by Roger Biermann
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan is the mid-level AMG-performance variant of the Mercedes E-Class range and the first introduction of mild-hybrid performance for the Mercedes lineup. It forms part of the fifth-generation E-Class introduced for 2017 but is an all-new derivative for the 2019 model year. It reintroduces the inline-six configuration to Mercedes-Benz, bringing with it a dose of 48-volt electrification, upping outputs to 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, driven via a nine-speed automatic transmission to the 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system. The EQ Boost starter-alternator provides additional outputs of 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque when required. With those figures, the E53 is capable of hitting 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, placing it in comparative territory alongside the BMW M550i xDrive Sedan, as well as the Audi S7. It offers a fine balance between drivability and trackability - but in all honesty, it is a master of neither. Although exceptionally appealing in many aspects, including a beautiful interior and a safe drive, it does ask a relatively hefty sticker price of $72,550.
For 2019, the AMG E53 Sedan replaces the 2018 AMG E43 Sedan in the Merc line-up. It receives a moderate facelift which includes a new twin-blade radiator grille with a black lattice pattern, an A-wing inspired front bumper with two striking power domes, AMG side sill panels, rear bumper with diffuser insert, and round quad tailpipes with a chrome finish. It is equipped with a new inline-six turbo engine coupled to a 48V electrical system with EQ Boost starter-alternator and fitted with a new AMG Performance steering wheel in black Nappa leather with red 12 o'clock marking.
The Mercedes-Benz design factory cranks out yet another cookie-cutter design here, making it difficult to tell the E-Class apart from larger and smaller siblings. Thankfully, the E53 receives a few specialized elements to help set it apart from being any old E-Class. It rides on 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke lightweight alloy wheels with black accents and is fitted with LED daytime running lights, LED headlamps, and LED taillamps as standard. A new element is the chrome diamond-block grille and power-dome hood, as well as the round quad-tailpipes that will feature on all half-baked AMG models going forward. Gloss black exterior accents, a power tilt-and-sliding tinted glass sunroof, and an auto-dimming driver-side mirror are standard-fit as well.
In motion, the Mercedes-AMG E53 rides 4.5 inches from the tarmac; it spans a total length of 195.2 inches, 115.7 inches of which constitute its wheelbase - much the same as the BMW M5. At 81.3 inches wide and almost 58 inches in height, it's no surprise the E53 weighs in at 4,341 pounds. In comparison to the CLS53 with which the E53 shares its platform, it measures four-inches shorter but only sacrifices an inch of its wheelbase; it's wider and taller than the CLS opening up a bit more space in the cabin. It weighs 106 pounds less than the CLS, too, and runs slightly closer to the ground.
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 is available in one of nine exterior color options. Black and Polar White are standard price inclusive options, while Obsidian Black, Iridium Silver, Lunar Blue, and Selenite Gray Metallic can be had at an extra $720. The striking designo Cardinal Red Metallic can be equipped for an additional $1,080; the designo Diamond White Metallic offers a more elegant look and costs $1,515. For a sedate yet classy option, the designo Selenite Gray Magno can be had at $3,950. The Selenite Gray Magno is well worth the extra charge as it gives the AMG E53 a truly unique appearance and contrasts superbly with the chrome diamond-block grille and gloss black exterior accents.
Essentially, the position of the E53 in the market is to deliver an appealing balance of luxury as a high-end Mercedes, and performance as an AMG derivative without going all-out to the standards set by the E63. It achieves both, but not to a markedly competitive level. In a track environment, the AMG E53 races from 0-60 mph in an orderly 4.4 seconds while its top speed potential is electronically limited to 130 mph. For comparison, the 2019 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan manages to cross the 60 mph barrier in only 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. The 2019 Audi S7 gets to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. While the AMG E53 is certainly capable, it doesn't do much to stand out and will most probably only excite die-hard AMG fans.
The 2019 AMG E53 is equipped with the Mercedes 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system. This setup transitions from rear-wheel to all-wheel-drive and vice versa according to driving conditions and the drive mode selected.
The new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six hybrid engine features an integrated EQ Boost starter-alternator and operates in conjunction with an electric auxiliary compressor located between the engine and transmission. The engine itself develops 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, supplemented by the EQ Boost with an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. The electric auxiliary compressor instantaneously provides a high-pressure charge for a faster increase in torque before the large exhaust gas turbocharger kicks in, completely ousting any potential for turbo-lag.
