If you’ve wanted a V8 powered Mercedes E-class in coupe form, you are unfortunately out of luck. The only AMG E-class coupe that you can get is this 2021 Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Coupe. But while it doesn’t have a V8 engine under the hood, does the E53 maintain the sporty & luxurious characteristics that Mercedes coupes are known for?
Engine – Instead of a bi-turbo V8 that the E63 AMG Wagon receives, this E53 AMG Coupe has a 3.0L inline-6 cylinder engine. It is capable of producing 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque (320 kW & 520 Nm). In a car that weighs in at 2,010 kg (4,431 lbs), the 0-100 km/h time is a very respectable 4.4 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz.
However, while this engine makes a good amount of power, it’s also quite clever thanks to the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system. No, you cannot drive it on electricity alone like in a normal hybrid vehicle but instead this 48-volt system provides an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque (16 kW & 249 Nm). This extra boost of power is not provided all the time but in most situations when accelerating. It uses an electric motor that is integrated between the engine and transmission as well as an electric supercharger. The electric supercharger can provide nearly instant boost to the turbocharger, virtually eliminating turbo lag and reducing the boost threshold. But at the other end of the spectrum, the EQ Boost system also aids in saving you fuel.
Fuel Economy – For a car of this size with this much power, the fuel economy rating is very good. Officially the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Coupe is rated for 11.2 L/100km (21 MPG) in a city and 8.5 L/100km (27.7 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the car, I managed to average 10.2 L/100km (23 MPG).
Transmission – Shifting is done by a 9-speed automatic transmission. In Comfort mode it is pretty much forgettable as the shifts are buttery smooth. But you really notice those shifts once you switch the car to Sport+ or Race mode. However I think that was intentional by the engineers to add to the excitement. It’s not a dual clutch transmission but, as near as makes no difference, as fast as one.
Braking – Stopping the E53 AMG is no problem thanks to the 370mm front discs and 4-piston fixed calipers. In everyday driving, you barely have to apply any pressure to stop the car. Under more spirited drives, the pedal feels firm and it gives you the confidence to stomp on it with force. Emergency automatic braking is also standard.
Handling – The E53 is only available with 4Matic AWD. But it’s not just regular 4Matic, it’s 4Matic+. This allows the 4Matic+ AWD system to send up to 100% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. So if you’re not careful and you have stability control turned off, you can still get the back end to step out of line. Also if you equip the E53 AMG with the Track package, it unlocks the Race and Drift modes.
But when you just want to set lap times on a track or have some fun on a mountain road, the E53 AMG has tons of grip. You do feel the weight going through a fast corner but the steering feel is quite good for a luxury coupe like this.
Ride Comfort – The Mercedes E53 AMG comes equipped with air suspension that can change stiffness depending on which mode you’re in. In Comfort mode, it absorbs bumps and road imperfections with ease. In Sport mode it reduces more of the body-roll and in Sport+ it becomes much more stiff but not completely uncomfortable to drive on city streets.
The seats further add to the comfort by providing good support for your back and thighs. They are of course heated and ventilated and it also features heated armrests on the door panels and center console.
Interior Space – At 6’4” I have just enough space in the front for my long legs and head. However I did have to put the seat all the way at the bottom and have a slight recline of the seat back. In the back there are only 2 seats and while there is a tiny bit more space than in other coupes, it’s not a place where you want to find yourself if you’re an adult. However for shorter trips, you could survive in those back seats. The rear trunk is quite generous for space at 405L (14.3 cu-ft) and the E53 AMG Coupe has 40/20/40 split folding rear seats.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Although this is not the E63 with the V8, this inline-6 still produces some nice tones. At higher rpms it is a screamer and with each upshift, there’s a pop that comes from the exhaust. When you take your foot off the throttle, the exhaust crackles and pops which further adds to the driving enjoyment. But when you want to behave like a civilized person, the E53 is nearly as quiet as an S-class. As well, the auto start/stop system is seamless when firing up the engine.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – This 2021 Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Coupe 4Matic+ has a starting price of $90,900 CAD (77,300 USD). The 2022 model year received a price increase of $2,800 CAD to $93,700 CAD (77,600 USD). This, almost, fully loaded demo vehicle had a price tag of $109,300 CAD ($94,940 USD).
Gadgets – This being a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the list of gadgets – and some gimmicks – is long & extensive. Of course you will find the usual crop of convenience features such as soft leather upholstery, heated & ventilated seats, surround view cameras, sunroof, head-up display, navigation, and so on.
However, there are other features that I’d categorize as gimmicks. The climate fragrance system is one where it fills the cabin with a refreshing scent. But even on the lowest intensity setting, the scent is overpowering and induces coughing; at least to me it does. Another gimmick is the air scarf system. In some cases it works as advertised with warm air being blown on the back of your neck. But with all windows rolled down, you don’t feel it as much and if you’re wearing a jacket with a hoodie, it’ll just end up heating your hoodie rather than your neck.
Having said that, there are a few unique and functional features in the E53 AMG – as options of course. The heated armrests are one of them as is the foot activated power trunk. You can also get the E53 with a built-in dashcam, augmented reality for the navigation system, soft close doors, and an excellent multibeam LED headlight system. It will use the high beams while driving on poorly lit roads and will only partially dip the headlights if another vehicle approaches.
Interior Design – The Mercedes E53 AMG is still part of the same 5th generation E-class that was introduced back in 2016. As such, the interior is not drastically different but this 2021 model year sees a few updates. The infotainment system is MBUX 1st generation, the rotary knob to control the infotainment is now a touchpad (it can also be controlled via voice controls or the touchscreen), and the steering wheel features updated capacitive touch controls which I really hate. The new controls are very finicky to use and you end up making an incorrect selection far too often.
The rest of the interior is just as stylish as before, especially at night with the ambient lighting system. Thankfully the current E-class still has physical buttons for the climate and quick access menu items such as navigation, radio, favorites, etc. One thing to note, the blind zone visibility is excellent in the E53 AMG Coupe because it does not have a b-pillar to obstruct your view. Rear visibility is a bit more obstructed due to the sloping roof but it’s not too bad.
Exterior Design – The E53 AMG received a few styling tweaks to the front bumper to reflect the current design language of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. It looks similar to the current generation C-class and S-class but with the Panamericana grille. The rest of the body has smooth flowing lines and is instantly recognizable as a luxury coupe.
Warranty – Just like every other Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the 2021 E53 AMG comes with a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle warranty. It also comes with 4 years / unlimited km roadside assistance, 4 year / 80,000 km surface corrosion, and 8 year / 130,000 km warranty for certain emission parts. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For U.S.A. warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – So while the E53 AMG Coupe is not available with a V8 engine, it still exudes the characteristics of a luxury coupe. It’s not too sporty like the Aston Martin Vantage but it’s also not as soft as the Bentley Continental. Better yet, it’s much less expensive than both. This E53 AMG Coupe does the job that it was designed to do very well. It is a comfortable long distance cruiser that turns heads everywhere it goes. It may have stiff competition from the Lexus LC500 and the BMW M850i but it is significantly less expensive than both. So you can almost call the Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Coupe a bargain.
Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mercedes-Benz.ca