It's hard to believe that the E-Class was launched in the USA a full seven years ago and is about to be replaced, as it's still a competitive premium mid-size sedan. So, while it's hardly new anymore, the Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan still makes a convincing argument in the in-between performance class shared with the similarly old BMW 5 Series, of which the competing M550i xDrive is also due for replacement next year. The Audi S6 is only two years newer, so there's a distinct lack of fresh metal from the German Big Three in this segment. The E53 boasts a 429-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine and slots in above the normal E-Class range and below the high-performance AMG E63 versions. The 444-hp V6 Audi follows a similar template, making the V8-engined 523-hp BMW by far the most powerful contender here. Does this also make it the default choice, considering it costs the same as the E53 and therefore provides vastly superior bang for your buck? Or does the E53 still have a trick up its sleeve?
The 2023 AMG E53 Sedan is the last model year for the German sedan, and it sails off into the sunset essentially unchanged, with only a few tweaks to the available trim and paint colors. Its price does increase by a not-insignificant $6,300 for a $81,300 MSRP.
The price of a 2023 Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan starts at $81,300, excluding extras or the $1,150 destination fee. As there's a sole E53 trim on offer, what you get and what you pay will depend on the extras you add. The car is already quite expensive, so we'd only add the Driver Assistance package at a cost of $1,950 to equip the car with all the missing features that we feel should really have been standard at this price. This includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. Other safety assists that come with the package are evasive steering assist and lane-change assist.
The interior still looks modern, despite its age, with expansive dual MBUX displays taking pride of place. Standard features are comprehensive, and interior space class-competitive.
The dominant feature of the AMG E53's interior is the MBUX infotainment system, with its dual 12.3-inch displays sitting atop the dashboard and a broad trim strip containing four round air vents underneath them. It's solidly constructed from high-quality materials and still looks modern despite the age of the car. Various interior trim pieces are finished in satin silver, but the mostly black environment is a bit somber unless you go for one of the lighter color schemes. A flat-bottomed AMG Performance steering wheel contains touch-sensitive controls that take some getting used to, and it's trimmed in Nappa leather, just like the seats. Thanks to a fairly conventional three-box design, it's easy to get inside through large doors, even in the rear.
There's quite sufficient interior space, with four adults of most heights easily accommodated. Headroom isn't as much as you'll get in a crossover, but it's still very good for the sedan class. Even the second row offers plenty of scalp clearance because the E doesn't have a coupe-like profile. Rear legroom is marginally worse than in a 5 Series or S6, but not by much. The S6 has the most room to stretch out, despite having the shortest wheelbase. As is usually the case, the center rear seating position is not very comfortable and should be reserved for occasional use - three passengers abreast in the back are going to compete for shoulder space.
All three Germans offer feeble trunk space, but the AMG E53 is the worst, with only 13.1 cu-ft on offer - less than the S6's 13.7 cu-ft and the M550i xDrive's 14 cu-ft. Trunk volume can be increased by folding down the 40/20/40-split rear seat, but Mercedes doesn't say by how much.
Interior stowage spaces are decent enough, with the usual glovebox and front cupholders provided, along with a lidded center-console storage bin, a front-cabin wireless charging pad, and four door pockets. The rear fold-down armrest houses a shallow storage bin and two pop-out cupholders.
|Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan||Audi S6||BMW M550i xDrive|
|37.5 in. front|
37.6 in. rear
|38 in. front|
38.1 in. rear
|38.8 in. front |
37.5 in. rear
|41.7 in. front|
36.2 in. rear
|41.3 in. front|
37.4 in. rear
|41.4 in. front |
36.5 in. rear
|13.1 ft³||13.7 ft³||14 ft³|
Nappa leather seats are standard, but a rather somber atmosphere prevails with the standard black color scheme. Thankfully, you can opt for various other interior colors, such as the no-cost Nut Brown/black or Macchiato Beige/black. Titanium Grey/black with red stitching also doesn't cost anything extra.
The no-cost trim options include Natural Grain Black Ash Wood, Brown Ash Wood, Natural Grain Brown Ash Wood, Natural Grain Grey Ash Wood, and Aluminum with either a longitudinal or carbon grain. At extra cost, you gain access to Manufaktur Piano Black "Flowing Lines" Lacquer ($1,300) and AMG Carbon Fiber ($2,850).
The steering wheel is trimmed in Nappa leather, but it can be ordered in a combination of Nappa leather and microfiber for $500. The cloth headliner can also be swapped for a microfiber one for $1,600, and red seatbelts cost nothing extra, but only go with the Titanium Grey/black interior color scheme.
Mercedes can sometimes be a bit stingy with the standard features, but barring an item or two, the AMG E53 Sedan is mostly very comprehensively equipped. It comes with Nappa leather upholstery, power heated front seats with a three-position memory feature for both, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and start, a power sunroof, dual-zone climate control, an electronic trunk closer, remote start, and adjustable 64-color ambient interior lighting. Features such as soft-close doors, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats are all found on the options list.
The MBUX infotainment system employs dual 12.3-inch digital displays - one a gauge cluster and the other a touchscreen - but can be controlled via voice commands or a console-mounted touch controller as well. Features include navigation with free over-the-air map updates for a year, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth audio streaming, SiriusXM, HD Radio, a wireless charging pad, front-cabin USB-C ports, and a 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system. You pay extra for a Wi-Fi subscription, a head-up display, rear-cabin USB ports, the MBUX Interior Assistant, and the AMG Track Pace app.
|AMG E53 4Matic Sedan|
|Heated power front seats|
|Nappa leather upholstery|
|Dual 12.3" displays with navigation|
|13-speaker Burmester audio system|
Performance is on par with the Audi S6, but well behind the BMW M550i xDrive. Most people will be most pleased with the way in which AMG has provided best-in-class gas mileage along with spirited sprinting ability and sports-sedan handling.
