by Michael Butler
In a world dominated by in-your-face performance cars such as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Nissan GT-R, it's refreshing to see that some manufacturers still enjoy building vehicles that are much, much faster than their exterior appearances might suggest. Now we're not saying the 2020 Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan looks completely tame, but it could definitely pass for an Uber Black taxi. Powering this German sleeper is a turbocharged inline-six that produces a silky 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque aided by a mild-hybrid system called 'EQ Boost' that adds a handful of extra power, allowing it to sprint to sixty in only 4.4 seconds. The hybrid system also takes care of ancillary systems to free the engine up to perform its primary duty, and the secondary electric turbo it powers, mitigates turbo lag almost entirely. That's not the only trick up its sleeve, however. The E53's interior is a beautiful place to sit in, it's comfortable to drive and more than capable of delivering a true sports car experience, and we think it speaks volumes by not saying much at all.
When it debuted for 2019, the Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan was already an impressive package, so the 2020 model car doesn't see any major design or performance upgrades. However, Mercedes-AMG has thought it good to offer a few previously optional features as standard for the new decade. One of our favorites is the new Emotion Start system, which gives the AMG exhaust system a louder bark upon startup to scare small children and BMW drivers. Other additions include a slippery driving mode, illuminated door sills, and optional matte fiberglass interior trim. There are also two new performance steering wheels on offer and steering-wheel-mounted buttons for selecting driving modes are now also available.
Mercedes-Benz's range of mid-size E-Class executive sedans has always been more of an understated choice, adored by business people who appreciate a luxurious driving experience, but don't want to shout about it. So the 2020 E53 Sedan fits the bill perfectly, although some might think it's too understated for something wearing the AMG badge. AMG has gone about adding more aggressive design features such as sculpted side sills, a chrome diamond-block grille, a power-dome hood, as well as a deep rear valance with quad round tailpipes and good-looking 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke alloy wheels, but the end result is still a car that wouldn't get second stares from most people. Some standard exterior features include full LED lighting, a power tilt/sliding glass sunroof, as well as optional features such as a panoramic roof, AMG carbon-fiber trim, and 20-inch AMG alloy wheels.
The E53 is officially classified as a luxury midsize sedan and is visibly much larger than its compact sibling, the C-Class. Total length is measured at 195.2 inches, which is a significant 10.2 inches longer than the C43 Sedan. The E53 AMG rolls on a 115.7-inch wheelbase and front and rear track measurements come in at 64.1/62.9 inches, respectively. The E53 isn't a small car by any stretch of the imagination, especially when you consider its 81.3-inch width measurement with wing mirrors included, and its total height of 57 inches. Series production AMG sedans have never been too worried about keeping the curb weight down, and the 2020 E53 tips the scales at 4,341 lbs.
The term 'Stealth Bomber' comes to mind when you see a 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan for the first time; most ordinary folk won't realize that this big sedan, which looks like it should be the official carrier of the wealthy nationwide, is actually a very capable performance car. This stealthy notion is enthused by the fact that Mercedes-AMG doesn't offer its executive rocketship in any loud or bright colors: new owners will be able to choose between two standard colors, namely Black and Polar White at no additional cost, but the real standouts such as Selenite Gray Metallic, Obsidian Black Metallic, and Lunar Blue Metallic will set you back $720. If we were the ones doing the shopping, we'd have it in designo Selenite Grey Magno, a matte gray which costs a cool $3,950, although designo Cardinal Red is a worthwhile metallic option that stands out from the crowd.
This big German bruiser hides a massive amount of performance potential under its corporate-friendly exterior, and 60 mph is reached in only 4.4 seconds, its wide torque band offering brutal in-gear acceleration. As with all AMG performance sedans, driving around town is a relaxed experience, and other than a slightly stiff ride, you'd never suspect a thing. The newly developed inline-six purrs along and only wakes up when you demand a bit more go when overtaking or merging onto the highway. With such accessible power, the E53 is a pleasure to drive in the city and out in the suburban battlefield. The EQ Boost integrated starter-generator system also plays a big part in the E53's excellent throttle responses, by feeding a so-called electric supercharger for instantaneous boost and adding an extra 21 hp to help mitigate turbo lag, all while powering accessories such as the air conditioning system. Much like the full-fat E63 sedan, the E53 makes use of Mercedes' 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system, matching the ongoing trend of high-performance sedans going for all-paw grip.
