install aftermarket car audio and phone systems I'm sure I can sort out decent phone/audi too. The big modern distracting screen I can do without...

The C55 is more straightforward than the E I believe (no air suspension) and engine wise much more bullet proof than the Audi cam/chain V8.

Having just installed an excellent iO Play phone/iPod system in the FRV I'd be happy going aftermarket on that kind of stuff.

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