Consequently, flat-out acceleration off-the-line is rapid and robust, followed by consistent, ample power delivery; driver input translates to brisk and continuous development of power. The mild-hybrid configuration also provides imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function, which is a considerable benefit, especially during inner-city driving. Driving the outputs to the 4MATIC+ AWD system is a nine-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox delivers consistently seamless shifts and its configuration adapts suitably to each drive mode. It remains highly responsive to manual shifts as well. Overall, the powertrain and transmission setup feels refined, but ultimately lacks the aggression we've become used to associating with the AMG badge.
The independent AMG Sport Suspension which the E53 is equipped with is based on air body control and is softer than the E63's hardcore suspension; still, it is tuned for performance, which means it's on the firmer side. As a result, the sedan handles minor road imperfections and undulations with poise, while more prominent bumps and rougher surfaces are clearly felt through the cabin. Overall ride quality is smooth and leisurely as the sedan cruises quietly in ECO and Comfort modes. Pushed to the limits, it remains reassuringly planted to the road when taken around bends and exhibits minimal body roll. The steering is accurately responsive and lines up with the nose of the sedan consistently. Along with the suspension, the steering weighting is suited to each drive mode, comfortable for daily driving and tightened up with the Sport and Sport+ modes. The brakes provide ample stopping power and the pedal's responses to driver input remain consistent throughout. The soundtrack from the straight-six engine is visceral and, along with the performance it accords the E53 with, adds favorably to the driving engagement and its sporty character.
As a mild hybrid geared more towards efficiency over outright performance, the general ride sensation lends itself to a casual, relaxed experience. As such, it may not be as engaging and dynamic as comparative rivals such as the BMW M550i xDrive, but it certainly raises the bar and adds some spice to the standard, non-AMG sedan.
Gas mileage estimates from the 2019 AMG E53 are average at best, receiving EPA-confirmed figures of 21/28/24 mpg with city/highway/combined driving cycles respectively. The 2019 AMG CLS 53 receives very similar estimates of 21/27/23 mpg while the 2019 BMW M550i xDrive - a key rival - fares much worse, with estimates of only 18/25/20 mpg. Premium unleaded gas is required for use in the AMG E53's 21.1-gallon gas tank which, when full, allows it a total range of around 485 miles.
Mercedes has built the AMG E53 with meticulous attention to detail, with tried-and-tested superior construction, use of high-quality materials, and the inclusion of state-of-the-art vehicle features wrapped in one of the most striking interior designs this decade. Key touchpoints are outfitted with high-quality soft-touch materials, and fittings and fixtures are firmly joined; panel gaps are consistent, too, indicating high standards of assembly. The cabin design, styling, and setup give off a contemporary impression of luxury and is appropriately ergonomic with the seating, armrests, and controls positioned intuitively. In comparison to other rivals, the cabin room is subpar although adequate. The seats are spacious and highly contoured for excellent support, but are quite firm and can get uncomfortable after long hours on the road. The cabin and features are aimed primarily at giving the driver everything they need, but some thoughtful elements are included to assure passengers of their importance too. This includes a rear USB port and A/C vents in the back and available tri-zone climate control.
The AMG E53 is a four-door sedan that seats five occupants in exquisite indulgence. The front sports seats feature power-adjustability, heating, ventilation, memory, and dynamic bolstering. All seats are adequately supportive, but could be more comfortable; for a luxury vehicle, the cushioning is thin with a firm impression that can get wearisome after long stints behind the wheel. Occupants do have an abundance of head and legroom to appreciate though, which, along with the wide-opening doors and great seating height, make for easy to live with ingress and egress. The highly adjustable seating and steering column make locating a suitable driving position and sufficient all-around visibility a cinch for any size driver.
At base level, the E53 is upholstered in Black MB-Tex/DINAMICA with red stitching, which can be paired with either aluminum, natural grain brown ashwood, natural grain black ashwood, or brown ashwood trim at no additional cost. For an additional $2,990 the interior can be switched to Nappa leather, available in black, black with red stitching, Nut Brown and black combination, or Macchiato Beige with black accents. The Metal Weave trim costs an additional $600, while the designo Black Piano Lacquer "Flowing Lines" wood trim adds $1,300 to the invoice price. Choosing the AMG Carbon Fiber trim package will set you back an additional $2,850.
