Next to the Herculean E63 Estate, the E53 Estate may seem a little semi-skimmed, but it gets eight-tenths of the performance for a lesser price. A lesser price, mind, not a cheap one
Getting your head around the new Mercedes-AMG models is tricky, but a simple rule to follow is that E53 models sit between the regular E-Class range and the E63. It’s a similar arrangement to Audi’s S models, which sit below the RS versions.
The E53 Estate was introduced in 2018 and it replaces the E43 Estate. The exterior differences are subtle, mainly revolving around the front grille, but the biggest change is the new engine: 3.0-litre straight six replaces the 3.0-litre V6.
In addition to the exterior and engine, the E53 Estate also has a few, minimal tweaks inside the cabin. What remains is the same impressive quality, with soft man-made leather covering most of the plastics, while the buttons are made from solid, quality-feeling metal. Overall, the E53 Estate cabin is beautifully made and well appointed, and it’s pretty easy to get your head around the layout. The main interior upgrade in the E53 Estate over the E43 Estate is the new flat-bottomed, leather-trimmed steering wheel that’s the same as in the E63 Estate. The new steering wheel comes with extra buttons for better control of the infotainment system.
Speaking of which, the E53 Estate gets the top-spec infotainment system offered for the E-Class Estate. You get two fairly large 12.3-inch screens in front of you – one is for the infotainment system and the other shows you dials and other configurable driving information. Yes, the new buttons on the steering wheel do give you better control over the infotainment and the colorful graphics are pleasing to the eye, but a BMW iDrive system is more intuitive to use.
What’s definitely intuitive is the seat adjustment in the E53 Estate. All models get electrically-adjustable seats and the extra-long runners mean that you’ll have no problem getting comfortable, even if you’re very tall. Those sitting behind you are also well catered for – the E53 is wide enough for three adults in the back. Legroom is good and headroom is better than in the E53 Saloon thanks to the flatter roofline of the E53 Estate.
That flatter roof is a hint at the practicality hidden under the E53 Estate’s sleek body. With the seats up, you have about 640 litres of space, which is easily enough for a couple of large suitcases and a few soft bags. Drop the rear seats and space increases to a class-leading 1,820 litres, which needs a pretty big IKEA trip to fill to the brim. Put simply, the E53 is one of the most practical estate cars on sale.
If you want a quick Mercedes estate car but can’t live with the aggressive looks of the E63, the E53 is perfect
However, you don’t really buy an AMG Mercedes for practical reasons, do you? As is the case with many other AMG models, the real reason for the price tag lies under the bonnet. Here, you’ll find a 3.0-litre straight six that develops a respectable 435hp. That’s almost 100hp more than the original E55 AMG Estate, so don’t think the E53 is going to be slow.
Far from it, in fact. Thanks to standard 4Matic four-wheel drive, the E53 Estate makes impeccable launches, even in slippery conditions, and blasts you from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. Yes, that’s a second slower the E63, but it’s still mighty impressive for something that can fit a EU-standard pallet in the boot.
The adaptive air suspension also means you can choose to make it as sporty or as comfortable as you’d like. And, when you’re not exploring the sporty side of its nature, the E53 Estate is wonderfully easy to pootle around in thanks to the slick-shifting nine-speed auto gearbox.
A five-star safety score from Euro NCAP for the regular E-Class is also a good indication of how safe this high-performance model is. But, you can also be pretty relaxed on your commute knowing that you’re under the protection of the standard automatic emergency braking. Cruise control is fitted to every model, too, but anything fancier – such as lane-keep assist or blind-spot alert – is an optional extra.