Mercedes-AMG E53 is reality of beauty and the geek
GO LARGE, or go home. That's been the hallmark of Mercedes-Benz's sporting persona AMG.
But one of the latest releases proves big isn't always better.
Swaggering into town is the E53 - slinging a turbocharged six-cylinder partnered to an electrical system which bolsters the performance for rapid take-offs.
AMG made a name for itself as the all guns blazing sporty offshoot, but this "middle ground” derivative proves smaller things can come in the same packaging.
There's still an amazing soundtrack hammering from the exhaust. Plus is can also sprint to 100km/h from standstill in less than five seconds. And from the outside it looks like an AMG beast from every angle.
The benefit of downsizing comes at the checkout. Opt for the V8-powered AMG E63 sedan and you'll be out of pocket $211,400 - the E63S starts at $240,900. Four-door E53s are on offer for $167,129 plus on-roads.
Yet this sexy two-door version has a sticker of $172,729. Drop-top versions are an extra $8700.
Externally it doesn't shout AMG credentials, but a "night package” with 20-inch alloys, lip spoiler and a combination of matt and gloss black treatments ensure additional exclusivity. Internal looks also meet expectations, with the now familiar dual 12.3-inch colour screens dominating the driver's instruments and centre dash position.
Other extras include an air fragrance system that works in tandem with "energising” comfort control for a more relaxing environment, soft nappa leather trim, wireless phone charging, panoramic sunroof and a 13-speaker Burmester sound system with smartphone mirroring apps.
Servicing is required annually or every 20,000km. Capped pricing will be available, but is yet to be finalised.
Top notch equipment rightfully comes standard. Among the highlights are a 360-degree camera, radar cruise control and lane change assist systems which offer semi-autonomous driving for about 30 seconds in highway conditions, along with emergency braking that uses radars and cameras to stop or dramatically reduce the speed of the car if a possible collision is detected. The bonnet can raise at the rear within milliseconds for additional pedestrian cushioning and protection.
Once the radar cruise control is set the E53 can also read road signs and adjust the speed accordingly.
Stamp on the accelerator and it's accompanied by an immediate punch. Every bit as quick as the statistics dictate, the combination of electric and combustion power occurs seamlessly.
The responsive electric compressor called EQ Boost is designed to offer additional firepower before the turbo kicks into gear. It works - and it works outstandingly well.
Power is primarily sent to the rear wheels, but when a loss of traction is detected it can be sent to any corner for all-wheel grip.
Press the exhaust button on the console for additional soundtrack enjoyment. Nothing can replace a V8, although the bangs and crackles from this powerhouse will rarely disappoint.
Ride quality is skewed toward those who like athleticism without compromise.
It's not hard-edged like the bent-eight models, more cushioned for daily activities and aided by the sumptuous chairs. Various drive modes are available, from Comfort through to Sport+, yet the E53 is forgiving with an ability to make the driver look better than they are...it's not a car for track day challenges, rather a chiselled luxury coupe with outstanding sporting genes.
Another benefit of the straight-six is fuel. Sipping premium unleaded, our average was nine litres for every 100km. Try getting that figure from a bent-eight.
While track days are fun I don't have the time nor the inspiration. AMG's V8 versions are brilliant, but the straight six-cylinder and the geeky electronics do the job just fine.
I look the part and the exhaust soundtrack is addictive. Performance driving doesn't need to involve blunt force trauma and I'll take the comfort over cornering prowess.
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For a "half-baked” AMG, it's brilliant. Sophistication meets sporting prowess in an exciting and intoxicating package.
AT A GLANCE
MERCEDES-AMG E53 4MATIC COUPE
PRICE $172,729 plus on-roads (hefty)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 3-yr/unlim km w'ty; services annual 20,000km (average)
ENGINE 3.0-litre 6-cyl turbo, 320kW/520Nm, 9sp auto (brilliant)
SAFETY 5 stars, 9 airbags, AEB, lane-keep, blind-spot, traffic sign recognition (excellent)
THIRST 8.8L/100km 98RON (not horrible)
SPARE Repair kit (not great but run flats are common)
CARGO 435L (reasonable for a coupe)