The trunk in the AMG E53 opens conveniently wide and is favorably deep; for added convenience, it features hands-free access and an electronic closer. It is also fitted with a grocery bag holder. With a total capacity of 13.1 cubic feet, a family of four can easily fit all their luggage for a week-long vacation. The latches that release the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats are also located in the trunk, which is a useful feature in itself.
Storage solutions within the cabin include practically sized door-side pockets all around, a sizeable center armrest console and glovebox, as well as a sunglasses-holder. Another console with dual cupholders is placed conveniently for front-passenger access, and a small key slot is available together with a cellphone holder. The rear center backrest folds down to reveal dual cupholders and a small storage console as well.
Featured as standard in the sedan is an illuminated entry system, remote start via Mercedes' me connect mobile app, keyless-start, power-folding and heated side mirrors, and 64-color LED ambient lighting. It is fitted with a tilt-and-telescoping Alcantara three-spoke sports steering with paddle shifters and touch-control buttons, power-adjustable heated and ventilated sports front seats with memory and dynamic bolstering, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, and a trunk with hands-free access and electronic closing. It also features an inductive wireless charger with NFC pairing, dual-zone automatic climate control, a HomeLink garage door opener, and a rearview camera. As an AMG vehicle, it is also fitted with an AMG Dynamic Select drive-mode controller and an advanced tire pressure monitoring system, while the PRE-SAFE group of systems provides driver assistance and collision avoidance functionality, augmented by optional features like lane change assist and rear-impact detection.
The infotainment setup is based around the 12.3-inch high-resolution COMAND center display, located alongside a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The setup is paired to a thirteen-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio and FrontBass configuration and is controlled via the remote touchpad controller or steering wheel touch control buttons. The system comes standard with COMAND navigation with three-years no-charge online map updates, SiriusXM Radio, an HD Radio receiver, and three-years live traffic service by TomTom. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality are included as standard along with Bluetooth audio streaming, enhanced voice control, and inductive wireless charging. For device charging and connectivity there are two USB ports located within the center armrest console, and another USB port located at the rear of the center console for rear occupant use. There's an in-dash SD card reader for added functionality.
The E-Class sedan may have been part of a number of recalls in recent years, but as an all-new derivative, the E53 is largely exempt and in sedan guise has not been recalled at all. Still. J.D. Power rated the 2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class range with a below-average predicted reliability rating of two-and-a-half out of five. The AMG E53 is covered by Mercedes-Benz with a standard four-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty and offers additional warranty and service extension options ranging from two-years/20,000-miles to four-year/40,000-miles.
The 2018 year model of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class with which the 2019 AMG E53 shares its platform, received a top overall crash test safety rating of five out of five stars from the NHTSA. The IIHS rated the 2019 Mercedes-Benz four-door AWD E-Class model with a top score of Good overall, along with a rating a Superior for its Front Crash Prevention systems.
Equipped on the AMG E53 as standard are LED daytime running lights, headlamps, and taillamps, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera. It features an advanced system of seven airbags with nine-way occupant protection, including dual two-stage front airbags, combined thorax and pelvic bags for the driver and front passenger, a driver's knee airbag, and side curtain airbags for both seating rows as standard. Advanced driver assists available include active brake assist, attention assist, crosswind assist, and blind-spot assist. It is also installed with an advanced tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability program, and Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Sound suites to prevent crashes and minimize their effects if unpreventable.
The 2019 AMG E53 Sedan is a wonderful car to drive. Within the segment, the AMG E53 stands out only by virtue of its impeccable interior which is meticulously well-built and features high-quality materials; it is fitted with state-of-the-art vehicle features, as well. At its default level, the sedan is kitted out with a decent range of advanced driver-assist and standard safety features which, along with its excellent build-quality, scored it excellent crash test safety ratings. It does receive a low predicted reliability rating, but it seems largely due to faults on other derivatives. In terms of performance, the AMG E53 performs admirably, despite not outgunning any one of its key rivals. It does offer drivers a unique offering in terms of comfortable daily drivability and routine performance, thanks to its AMG infusion, while the new inline-six is buttery smooth and tuneful to boot. There is also a range of attractive optional packages and standalone add-ons that allow for appealing personalization, so while the AMG E53 doesn't necessarily blow the competition out of the water, it is a worthy contender among rivals.
