Could the Mercedes-AMG E53 be the best AMG on offer?
When you want a hot Mercedes, then their 63 badged AMG tuned models are, in some cases, without equal. They pack massive amounts of power and are usually highly entertaining to drive. However, they can be intimidating, dangerous, and you could end up in a very unfavorable situation if you take liberties with the cars. In recent years we have seen slightly less violent AMG models enter the market, these are however not lesser cars, in fact they offer an equally entertaining driving experience.
Take for example the Mercedes-AMG E53 which was recently updated. The Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe 4Matic+ fills the gap that exists between the 4-cylinder E300 Coupe and the monstrous V8-engined E63 S sedan. The E53 is a sweet spot, it offers usability with an entertaining performance. One needs to dig deep to exploit the power offered by the E63 S and in order to do this, you need space, an open road with no obstacles. The E53 is different though.
The Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-6 petrol engine that develops peak outputs of 320kW and 520Nm, which sounds decent, however, the powertrain also features the brands' EQ Boost system, which offers an additional 16kW, as well as a substantial 250Nm of torque. Mercedes-AMG claims a 0-100-kph time of 4.4 sec thanks to a 9-speed TCT gearbox and all-wheel drive. What we like about this is that one can easily exploit the power on offer, you can actually use it. The car remains fast but manageable, easy to drive and there is a light footedness to it that encourages you to push harder. It’s a lovely thing, made even more so by a very un-AMG like engine note synonymous with a six-cylinder. All the pops and bangs are there which adds to the occasion.
The E53 Coupe does a good job of feeling smaller than it actually is when you're driving it, but make no mistake, this is a near 2-tonne car – that weight will always have an impact, no matter how clever the self-levelling suspension and all-wheel-drive system are. That said, out on a quiet country road this car truly impresses. The car rewards you with a surprisingly little body roll and reasonably precise and quick steering.
When you do calm it all down you will have time to admire the interior which is a highlight in our opinion. The interior updates applied to this facelifted model are minor but include a new AMG Performance steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons for the controls. It's a nice-to-hold, flat-bottomed item that features a 2-tiered control layout, two rotary dials with colour screens are used to select driving mode and other performance settings.
Mercedes-Benz's latest MBUX multimedia system incorporates 2 large screens that flank one another, replete with crisp graphics and marvellously precise responses to touch inputs. As this is the E53 Coupe, you also get AMG-specific menus and readouts. We love how the technology has been incorporated into what is otherwise a classic, retro-like interior. Another standout visual plus for us is the ambient lighting which can be found just about everywhere, even in the round air-vents.
Despite being two-door, the E53 Coupe offers significantly more cabin space than its rivals from Audi and Lexus. Combine the generous occupant space with a large boot capacity, a claimed 425 litres and you have a genuinely useful grand tourer.
Add to this the fact that the car is available with a soft-top roof and you have the ideal coastal cruiser, as for us though we would opt for the hardtop coupe model.