Settle for nothing less than AMG — secondhand from Japan

For some car aficionados, a Mercedes-Benz isn’t enough because they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s something even better. Mercedes-AMG.

The passion to own a Mercedes-AMG only intensifies when headlines proclaim the launch of a new model like the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+. But the price tag keeps many dreaming of winning the lottery or befriending a millionaire eager to bequeath his ride.


The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ is tantalizing with its attractive SUV body, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter engine and fine-tuned suspension. It looks a lot like the standard GLE, but can be visually distinguished by 15 vertical strips on the radiator grille (versus two horizontal strips on the standard model). Of course, what really sets it apart is an AMG performance boost that leaves the standard GLE far behind. 320 kW of horsepower and 520 Nm of torque accelerate the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ from 0 to 60 in about 5.3 seconds. Not bad for an SUV.

Fortunately, there’s a satisfying alternative to taking out a second mortgage for the latest, greatest Mercedes-AMG. It’s called shopping for an affordable secondhand model in such good condition that you’ll never regret the decision.

At Japan Car Direct, we recommend doing your homework first by learning about popular used AMG models from the past; deciding which models excite you the most (perhaps even more than new models); shopping around the net to see what those models are going for in good condition in your market, then contacting Japan Car Direct and comparing.

You’re going to be surprised because Japan always has an incredible range of used cars on the market and your dream Mercedes-AMG is probably available at a much lower price and in better condition in Japan.

If you’re ready to begin your homework, the following is our primer:

AMG has been making Mercedes-Benzes better since 1965.

AMG was originally an independent firm producing racing engines, but it currently produces top-end models for Mercedes-Benz as the carmaker’s performance division.

The name AMG came from the names of founders Aufrecht and Melcher, plus Aufrecht’s hometown Großaspach. The pair first made news in 1965 by tuning the 300 SE racing engine that powered Manfred Schiek to 10 victories at the German Touring Car Championship. Thereafter, AMG performed aftermarket conversions on standard Mercedes-Benzes, revamped Mercedes-Benz engines for private racing teams and collaborated with Mercedes-Benz to build highly successful FIA homologated vehicles.


1986 Mercedes-Benz AMG Hammer

Probably the most famous AMG conversion from the 1980s was a Mercedes-Benz W124 nicknamed “The Hammer” because of its huge 6.0-liter V8 engine and AMG-developed independent 4-valve cylinder head. This converted Mercedes-Benz W124 (E-class) hammered the competition into submission with its fast acceleration and 190 mph top speed, thus earning a global reputation as the fastest passenger sedan in the world.

Despite being over 30 years old, this model’s performance is still impressive and its conservative styling still looks great in most driveways. The same can be said of pretty much all used AMG converted Mercedes-Benzes from the late 1980s onward.

Even AMG models from the late 1980s are worthy of consideration.

The superior workmanship of AMG combined with the indisputable quality of Mercedes-Benz ensures that pre-merger models perform reliably for decades. Many of these models can still be purchased in Japan at a fraction of their original price, making them an extremely attractive option for smart shoppers with a penchant for AMG.

At Japan Car Direct, we continue to export pre-merger AMG-converted Mercedes-Benzes from the late 1980s onward because owners in Japan take exceptionally good care of high-status models and we find they offer exceptional reliability, performance and comfort even after all these years.


1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE 3.2 (AMG)

We exported this 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE 3.2 (AMG), for example, to a happy customer abroad who appreciated the exhilarating response of its 3.2-liter straight-six engine that generates around 230 hp. Driving pleasure is further heightened by an aggressive exhaust note, tinted VIP windows, thick black leather seats, wooden garnishes and a sporty red carpet.

Mercedes-Benz officially partnered with AMG in 1990.

The above model was produced two years before Mercedes-Benz officially partnered with AMG in 1990 and is a good example of the remarkable AMG performance and craftsmanship that so impressed Mercedes-Benz and inspired millions of car lovers. With the 1990 agreement, Mercedes-Benz started offering AMG options and cars in its showrooms.


