Contrary to popular belief, there are key changes underway at Mercedes-AMG. The high performance arm of Mercedes-Benz has built its reputation using big engines to make big power, in the finest muscle-car practice out there. We’re not complaining, but the lawmakers are.
Heeding that call, AMG is now offering a greener, more approachable alternative to its traditional big guns. The powertrain found in E53-badged cars combines a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six engine with electric support and Mercedes claims they are still worthy of the AMG name.
TWFLD recently had the E53 Coupe on road test with us. It’s worth mentioning that Mercedes offers the same powertrain in the convertible and sedan variants of the E-Class, as well as in the CLS and the AMG GT – which we’ll be sharing more in in the new year. Let’s jump right into our review of the vehicle, supporting images are by none other than our very own Tshego Mmahlatji.
The truth is traditional two-door luxury coupes are becoming a rare unappreciated commodity, but the E-Class coupe shows exactly why they should stick around. The basic exterior design, which lends itself heavily from the larger S-Class coupes, is simple and well balanced, a benefit of the car’s two-door configuration and rear-wheel drive platform. Here the E53’s body style finally gets a sporty powertrain to match its sleek styling.
At first glance, you’ll notice that the E53 also gets an AMG-specific grille, front and rear bumpers, and rear spoiler. Bonnet bulges are present to complete the look
Like all two-door coupes, style comes at the expense of practicality. The four-seat E53 coupe’s cabin space is decent for a vehicle of this form. When sitting in the front-seat, you’re overwhelmed by all the generous space and the rear seats even seem like they would be tolerable for a around town distance. But the E53 coupe should never be confused with a family car (sedan best fills that role). The coupe’s 283 litre boot space is enough for a weekend’s worth of luggage, and that’s about it. Anything more should be couriered to your destination.
Don’t let the boot space throw you off, the interior does have plenty of character. From the elaborate Burmester speaker grilles and carbon fiber trim, to the red seat belts and purple mood lighting, I felt like I was in a very sporty nightclub. Some of those details may not suit everyone’s tastes, but they sure make the cabin distinctive as well as sumptuous.
The vehicles features the COMAND infotainment system used in many other current Mercedes models. Our car boasted a 12.3-inch main display screen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster merged to form one long screen. It’s not the most graceful solution, but it does create a lot of real estate for immersive graphics. Its compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Our test car was kitted out with the optional driver assistance package, which includes Distronic (adaptive cruise control), active steering assist, active lane change assist, evasive steering assist, and a number of other driver aids we’d be lost without.
In every sense, the E53 is like every other AMG model. Mercedes’ goal was to achieve high performance with high petrol mileage, and it seems to have succeeded. As mentioned earlier, the powertrain consists of a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six engine bolted to a nine-speed automatic transmission, teamed with Mercedes’ EQ Boost mild-hybrid system. How does that work, you may ask? Essentially, an electric motor is sandwiched between the engine and transmission.
he electric motor can’t propel the car alone, but it does allow the engine stop-start system to operate more aggressively, and even allows the car to glide with the engine off under certain conditions.
What about performance, then? Mercedes said the E53 will do zero to 100 kmph in 4.5 seconds. And that’s true. On the road, the E53 coupe doesn’t feel like a traditional AMG car. That’s both a good thing, and a bad thing.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG E53 coupe is a great all-rounder, blending luxury, tech, and extraordinary performance. It lacks the raw force we expect from an AMG car, but that means buyers will also find it easier to go by with. Starting price for the AMG E53 coupe is R1.3m, but a host of optional extras, including a driver-assistance package, head-up display, and performance exhaust system, brought the price of our test car up drastically.