Instead of lumping a big turbocharged or naturally aspirated high-compression V8 under the hood, Mercedes-AMG has gone with a newly developed inline six-cylinder engine - Mercedes' first in nearly two decades - with a big turbo strapped to the side. This setup delivers silky-smooth power delivery of 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, which is enhanced even further by the addition of a 48-volt hybrid system called EQ Boost, and an electric auxiliary compressor. This system makes use of an integrated starter-generator and a lithium-ion battery to run traditionally belt-driven components such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor. The starter generator also sends an additional 21 hp down the driveshaft at lower rpm to help get things up to speed even quicker. The massive torque band between 1,800 and 5,800 rpm is what makes this car feel so fast; allow the nine-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission to do its thing, and you're catapulted into the open space directly in front of you. The standard paddle shifters respond quickly to inputs, especially when driving around in Sport or Sport Plus mode, but even when left to its own devices, the auto 'box is fluid and behaves impeccably.
You'd be convinced that the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan was a much smaller car once you get behind the wheel. The E53 shrugs off the fact that it tips the scales at nearly 4,500 pounds and offers a seriously impressive drive, on and off the track. The standard adaptive air suspension setup, based on the Mercedes-Benz Air Body Control system, uses specialized calibration sensors to respond to changes in road surfaces within milliseconds and gets the balance of comfort and stiffness right nearly all of the time. It will also automatically lower the car at certain speeds to further enhance the car's handling stability and efficiency. Switching from track-ready bruiser to highway cruiser is done in seconds, but crisp and beautifully balanced steering responses are a constant feature. The E53 offers one of the best blends of performance-oriented driving dynamics and comfortable cruising ability in its class.
Yes, it may weigh as much as an adult rhinoceros, and offer more horsepower than two Honda Civic Si Coupes combined, but Mercedes-AMG has managed to keep the gas-mileage figures impressively low. That EQ boost integrated starter-generator plays a big part here; it not only reduces weight when compared to the previous belt-driven setup, but frees the engine from parasitic engine loss. The end result is a mid-sized turbocharged performance car that will deliver an EPA-rated 21/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined. What's even more impressive is the fact that it is more efficient than its lighter and less powerful sibling, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Sedan, which can only manage 19/27/22 mpg. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan is fitted with a 21.1-gallon fuel tank, which gives the car a maximum fuel range of around 506 miles.
Performance might be the name of the game over at Mercedes-AMG, but these special hotrods have also become adored for their excellent interiors, which combine superior comfort and refinement with a performance edge that's hard to beat in its class. The beautifully flowing dashboard design is dominated by the dual instrumentation and infotainment screens, and unlike the competition from fellow-German rivals Audi and BMW, the Mercedes-AMG E53's interior feels more expressive and captivating. All 2020 cars come standard with premium features such as power front seats with memory and four-way power lumbar support, and a four-way power steering column and side mirrors for the driver. The power-adjustable seats are also heated, and occupants are welcomed by 64-color LED ambient lighting, and AMG illuminated front door sills.
The plush interior of the 2020 E53 is as spacious as it is refined, and will seat up to five average-sized adults in comfort. The shape of the E53's exterior lends itself to an equal distribution of headspace, with front passengers getting 37.3 inches of clearance, while back seat occupants get an even better 38.2 inches. Legroom in the front is a solid 41.7 inches, and most adults won't complain about the 36.2 inches of space in the back. The wide E53 offers its passengers a good 57.8 inches of front and 57.1 inches of rear shoulder room. AMG sport seats provide ample bolstering without sacrificing comfort, and the standard heating and available ventilation and massage functions are exceptional. A broad range of power adjustment ensures it's easy to find an ideal driving position.
