Launched in 1995, the W210 generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class horrified brand traditionalists, but that did not stop it from becoming the best-selling car in its class, in the world.
I remember seeing the first artist sketches of the W210 Mercedes-Benz E-Class vividly. It was finished in a pinkish red, and the quad front "goggle eyes" were described by the magazine as giving it the face of a spider. Not the best of starts, then...
And to be honest, the W210 was no beauty (penned by Steve Mattin under Bruno Sacco), though the appearance was improved through a number of changes later on in its life cycle. Inside, it also appeared to lack the solidity of its highly acclaimed predecessors, W123 and tank-like W124. But it was spacious, and had the right badge on the nose, so it sold briskly.
Outputs ranged from a measly 70kW in the E220 Diesel to a whopping 205kW in the E420. I remember driving a CLK 420 (essentially the E-Class coupe) in the early days of my road testing career and thought it was a wondrous thing... good enough to make me (almost) forgive its bulky, awkward looks.
But there was another W210 that is lesser known... the E 50 AMG, launched in Europe in September 1995. It packed a mighty 255kW from its naturally aspirated 5.0L V8, and riding low on those big AMG alloys, the W210's shape suddenly looks a whole lot better, doesn't it? Maximum torque was 480Nm, and the macho Benz was claimed to sprint to 100kph in around 5.4 seconds. It was built in Affalterbach under the so-called "one-man-one-engine" philosophy.
The E 50 AMG was only built in left-hand drive and 2870 were produced, making it increasingly collectible. Did any W210 E 50 AMGs ever make it to South Africa. Let us know in the comments below.