1990 AMG-Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II

Japan Car Direct exported this race-bred 1990 AMG-Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II homologation special to an ecstatic owner abroad. The Evo II is still famous for its battles with BMW at the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). Its engine wailed like a banshee when we tapped the pedal, and the 201 build number on the gearshift reminded us that this rare beauty is one of only 502 ever made. Talk about exclusive!


1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL 6.0 AMG

Released soon after Mercedes-Benz signed its collaborative agreement with AMG, this 1991 560 SEL AMG 6.0 originally marketed in Japan was in great condition with a mere 70,000 km on the meter. We affordably purchased it through a used car auction in Japan before exporting it abroad to a very thankful customer. AMG highlights include aerodynamic bodywork and a 6-liter V-8 engine that produces about 390 horsepower.


2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Our team recently exported this stunning 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG for a fraction of its original sticker price. Much more powerful than the standard SL500, it features a 5.5-liter V8 engine that’s supercharged instead of naturally aspirated and 0.5 liters larger in displacement. These enhancements result in 494 hp and 520 pound-feet of torque (versus 302 hp and 340 pound-feet of torque in the standard model) for zero to 60 mph acceleration in 4.6 seconds versus 5.8 seconds in the SL500.

2005 marked the full merger of AMG and Mercedes-Benz.

By 2005, AMG had made such a positive contribution to Mercedes-Benz sales and prestige that the company fully acquired AMG without the least hesitation. The many fantastic Mercedes-AMG models produced since 2005 are proof that it was a marriage made in heaven.

Smart shoppers find there is little to gain from purchasing a new Mercedes-AMG when so many great used models from the past are available at such lower prices in Japan. This is not just wishful thinking. Our conversations with satisfied customers confirm that big savings on Mercedes-AMGs bring big, lasting smiles.


2007 Mercedes-Benz CL550 AMG Sports

This luxurious, high-performance 2007 Mercedes-Benz CL550 AMG Sports we exported from Japan is known as the CL500 in most countries. Featuring 5-spoke alloy wheels, aerodynamic bodywork and the AMG Sport-Package, it was meticulously cared for by a devoted enthusiast in Japan. The 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque generated by its 5.5-liter V8 powerplant propels the vehicle from zero to 60 mph in a solid 5.4 seconds.


2009 Mercedes-Benz E350 AMG

We also exported this very fine example of a 2009 Mercedes-Benz E350 AMG to a customer in Europe and feel it embodies the value that used AMGs from the Japanese market offer customers abroad.

Used Mercedes-AMG prices are currently very attractive in Japan.

The used Mercedes-AMG models above that we exported abroad are just a small taste of what is available in Japan. We’ve been receiving a rising number of requests for used Mercedes-AMG models and suspect that smart shoppers around the world have come to realize what we’ve known for years at Japan Car Direct. Namely, that there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on a new Mercedes-AMG when such an unparalleled combination of performance, prestige, craftsmanship and value are available through used AMGs in the Japanese used car market.

While “cheap” isn’t a word usually associated with Mercedes-AMG, many used AMGs in Japan are currently available at surprisingly low prices that seem cheap when compared with prices abroad. Our staff members have been keeping up with the rising demand and working overtime to maintain our renowned standards of service.

Japan Car Direct knows Mercedes-AMG.

Enjoy hallmark AMG performance and driving dynamics for less by importing a used Mercedes-AMG from Japan with expert help from Japan Car Direct. Our vast experience with these models gives us an edge in finding just the right model for your needs from used car auctions, dealers and individual sellers in Japan. Whether you seek a Mercedes-AMG model with left or right-hand drive from the 80s, 90s or from the 21st century, we can help make the search, purchase and import process a breeze.

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  1. Logan says:

    Do you have any Mercedes c126 or w124 AMG for sale?


    1. Mathew Matusiak says:


      We source directly from auctions.


      Please register for access to the auction search engine.

      Thank you!

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