Mercedes AMG E53 Saloon (2016-2020) review
It’s easy to overlook the Mercedes AMG E53 Saloon when the brawnier E63 is stealing the limelight. However, it’s nearly as quick and costs less to buy – if still quite a lot to run
What's not so good
Find out more about the Mercedes AMG E53 Saloon (2016-2020)
It’s easy to get confused with the sheer number of Mercedes AMG models these days but, put simply, the Mercedes AMG E53 saloon sits between the range-topping E63 and the rest of the Mercedes E-Class range like a fairly spicy – but not overwhelmingly hot – curry in a three-piece takeaway menu.
To continue the culinary analogy, this high-performance AMG-tuned E53 version is also available in coupe, estate and a drop-top cabriolet flavours.
Inside, the Mercedes AMG E53 Saloon gets plenty of sporty tweaks to help it stand out. There are lashings of leather, brushed metal trims and a flat-bottomed steering wheel alongside red contrast stitching and some more supportive sports seats with real leather upholstery – unlike the standard Mercedes E-Class’ man-made upholstery.
Speaking of which, the standard E-Class Saloon’s 8.4-inch infotainment screen has been ditched in favour of a pair of 12.3-inch displays. Together, they form an almost seamless widescreen that replaces conventional analogue dials and makes the E53 feel every bit as modern inside as the more expensive E63.
Electrically adjustable seats also come as standard, and there’s plenty of headroom in the front so you should have no trouble getting comfortable. There’s loads of space in the back and the rear doors open nice and wide and even passengers over six-feet tall will have plenty of leg and headroom to stretch out. It’s a breeze to fit a child seat using the clearly marked Isofix anchor points, too.
And, you’ll have no issues carrying your passengers’ luggage because the Mercedes-AMG E53’s 540-litre boot is identical to the standard E-Class’ and comes with three-way (40:20:40) folding rear seats as standard. Just the thing for carrying long luggage in the boot with enough space leftover for two people to sit in the back seats. Flip all three back seats down, and there’s even space for a bike.
For many, the Mercedes AMG E63 will be a financial step too far. The E53 is cheaper, but doesn’t feel it inside, and offers very nearly as much performance
With a 435hp turbocharged petrol engine to play with, however, you probably won’t be too keen to take the bike out for a spin. The Mercedes AMG E53 Saloon will blast from 0-60mph in less than 4.5 seconds – thanks to the grip afforded by the standard four-wheel-drive system – and on to a top speed of 155mph.
Doesn’t sound like enough? Well, pay extra for the AMG Driver’s Pack and Mercedes will kindly bump this up to 168mph. Handy on the Autobahn, perhaps, but less useful when you’re stuck in traffic on the M25 during rush hour. If that sounds like your usual commute, you’ll probably appreciate the E53’s standard nine-speed automatic gearbox and air suspension more than its outrageous acceleration.
You also get cruise control as standard to help take the sting out of lengthy motorway journeys and there’s also an automatic emergency braking feature that helps prevent avoidable collisions. Annoyingly, you have to pay extra for lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot detection cost extra, which feels like a bit of an oversight in a high-performance saloon car.
Still, despite this, the Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate is still quite a bit less expensive than the raucous E63 model, yet delivers similar real-world performance in a practical package that’s even easier to live with.