Mercedes AMG E53 Estate (2016-2020) review
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
What's not so good
Find out more about the Mercedes AMG E53 Estate (2016-2020)
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 fire-breathing E63. It’s a similar arrangement to the Audi S6 Avant, which sits below the RS6 version.
The Mercedes-AMG 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; a 3.0-litre straight-six unit replaces the old car’s 3.0-litre V6.
The tweaks aren’t limited to changes under the bonnet, though. The Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate’s interior looks just as plush as in the old car but adds a new flat-bottomed steering wheel that looks just like the one in the range-topping E63.
On this new wheel, you’ll find some touch-sensitive pads to control the E53’s dual-screen infotainment system. This is the same futuristic-looking unit you get in top-spec versions of the standard Mercedes E-Class Estate and consists of two whacking great 12.3-inch screens. One deals with the sat-nav and smartphone mirroring features, while the other replaces conventional dials with a configurable digital display. It’s all pretty simple to use, but the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice commands aren’t a patch on BMW’s similar system.
Easier than using this system, however, is getting comfortable in the Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate. All models get electrically-adjustable seats and the extra-long runners mean that you’ll have plenty of space to stretch out, even if you’re very tall. Those sitting behind you are also well catered for – the E53 Estate is wide enough for three adults in the back, legroom is good and headroom is better than in the E53 Saloon thanks to the estate’s flatter roof.
This roofline is also partly responsible for the E53 Estate being significantly more practical than the saloon. 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. Put simply, the E53 is one of the most practical fast 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 biggest draw lies under the bonnet. Here, you’ll find a 3.0-litre straight-six unit that produces 435hp.
Add to this the E53 Estate’s standard 4Matic four-wheel drive, and you’ll find this practical family estate can launch from 0-60mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Yes, that’s a second slower the E63, but it’s still mighty impressive for something that can fit an EU-standard pallet in the boot.
The adaptive air suspension also means you can choose to make the Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate it as sporty or as comfortable as you’d like. And, when you’re not barrelling around pretending to be Lewis Hamilton on his way to the tip, the E53’s standard nine-speed automatic gearbox is wonderfully smooth and easy to use.
You also get cruise control as standard to help take the sting out of long drives, and automatic emergency braking comes fitted to every model to help prevent avoidable collisions. Sadly, lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot detection cost extra which feels a bit cheeky in a high-performance, and high-cost, estate car.
That said, the Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate is still significantly less expensive than the full-blown E63 Estate, yet delivers similarly effortless performance in an equally practical package that’s even easier to live with.