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.
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. Interior leather was upgraded for all AMG versions and of course, embroidered floor mats.
Offered for sale on Autotrader out of Miami, FL, today's example is finished in an ultra-rare (for the ML55) Azurite Blue Metallic (366) over Black (561) leather interior. Paint condition looks exceptional in the photos but a proper metering should be performed given this car's 102,000 miles.
According to the selling dealer, this is a clean Carfax, California car (since new) with only two owners on record. The seller touts recent maintenance and "dealer records" but we'd love to know more about what's been done; especially with the suspension. These heavy haulers are murder on underbody/suspension components and if they haven't been meticulously maintained throughout its history, you can expect some work to be needed.
The big red flag for this listing is the carpeted dash cover. While this may just be an aesthetic addition, we'd absolutely want to see the condition of the dash under the cover. Replacing one would not be a cheap venture and repairing cracks rarely looks up to snuff on MBs of this era. With an asking price of $13,900, the seller is pretty bullish on the ML55 market considering the six-figure mileage, but the rare color and clean overall appearance (and history) round out a decent argument for the price point. Save for the dash cover (and the pine tree air fresheners???) this car seems to check almost all the boxes for those in the market for a clean, drivable ML55. It's worth noting this same ML55 was for sale back in July and since then it's received a very healthy list of maintenance making this one ready to go. We have no doubt this will continue to appreciate if well-kept and bought at the right number.