Power comes from Mercedes-Benz’s new 3.0L inline six-cylinder engine.
I’ve always been more of a sedan guy than a coupé guy, despite two out of the three cars in my personal garage having just two doors. The added practicality of a four-door suits my lifestyle, but there’s something to be said about a big and brawny coupé with no B-pillar and imposing looks. When the new E-Class Coupé was redesigned for 2018, it arrived in just one configuration, the E 400 (reviewed here). This year, it has been replaced with the E 450, and expanded to include this, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe 4MATIC+.
The E 53 is very similar to the CLS 53 (reviewed here) we road tested recently and they even share the basic underpinnings, but the skin-deep differences impress. The E-Class Coupé is now on the same platform as the sedan – this is noteworthy because the previous generation was actually based on the C-Class. It’s a drop-dead gorgeous design, especially in the blacked-out spec that our test vehicle came in. The optional LED exterior lighting is stunning to look at, and the large 20” aluminum wheels give the E 53 the perfect stance.
Power comes from Mercedes-Benz’s new 3.0L inline six-cylinder engine. As in the CLS 53, it’s turbocharged and has electric supercharging for the low end. As expected, it pulls like a freight train with impeccable smoothness only an inline-six can deliver. The 21-horsepower EQ Boost motor works with the gasoline setup to produce a combined 429 horsepower. Torque is rated at 384 lb-ft., which is available from 1,800 to 5,000RPM. This is quickly becoming one of my favourite powertrains out there, with excellent response and quick reflexes that cause the E 53 to drive like a much smaller car than it is.
The 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system monitors driver inputs and conditions in real time, and appropriately distributes torque between the front and rear axles. Mercedes-AMG says that it uses electro-mechanical coupling between the axles to maximize stability and performance for all conditions. This system can send up to 100% of available torque to the rear. Our test took place in warmer spring conditions so we didn’t get to really push the AWD system, but the E 53 Coupe handled our favourite twisty country roads with poise and eagerness.
A performance exhaust system is one of the better examples in the business, though the pops and crackles are very much artificial. They’re not piped in through sound synthesizers, but the fuel dump into the exhaust to make these noises isn’t nearly as natural as a large-displacement naturally aspirated V8. It’s no different than the loud Jaguar F-Type (reviewed here) or the latest crop of BMW M cars. Don’t get me wrong – it still sounds fantastic; it’s just the modern take on sound that most new performance vehicles are being equipped with.
Opening the large doors wide and entering the cabin, it becomes evident that this E 53 has the latest and greatest that Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The interior of our test vehicle had a combination of leather and carbon fiber accents, with perfect fit and finish that only the Germans can deliver. The seats in this AMG application were well bolstered and had plenty of adjustment to get the perfect driving position immediately.
The feature set in the current E-Class is impressive, but my favourite part of the interior has to be the variable ambient lighting setup. A variety of themes and colours is available, and the themes seamlessly change between colours in the different lighting “zones”. For example, there is a sunset/fire theme that switches between reds, deep oranges and fiery yellows. The footwell lighting alternates between reds while the trick lighting inside the air vents switches imperceptibly between oranges and yellows. It’s beautiful at night and adds significantly to the appeal of this car. Driving down the highway at dusk with the windows down and the sunroof open, the lighting contrasted perfectly with the sun and clouds and made for a lovely spring drive.
Fuel economy ratings for the E 53 Coupe 4MATIC+ are 12.3L/100km city and 8.5L/100km highway, with a requirement for 91-octane fuel. We did a huge chunk of city driving during our weeklong test, and saw an impressive average of 9.4L/100km. In the past, inline six-cylinder engines, while extremely smooth and responsive, have been inefficient. It’s great to see that sacrifices aren’t being made in the name of technology, and performance cars such as this can be efficient as well.
Starting at $86,000, the E 53 commands a $11,000 premium over the E 450. Our test vehicle was loaded with options and stickered at just over $100,000. It’s not exactly a value proposition, but this car really only has one competitor. The Lexus RC F claims to be much more of a hardcore performance car (read: it isn’t), but has a similar price point and power numbers. While its naturally aspirated V8 is tempting, the Mercedes is the one to have between the two. The BMW M4 is also comparable money, but targets a very different demographic than this – Mercedes has the full-blown C 63 to compete with that one.
We’ve spent a ton of time behind the wheel of these new 53-series cars now, and they really all that they’re made out to be. The EQ Boost feature really does help overcome any turbocharger lag that would otherwise be there, and the suspension damping is just right for a luxury car with performance credentials. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe is a true executive coupé with the bite to match its bite, and plenty of luxury kit to complement it perfectly.