This is an age where buyers in both the luxury and general consumer markets are leaning heavily toward crossovers and SUVs rather than sedans. There are three big reasons, though, why luxury sedans like the Mercedes AMG E53 are still important. First, some people are just car people and prefer the sleek, refined look and feel of a sedan or coupe. Second, sedans are still preferable for many chauffeur services; though an elegant off-road vehicle is not as out of place as it used to be at formal events. Third, and more to the point, the lower center of gravity and better aerodynamics mean they're more fun to drive. The E53 shows how Mercedes-Benz has put these advantages to work in a well-appointed sedan with the latest German engineering and onboard technology.
Please review the numbers for the 2019 Mercedes AMG E53. How does it perform?
The Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 gets 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque from a 3.0-liter turbo I6 engine featuring the EQ Boost system, which is a mild hybrid addition with 21 horsepower of on-demand energy. The bottom line is 60 mph in 4.3 seconds in the E53 coupe. An electric compressor smoothes some of the turbo characteristics.
What's the exterior styling? What does AMG add?
The E53 is styled to stand out from E400/450 models with a bit more aggressive touch including a special AMG hood, additional chrome trim on the front grille and intakes, side trim, a front splitter and a quad-grouping of circular tailpipes plus a diffuser in the rear.
How's the handling? What are the suspension and steering details?
First reports are that the light-hybrid engine provides great response, especially on country or mountain drives. The handling can be somewhat neutral, especially in the city, but it depends on whether the driver has selected Comfort or Sport+, of course. As one reviewer noted this is the E53, not the more aggressive E63, and everything from the appearance to the power and handling is a bit mellower. The adaptive air suspension and fully-variable AWD system also help to add grace to the ride when desired.
How's the ride inside? What makes this interior so memorable?
Everything from steering wheel touch-sensitive controls to black leather and gloss black trim add elegance inside. An Alcantara headliner, a dash of red in the stitching and well-placed, bold vents and instruments provide a complex but not busy interior. Both front and back seating is comfortable and well-bolstered with well-distributed room for everyone to sit peacefully. The trunk makes it easy to keep the passenger area clear of anything that isn't needed for the ride.
How's the tech, how well does it blend into the E-Class experience?
The E53 presents enough tech that minimalists may be disgruntled. Two 12.3-inch displays handle infotainment interactions and instrument displays. Using Mercedes' COMAND system a 13-speaker audio system by Burmester or a 23-speaker optional coupe system provides balanced sound from audio sources including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers don't have to reach to control all this as the steering wheel touch controls keep the focus on driving. Amenities such as well-distributed USB outlets, a passenger-side 12-volt outlet, and plenty of safety and driver assist options provide a well-thought-out tech offering.
What about the driver assistance and active safety features? How far is Mercedes-Benz taking them?
Blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking are standard on the AMG E53. Also available are active blind-spot assist, active cruise control, warning for lane departures with lane keep assist and rear cross-traffic alerts. Head-up display and a 360-degree camera are also add-on possibilities. For the AMG E53, these are a la carte items.
What are overall impressions from test drives? Is this an AMG-styled version, or something which aspires to the designation?
It's definitely well beyond the trim and styling in AMG features. Test drivers have found the 3.0-liter turbo I6 a pleasure to drive, especially with the EQ Boost lightweight hybrid combination. The 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds for the coupe, 4.4 for the cabriolet definitely differentiates this car for test drivers. Balanced power distribution from the 4Matic AWD coordinated with the adaptive air suspension get reviewers thinking about the grip of the tires and where the most interesting roads in town are. Even in Sport+ mode it's still a commuter car, they say, but a fun one.