Mercedes-Benz has a way of making old-timey materials such as polished wood and beige leather look good, no matter what the circumstance, and you'll find that lots of car collectors are starting to value these types of interiors more and more on the auction market. The E53 is no different: sure you can have your interior done up in black and carbon-fiber, but there are a ton of other interesting combinations you can look into. Standard cars get black MB-tex/Dinamica seats with red stitching and red seatbelts, but you'll have to pay extra for Nappa leather which includes black with red stitching, Nut Brown, as well as combinations of Macchiato Beige/Black and Nut Brown/Black. The interior inserts of the E53 can be decked out in natural Grain Brown Ash wood, Brown Ash wood, AMG carbon-fiber, and even Matte Silver Fiberglass - the latter a little too glitzy in our eyes. From cutting-edge modern design to old-school timelessness, the E53 offers it all.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan offers a disappointingly small amount of trunk space and is one of the smallest in the class at only 13.1 cubic feet. To make matters worse, the trunk opening is tight, and there's a high liftover, which can make loading groceries and other stuff a daunting task. Mercedes-Benz did think things through and included a fold-down rear bench and a rear bench passthrough for longer items, and owners will be pleased to discover a large underfloor trunk compartment. The trunk might be on the tight side, but occupants get a first-rate amount of space for smaller items such as wallets and house keys in a generous glove compartment and a spacious center console storage bin. Four cup holders are also placed throughout the cabin and felt-lined pockets can be found on each door.
The E-Class has always been one of Mercedes-Benz's most feature-rich models, but AMG models get some extra love when it comes to comfort, entertainment, and performance components. The exterior of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan features LED lighting front to back, and toupees get ruffled by a standard power tilt/sliding tinted glass sunroof. The interior of the E53 is where the real business takes place: the leather-covered front seats are power-adjustable and heated, and front occupants also get a four-way lumbar adjustment. Things are kept temperate with a two-zone climate control system, and those privileged enough to get inside one of these cars is welcomed by a 64-color ambient light system and illuminated door sills. Practical features include keyless entry, an electronic trunk closer, and a HomeLink garage door opener. The driver is supported by standard blind-spot assist, adaptive braking, and crosswind assist. There are a number of worthwhile options available such as the uber-comfortable AMG Performance front seats and three-zone climate control.
The twin 12.3-inch high-resolution displays dominate the front half of the cabin and show off with crystal clear colors and elegant menu transitions. Mercedes-Benz owners will be familiar with the E53's COMAND touchpad infotainment controller, which is used to flip through menus, driver info, and car settings menus, but the driver can also tweak and select certain settings via the steering wheel-mounted buttons. The infotainment system on the 2020 E53 offers most of the conveniences we've come to expect of a car in this class. Integrated navigation with enhanced voice control and three years of traffic service info by TomTom, wireless phone charging, Bluetooth streaming, and SiriusXM satellite radio are all present. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is included and is quickly becoming integral to any infotainment system. Sound is pumped through a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system with FrontBass tech. Optional features include a head-up display, in-car Wi-Fi, and an even more powerful Burmester 3D surround sound system with 23 speakers, while the optional AMG Track Pace system allows the driver to keep track of and record track times, and other performance details.
There have been no recalls in 2020, but the 2019 E53 Sedan has been subject to a few recalls regarding its active and passive safety systems. Some of the recent issues affecting the E53 included a software problem that didn't recognize when seatbelts were attached, a driver's side airbag that would fail to deploy, and the active braking system not working. Mercedes-AMG covers the E53 Sedan with a decent four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty as well as drivetrain and roadside assistance for the same period. Mercedes-Benz does offer optional maintenance plans and extended warranties.
While AMG-specific variants haven't been evaluated by the NHTSA or IIHS as sub-trims within the broader E-Class range, the ratings are applicable to these performance derivatives, too. The NHTSA awarded a full five-star overall evaluation to the lineup, while the IIHS awarded the E-Class a 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award - the institution's top honor. In short, the E53 is one of the safest cars in its class and will keep you in one piece should performance endeavors go awry.
The cabin of the 2020 E53 is built like a Coronavirus-proof bunker and is all but guaranteed by to keep you as safe as is possible in an executive sedan. Mercedes-AMG achieves this through a blend of traditional and modern safety tech features that covers the occupants from all sides. All E53 cars come with crosswind assist, blind-spot assist, a rearview camera, adaptive braking technology as well as brake assist. LED headlights and taillights, as well as rain-sensing window wipers, keep forward visibility good even in the worst conditions, and if something were to go wrong, there are seven airbags to keep your gray matter in place, including dual front airbags, front side airbags, a driver's knee airbag, and side curtain airbags. To get the seriously good stuff, you'll have to shell out some extra cash: active steering assist, adaptive high beam assist, lane keep assist, rear-cross traffic, and many other safety features are reserved for the options list.
