Driven: 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe
I’m going to start this review in full honesty. I expected the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe to be a disappointment. After all, the E43 that it replaces was, for lack of better words, a ‘poor mans’ E63. How could anything possibly make up for the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 that should have been lurking under the bonnet? Well, Mercedes-Benz SA dropped one off for us to review and it was rather interesting.
Let’s start off with the styling of the big coupe. The overall design is smooth and flows rather well around the car. This is quite a major contrast to the styling of previous E-Classes and I think it was a good decision, especially on the E53 Coupe. Up front are a set of automatic LED headlights that sit on either side of a menacing AMG grille. The front bumper also houses a large, central air inlet between two decorative air inlets. My favourite design piece of the front of the E53 is the absolutely massive bonnet with its angry lines that flow up into the roof and further back into the panoramic sunroof.
The rear of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe is reminiscent to the S-Class coupe with some hints of the SLS-AMG, and is very simply designed. The roofline slopes into the boot lid and is topped off by a subtle lip spoiler. Below that, two horizontal LED tail lights, but these are not normal taillights. They feature a glittery finish inside which is hard to describe but very nice to look at. They really mesmerise you and almost distract you from the aggressive, round quad-exhausts that are housed in the lower bumper. It was refreshing to see some real exhausts on a new Mercedes, but I was disappointed upon a closer look that revealed that they were indeed fake. Looking at the bright side, at least Mercedes is making an effort to hide them better.
The interior is in line with the newest Mercedes design philosophy, with your attention immediately drawn to the massive widescreen display that extends from the centre of the car all the way to the end of the drivers side. The screen is split into two, with the centre bit handling infotainment and the drivers side acting as a fully digital instrument cluster. The infotainment screen is controlled by a dial in the centre console, as well as two touch pads on either side of the new multifunction, flat-bottom steering wheel. Apple CarPlay is supported through USB and there’s also a wireless charger included.
The model that we tested was equipped with the standard Mercedes sound system which I found to be extremely horrible. The volume seemed to adjust itself and was never consistent, and the maximum volume was actually very soft. To add insult to injury the instrument cluster replaces some album art with the Burmeister logo. Bad sound aside, the rest of the cabin is next level. The interior lighting makes it feel like a spaceship, and creature comforts like three-zone climate control, electrically adjustable heated seats, air fragrance and the heads up display make the E53 Coupe a really nice place to be in.
Now let’s get into the real business - the performance. The AMG badge doesn’t find its way onto a car for nothing, so my expectations were high. The Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe is powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six engine, couple to a pair of turbochargers and a mild hybrid system, adding 16kW of power and around 250Nm of torque to bring the total output of the E53 Coupe to 336kW of power and 520Nm of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission usually sends the power to the rear wheels, but will split it up across all-four wheels through the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system if it detects any loss of traction.
I was blown away as soon as I started the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe for the first time. The exhaust note was just a preview of what I was about to experience. See, the benefit of electric assistance is that a lot of torque is available much earlier, and this results in the E53 accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4,4-seconds before reaching its top speed of 250km/h, or 270km/h with the optional Drivers Package. For such a big car, the coupe surprised me with how agile it could be when I pushed it. The exhaust sound was also a highlight for me. It starts off with a reasonable growl and progresses to a screaming mad howl of petrol combusting and turbos spooling. Then once you let go of the gas, you’re rewarded with some decent exhaust pops and bangs.
I think the E53 Coupe makes a lot of sense. You want performance, but not at the cost of comfort and luxury. You want an aggressive car that can also be tame and respectful. This is why you would take an E53 Coupe over an E63 Sedan.
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