Gambler's Only: 2005 CL65 AMG


As prices on the W215 AMG coupes continue to rise, opportunities for undervalued examples are few and far between. Further, those rare opportunities typically come with compromises (or other inherent risks) that produce the low asking price, as seen here.

This example is a 2005 CL65 AMG finished in Brilliant Silver over Slate Gray leather interior. Showing only 69k miles and no accidents/damage on the Autocheck, things are already looking good for the monster coupe. With an asking price of only $17,990, this car is way undervalued on the present W215 market.

Condition appears to be good commensurate with the mileage and there are no obvious defects in the paint or interior shown in the photos. The engine bay photos display a great deal of dirt and grime which may be evidence of use in the snow and salt (this is a South Dakota car, btw). Notably, its a plus that the carbon fiber airbox and original CL65 wheels are present on the car.

In the listing here on Autotrader, the seller makes no mention of condition, history, maintenance or anything else about the car; and therein lies the rub.

The keen-eyed among you will already notice the giant red alert glowing from the gauge cluster. This alert is akin to the red ring of death on any W215 AMG and likely the primary factor that has suppressed values of these big body coupes over the past decade: The ABC suspension system.

Yes, this car is suffering from a major ABC fault and the gauge cluster is warning the driver in no uncertain terms to "drive carefully". These active body control systems are widely known to be one of the most expensive fixes on early 2000s MBs and can run into the five-figures for replacement of the whole system via the MB dealer. Of course, aftermarket options now exist and working with an independent shop can greatly offset this cost, but be prepared to spend a few thousand dollars, at least, to get this sorted.

If that were the only problem with this car, we'd still say it was worth pursuing as a $20-21k investment overall with the ABC repair would still put you ahead of the market for a accident/damage free twin-turbo V12 monster. However, closer inspection reveals that the check engine light is also illuminated on this car. While this could be something simple, even new coil packs for this thing will run a strong four-figure repair bill; not to mention if the car needs rotors/brakes or tires.

In the end, this is only for the real gambler (or MB tech) among us...and preferably one who lives way out near Yankton, SD to inspect the car in person. We can't think of a more frightening scenario than trying to acquire this Christmas tree cluster coupe sight unseen. That decision will either bankrupt you or make you one of the luckiest buyers in the market. We're betting it'll be the former...

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