The engine in the Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan is a turbocharged and inline six-cylinder with mild-hybrid assistance. It makes 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. This might be the AMG Lite version of the E-Class, but AMG hasn't cut any corners with the E53; the drivetrain comprises an AMG Speedshift TCT nine-speed automatic transmission and AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive. In terms of performance, the silky operation of the engine and the torque-filling ability of the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system ensure seamless but rapid progress, and it effectively eliminates turbo lag. The 0-60 sprint of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan takes just 4.4 seconds - identical to that of the Audi S6. Both come a distant second to the 523-hp V8-powered M550i xDrive, though, which is the performance leader in this class, posting a blistering 3.6-second time. The E53's top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. Trailering is off the menu for AMG sedans, and the E53 has no rated towing capacity, nor can you order a factory tow hitch for it.
The E53's AWD system doesn't have the V8 AMGs' RWD and drift modes, but few owners would mind - you would need a race track and a limitless supply of rear tires to enjoy that party trick anyway. What you get is a pleasingly RWD-biased handling balance, tightly strapped down by adaptive air suspension. Five driving modes help tailor the powertrain and suspension settings to prevailing conditions, but unlike the very firm E63, the E53 stays supple and absorbs road scars well despite its sporting pretensions. This makes it a better all-rounder and daily driver, and in Comfort mode, the suspension slackens off, and the nine-speed auto almost imperceptibly swaps cogs when you just want to take it easy. Yet, it's still capable of covering ground at a truly rapid rate, thanks to its punchy engine and its ability to remain unperturbed by pockmarked roads. AMG Performance brakes with 14.6-inch front rotors ensure that the E53 stops as well as it goes, even under duress.
It might not be the quickest in its class, but the six-pot engine with mild-hybrid assistance pays dividends elsewhere, and that's gas mileage. In fact, the EPA estimates for the Mercedes-AMG E53's mpg figures are a highly impressive 21/29/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. That beats the S6 and the M550i soundly.
With its fuel capacity of 21.1 gallons also being the highest in this group, the E53's expected combined range is a full 506 miles, a whopping 146 miles more than the BMW will manage.
|3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas |
|21 / 29 / 24 mpg|
Safety is good, and features such as automated parking and a surround-view monitor are welcome, but it's disappointing that adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking cost extra.
There isn't a safety review of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan specifically, but the E-Class Sedan achieved a perfect five-star rating for all crash evaluations from the NHTSA - an excellent result. The E-Class did similarly well at the IIHS, earning all-round Good scores and a Top Safety Pick+ award for 2022. However, the award is only for models with the optional driver assists equipped.
With nine airbags and the obligatory backup camera, tire-pressure monitoring, ABS brakes, and stability control, the E53 has the basics covered. You get front-collision warning and automatic brake initiation, but no adaptive cruise control, no full automatic emergency braking, and no lane-departure warning - very disappointing at this price, and considering these are the only glaring omissions in an otherwise comprehensive safety suite. Adaptive cruise control with stop & go, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, evasive steering assist, full automatic emergency braking, speed-limit assist, and more cost extra via the $1,950 Driver Assistance package.
You do get crosswind assist, automatic LED headlights with automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automated parking, a surround-view monitor, and rain-sensing wipers as standard, but you pay extra for a head-up display ($1,100) and adaptive headlights ($750).
|AMG E53 4Matic Sedan|
|Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert|
|Adaptive cruise control|
|Automatic emergency braking|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The reliability of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan seems good, with JD Power giving the E-Class range as a whole a score of 81 out of 100 for Quality & Reliability, specifically. There have so far been only two recalls for the 2023 AMG E53, for a software error in the exit-warning system and for a fuel pump that may shut down while driving, causing a loss of drive power. The fuel-pump issue applies to the 2022 E53, too, in addition to three more recalls - an unsecured 12V battery that may disable some safety features, a misrouted wiring harness that may corrode and short circuit, an error in the steering wheel's hands-off detection software, and a malfunctioning seatbelt locking retractor.
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan's warranty cover is fairly typical, with both the limited and powertrain warranties valid for four years/50,000 miles.
The AMG E53 Sedan received a facelift two years ago to tide it over until the redesigned 2024 E-Class arrives, and its exterior is typical of a Merc sedan: a smooth shape and a tapering rear that looks elegant but is partly responsible for the small trunk. The Panamericana grille has vertical slats, and there are three aggressive air intakes in the front fascia to advertise its sporty intent, with quad oval tailpipes and dark-tinted taillights featuring in the rear. LED headlights are standard, as is a power tilting/sliding sunroof, but a panoramic power sunroof costs $1,000 extra.
The car runs on 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke alloys, but various 20-inch designs are available. Other exterior enhancements include a dark tinted grille ($450), an AMG Night package ($750) that blacks out the exterior trim, and an AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber package that adds plenty of carbon bits for $1,750.
The AMG E53 Sedan is a great car and possibly the nicest in the E-Class range, giving you strong performance and sports-sedan handling with better comfort than the V8 AMGs - and at a substantially lower price. But production comes to an end after this model year until the next-gen E53 arrives, so you'll be sitting with a discontinued car on your drive pretty soon if you buy the old one now. The same applies to the M550i xDrive, but a least that's a great deal quicker. The S6 is a little newer, but that doesn't necessarily make it better. The E53 is still an excellent premium mid-size sports sedan that offers a class-leading combination of performance, comfort, and fuel economy.
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