For the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 prospective buyers can expect a starting MSRP of $72,550. Opting for a fully-loaded AMG E53 by equipping all the available packages culminates in a total price of $79,740. These figures are excluding Mercedes' destination and delivery charge of $995 and standard US tax, registration, and licensing fees. Dealer-specific incentives may be offered by independent traders who may also offer independent pricing structures.
There is only the single hybrid AMG E-Class Sedan within the 2019 lineup and is therefore reviewed here as a standalone model. It is by default equipped with a single powertrain setup comprising a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo engine coupled to a mild-hybrid system and a nine-speed automatic gearbox and 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system. As an AMG vehicle, it is also equipped with an AMG Sport Suspension, torque vectoring performance brakes, three-stage ESP with Dynamic Cornering Assist, an AMG Sport Exhaust System, and electromechanical power steering as standard. It also features the AMG Dynamic Select with ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual drive modes. On the technological and luxury front, the E53 - like the rest of the E-Class range - features a dual 12.3-inch high-resolution infotainment display and a 12.3-inch digital display instrument cluster. Positioned as an upscale top-end luxury vehicle within the market, it is fitted as standard with a comprehensive range of safety and assistance features.
|AMG E53 4MATIC Sedan||
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Hybrid
An Exterior Lighting Package fits the AMG E53 with LED Intelligent Light System headlamps and Adaptive Highbeam Assist for an additional $800. The $1,050 Warmth and Comfort Package adds a rapid heating feature for front seats, heated front armrests, and a heated steering wheel. An Air Balance Package is also available and is priced at $350, adding an Air Balance cabin-air purification and cabin fragrance system.
For $800, the Sun Protection Package can be equipped to install a manual rear-side window sunshade and a power rear-window sunshade. The Rear Safety Package adds rear-seat side-impact airbags and rear-seat belt-bags for $650. The $1,290 Parking Assistance Package comprises Active parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view system, and is quite a necessary add-on to go for.
We'd recommend the Driver Assistance Package, which costs $2,250, and provides for the following additions: active distance assist via DISTRONIC, steering and evasive steering assist, blind spot assist, lane-keeping assist, and lane change assist. It also equips a variety of brake assist functions that include brake assist with cross-traffic function, congestion emergency braking, and emergency stop assist. Active speed limit assist, the PRE-SAFE PLUS rear collision detection system, route-based speed adaptation, and extended restart in stop-and-go traffic round out this comprehensive package.
The AMG E53 Sedan is the only hybridized AMG sedan available within the 2019 lineup. It is based on the E-Class platform, equipped with a newly developed inline-six and mild-hybrid system fused with some AMG essentials. As such, the AMG E53 is a perfect offering of contemporary Mercedes luxury-comfort paired with AMG-performance. Some of the available optional packages would prove worthwhile, most notably the Driver Assistance Package, which adds a thorough, extensive range of advanced driver assists to the vehicle. The Parking Assistance Package and Rear Safety Package are also good options to include and round out a well-specced model overall without encroaching on the full-blown E63's price.
Positioned in the market with a price that is only $1,900 more than the 2019 AMG E53, the 2019 BMW M550i already deems itself a noteworthy alternative. Equipped with a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, the M550i produces superior outputs of 456 hp and 480 lb-ft, leaving the AMG E53 in the dust with a quicker 0-60mph dash. From a standstill, the M550i manages this in half a second quicker than the Merc, proving to be the better performance-based sedan. However, the BMW is a lot more inefficient in terms of fuel economy and doesn't offer Android Auto functionality at all. Additionally, its Apple CarPlay functionality is subscription-based whereas the AMG E53 offers them both as standard along with a host of other superior vehicle features. Overall the BMW M550i offers the ultimate in performance capability, taking center stage as the value-for-money performance buy in this comparison.
Both of these Mercedes-AMG models are equipped with the same powertrain and thus share outputs and performance specs. The AMG E53 is, however, slightly more fuel-efficient by virtue of its lighter chassis. The AMG E53 also offers marginally improved cargo capacity in the trunk, and better rear cabin headroom compared to the sloping cabin of the CLS 53. The CLS 53 does come with a lot more safety features though, including advanced driver assists and general vehicle features that are standard, as opposed to optional on the E53. Deciding whether these additional standard features are worth the $5,350 more you'd pay for the CLS 53 is subjective. But, considering that the two vehicles perform identically in many aspects and that the features the E53 does not have over the CLS 53 can simply be added via the optional packages, we consider the E53 the better buy for the money.