Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ review, test drive


Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+: What is it?

The Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ may not boast of the mighty AMG V8 that its E 63 sibling does, however, don’t for a moment think that it doesn’t deserve to bear the ‘AMG’ badge. The 3.0-litre, in-line-six turbo-petrol engine is nothing short of brilliant. Churning out 435hp and 520Nm, and mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox that sends power to all four wheels, the performance levels of the E 53 are rather impressive. Going from 0-100kph takes just 4.7sec, and that is without being equipped with launch control.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+: What is it like to drive?

However, more than the numbers, it is the driving experience that highlights how good the engine is. Power delivery is linear, rapid and impressively strong, thanks to the EQ Boost system that briefly provides an additional 22hp and 250Nm of torque during hard acceleration via the starter-alternator. The system thus negates any form of turbo lag in the lower end of the power band and makes for a seamless surge ahead. It also feeds the 48V on-board electrical system that operates most of the engine accessories, and that means the engine is completely beltless.

Straight-six engine also gets EQ Boost with extra 22hp.

Harnessing the power isn’t a challenge the E 53 loses to, squeeze your right foot, and instead of squabbling in tyre smoke, this AMG darts ahead with tremendous grip. The 4MATIC+ might be a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, but it can send power where it is needed. 

What’s also nice is that, unlike the bigger E 63 S, the E 53 has a split personality. In the city, ambling about, it feels like any other well kitted-out Mercedes. The engine is calm, the exhaust is subdued, and the cabin well insulated. However, select Sport+ and it transforms into something completely different. The exhaust gets throaty, the whole car hunkers down to its lowest ride height and the powertrain becomes even more responsive. It shifts from Mercedes to AMG at the touch of a button. This is the mode you’d want to thrill your senses. The sportscar feel, exhaust cracking and popping as you lift off, and the fantastic sense of speed and control. 

Speaking of the exhaust note, not having a V8 isn’t a handicap when it comes to aural performance. It’s raspy and, as the speed gains, it elevates a few notches up. Add to that the pops and crackles and tunnels are an absolute delight.

Adjustable ride height is a huge plus on our bad roads.

Also worth mentioning is how incredibly responsive the 9-speed gearbox is. Shifts are smooth, but quick, and you can opt for a fully manual mode that gives you total control over the gearbox. What is another huge boon to have is the lift system for the suspension. This means you can raise the E 53 and clear bigger bumps. The firm ride quality is expected on an AMG, but in ‘Comfort’ mode, the bumps aren’t as harsh as you would imagine. Handling is impressive, thanks to the sharp and direct steering, and body control is good too, with the E 53 sitting tight on a set of twisties. That said, it can’t mask the size and bulk, nor does it shrink around you. It is a proper big boy this.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+: What is it like inside?


No racy carbon fibre here, but you do get top-notch luxury.

But, it is the duality of its character that is most impressive. For all the performance that you get, you don’t miss out on any of the luxury. You don’t get a spec of carbon-fibre on it and even though there is red stitching around the cabin with sporty looking red seat belts, it is still more Mercedes than AMG. The dual screens, a blend of piano black and brushed aluminum on the dashboard and the impressive features list point to this being an E-Class first. Still, you get AMG bits like the ‘Track Pace’ functions in the MBUX that allow you to be your own race director. You can choose between drag race, circuit race and even time yourself, and see the data right in front of you. It all feels gimmicky on the road, but get it into the ideal setting and you’d appreciate these bits a lot more. The steering too is chunky and grippy, and although the plethora of controls means you feel like operating a gaming console, it takes no more than a few hours to develop muscle memory for all the rather intuitive functions.

In the rear, you might not have the extra room to stretch like on the standard longer-wheelbase car, but there is decent space on offer along with individual climate control, panoramic sunroof and sun blinds all around, making your mundane commutes that much more comfortable. There is also a 13-speaker Burmester sound system, in case you want to escape the sporty exhaust note.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+: What is it like on the outside?

Then there’s the design, and in this aspect the E 53 leans towards what a ‘sleeper’ is. On the outside, especially in white, it is easy to overlook its AMG cred. There are tell-tale signs like the sporty bumpers up front along with the big Panamericana grille and the power domes on the bonnet. Over to the side, there is the ‘4MATIC TURBO’ badging and unique-looking 19-inch alloys. The rear flaunts a sporty bumper with a diffuser and twin exhaust tips poking out. You won’t confuse it for a regular E-Class, but it will take a brief glance to notice the AMG in it.

Aside from the alloys, there’s little else that screams AMG.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+: Should you buy one?

Priced at Rs 1.02 crore, the E 53 is a good Rs 68 lakh cheaper than the bigger E 63 S and, to be honest, it is a lot more useable with a far better price to performance ratio. Sure, it might not have the raw and alpha appeal of the E 63 S, but it is a proper performance car that is easy to live with, offers all the creature comforts and can be used as a daily driver. And pay no heed to the ones saying “it’s not a proper AMG”. It very much is.

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