2021 Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Coupe Review

Understated performance is the name of the game when it comes to a Mercedes. We all appreciate a sleeper, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to stand out just enough to have people moving out of the way when they see you in the rearview mirror. With a completely redesigned front end, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 coupe certainly has that effect. 

It is the only AMG E-class coupe you can get. Under the hood is a 3.0L inline-6 turbocharged engine with EQ Boost instead of the bi-turbo V8 found in its bigger sibling, the E63. Does it pack enough punch to be a true AMG?

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz Canada, I was given the chance to test drive the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe for one week to find out. Below is my unbiased review.

The redesigned E53 certainly looks much more aggressive from the front with a Panamericana-inspired AMG-specific grille, serious looking headlights, twin power-domes on the hood, and a prominent A-shape bumper. 

The rest of the car remains elegant but exudes subtle aggressiveness and quiet confidence. The wide stance and beefy rear wheel arches give the E53 coupe a dynamic profile that is further highlighted by a set of 19-inch light-alloy wheels with a 5-twin-spoke design and bright red calipers. 

The flowy roofline of the coupe is capped by a subtle spoiler lip that stretches over the entire trunk. Below, the rear bumper houses a clever diffuser and a set of twin round tailpipes. Our tester is equipped with the optional AMG Carbon Fibre Package, which adds carbon-fiber mirror caps and spoiler lip.

While the exterior of the E53 is still somewhat understated, the interior of this AMG E-class coupe is anything but. The cabin is a treasure house filled with gadgets, mood lights, and premium surfaces that are nice to the touch. 

The dash design is gorgeous especially with the optional carbon fiber inlays and red contrast stitching. Mercedes’ interior is always a step above the competition, but there is an extra wow factor with the E53. Perhaps it is the fragrance in the air provided by in-car perfume located inside the glove compartment. Or the cool looking airscarf neck warming system located inside the headrests. In any case, our almost fully loaded tester is a great place to experience Mercedes-Benz’s latest innovations. 

With a fresh design, the AMG performance steering wheel has a flat bottom and twin horizontal spokes for a sporty yet elegant look. It can be wrapped in leather or in DINAMICA microfiber. Steering wheel heater comes standard, so is the built-in capacitive rim sensor which recognizes if the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel. 

The front seats are covered in Nappa leather and feature an AMG-specific design. They provide aggressive bolsters for excellent lateral support, and are very comfortable for long drives. The E53 is a true coupe, which means there are only two doors. To access the rear cabin, you will need to side the front seat forward and climb through the slightly restricted opening. Rear seats offer more legroom than other coupes I have been in, but this is not a place where two full-size adults want to find themselves in for an extended period of time. 

The E53 is equipped with Mercedes-Ben’s MBUX system that includes some AMG specific displays. The MBUX system offers multiple ways for drivers to interact with the system. 

First, the twin displays that are positioned right next to each other to appear as one giant widescreen. The left screen sits right in front of the steering wheel and displays important vehicle information like the speed, fuel economy, and the trip information. The right screen, which is also a touchscreen, sits right on top of the center console. It is multi-functional, and can be configured to show pretty much anything the user desires. 

The E53 allows the driver to choose between the three AMG display styles "Classic", "Sport" and "Sport+" for the instrument cluster. Via the AMG menu, the driver can pull up special driving displays data such as warm-up, g-force, set-up, and engine data. 

The second part of the MBUX system are the touch buttons on the steering wheel. They are different from the small square touchpads found in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Instead, capacitive switches are integrated into the surfaces of the steering wheel's horizontal twin spokes. Unfortunately, even with the haptic feedback, the touch controls are frustrating to use. It is hard to feel exactly where your fingers are and the gloss black surfaces are fingerprint magnets. 

Thankfully, there is another way you can control the many functions of the car without taking your hands off the wheel. That is via the LINGUATRONIC voice assist. It is a natural language smart assistant that functions like the Apple Siri or Google Assist. Simply say "Hey, Mercedes", or press the voice command button, and you can ask the car to make a phone call, plot a new navigation route, close the roller sunshade, or change the interior light color. The voice assistant can control basically anything that is not safety related. The system is smart enough to understand commands like "I am cold" or "I am hungry" to raise cabin temperature, or to find the closest restaurant.

The final part of the MBUX system is the trackpad that is located in the center console. It is missing the wrist pad, but the location of the trackpad is close enough to the heated center armrest for wrist support. 

Safety and Driver Assistance
The E53 comes with a long list of standard safety features:
  • Car-to-X Communication
  • In-vehicle, one-touch calling features
  • Active Brake Assist
  • Crosswind Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Traffic Sign Assist
  • Active Parking Assist
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • PRE-SAFE Sound
  • Adaptive braking technology
  • Brake Assist (BAS)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Advanced antitheft alarm system
Optional safety features include:
  • Dashcam
  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC
  • Active Steering Assist
  • Active MULTIBEAM LED Lighting System
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Active Lane Change Assist
  • Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function
  • Congestion Emergency Braking
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist
  • Active Speed Limit Assist
  • Enhanced Stop-and-Go
  • 360 camera
  • Route-based Speed Adaptation
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 coupe is yet to be rated by the IIHS or NHTSA at the time of writing, but the E-class sedan receives a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS and a 5 star crash rating from NHTSA. 

The E53 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0L inline-6 cylinder engine that produces 429 hp of power and 384 lb-ft of torque. An electric supercharger forces more air into the engine before the exhaust driven turbocharger kicks in. This gives the E53 a quick power boost at lower RPMs. On top of that is the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system that provides an additional 21 hp of power and 184 lb-ft of low end torque. This setup virtually eliminated turbo lag and propelled the car from 0-100km/hr in just 4.4s. 

The powertrain is coupled to the wheels via the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed automatic transmission and the 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. This is not a dual-clutch setup, but the shift time is still very short. 

The AMG engineers give the E53 dual personalities. In comfort mode, the transmission shifts effortlessly, and the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension provides a buttery smooth ride. In Sport and Sport+ mode, the transmission becomes instantaneous and responsive. The pleasant engine note of the inline-6 permeates into the cabin, and the suspension tightens up to provide great traction and cornering ability. The thrilling ride is further enhanced by satisfying pops and crackles with each upshift. The E53 certainly delivers the performance you would expect from an AMG. 

Fuel economy is surprisingly decent for the performance you get. It is rated at 11.2 L/100 km city and 8.5 L/100 km highway. My one week spirited test drive returns a fuel rating of 11.6 L/100km. 

Cargo Space & Storage
For a coupe, the 405L of E53's cargo space is quite good. Folding the second row seats down allows additional storage space inside the cabin. There is a collapsible plastic storage bin under the trunk floor, another thoughtful feature provided by the three pointed star brand. 

In cabin storage is average. The glove compartment is quite shallow, but the center console storage bin and the side door pockets are decently sized. 

Verdict The E53 Coupe may not pack a massive V8 under its hood, but it never fails to put a smile on my face every time I step on the gas. I like how the AMG team gives the E53 more character, both in terms of looks and performance. In addition, this Mercedes-AMG coupe delivers the luxury and ride comfort you would expect for the price tag. If you are a luxury coupe fan, this is the one to get. Test Vehicle 2021 Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Coupe

MSRP $90,900 CAD Base, $109,300 CAD as tested

Color Black


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