We love the E53 AMG Sedan for a number of reasons, which is a promising start. The exterior styling of the E53 is understated, even by AMG-standards, but we think it strikes a perfect balance between muscle car and executive cruiser, and most ordinary folk won't realize what the E53 really is until it's too late. On the road, the E53 is sensational to drive, fast, or slow. The adaptive suspension setup and hybrid assisted turbocharged inline-six engine delivers immense performance that is accessible, easy to modulate, and makes for a car that is just as easy to fling around your favorite backroad as it is to transport the inlaws back to the airport in comfort. The interior of the E53 is as plush, premium, and posh as you're going to get in this segment, and the infotainment system offers a good glimpse into the future of automotive interior designs. The list of standard features is good, it's practical, and it drives as a fast Mercedes-AMG sedan should. We'll have one in silver, thanks.
The E53 is perfectly placed between Mercedes-AMG's compact performance sedan, the C43 on the one side, and the E63 S on the other side. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan starts off with an MSRP of $73,800, which does not include tax, registration, and a destination fee of $995. The C43 Sedan, at the bottom end of the scale, will cost you $55,950, and at the other end, the E63 S will set you back a stiff $107,350. Most people who buy an E53 Sedan will tick a few of the extras boxes, which will increase the price quite dramatically if not approached with caution. Fully kitted, the 2020 E53 AMG Sedan goes for well over $100,000.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan is a standalone model with only one trim level on offer. As a specialized AMG version of the already capable and refined E-Class, the E53 AMG enjoys a wide range of features that not only improve performance, but add to comfort and style levels as well. All 2020 E53 models gain standard illuminated door sills, a 'slippery' driving mode for when the weather takes a turn for the worse, as well as the suitably-named Emotion Start System, which gives the exhaust some extra bark on upstarts. Standard LED headlights and rain-sensing window wipers are some of the mentionable exterior bits, as are 19-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, and a diamond grille. The inside is fitted with power-adjustable and heated front seats, dual 12.3-inch display screens with a Burmester 13-speaker surround sound system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control. Active driver assistance features, such as blind-spot assist, adaptive braking, and cross-wind assist, are also standard.
|AMG E53 4MATIC Sedan||
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Hybrid
Paging through AMG's optional extras list is an exercise in restraint as there are so many cool features and parts to choose from. We'll list our favorites starting with the exterior: additional cost exterior colors range from $720 to $3,950 for the cool-looking designo Selenite Grey Magno, and if the standard wheels don't suit your fancy then you can always go for a set of 20-inch five-spoke units for $750. Other exterior options include an AMG Carbon Fiber Package for $1,750 and a panoramic sunroof for $1,000.
Inside, the Warmth & Comfort package includes rapid-heating front seats, a heated armrest and steering wheel, all for $1,050. There are three steering wheel designs to choose from, and the $2,500 AMG Performance front seats are well worth looking at. For added safety, you can invest in the $2,250 Driver Assistance Package, which adds lane keep and change assist, active emergency stop support, route-based speed adaptation, and active steering assist, amongst others. Extra refinement can also be added with tri-zone climate control for $760, heated and ventilated front seats for $450, and massaging front seats for an additional $1,320.
There's only one 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Sedan on sale, but luckily there's a ton of optional extras and accessories to make your E53 truly unique. Hand over the checkbook, and we'd spec it as follows: on the outside, we'd go with the $720 Selenite Grey Metallic paint job, but stick with the softer-riding 19-inch stock alloy wheels. Inside the cabin, money will have to be spent on metal weave inserts, the Nappa/Dinamica leather steering wheel, and AMG Performance front seats. We'd skip out on smaller luxuries such a tri-zone climate control and those over-the-top multi-contour massage seats. Instead, we'd spend our money on the Driver Assistance Package, which adds active steering assist, active blind-spot assist, and other advanced safety systems. Throw in the AMG Performance Exhaust System and the total build comes to $84,610.
The Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Sedan falls in the compact luxury sedan class, one peg lower than the E53, and is the smallest and least powerful sedan in the Mercedes-AMG lineup for 2020. Powering the C43 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 385 hp and 384 lb-ft. The torque figure matches that of the more powerful E53, but it delivers it higher up in the rev range and in a narrower window. Power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic - the same unit as the E53. The C43's lower curb weight and AWD drivetrain gets it to sixty in only 4.5 seconds, hot on the tail of the E53, but fuel consumption suffers - the C43 will return 19/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined. On the road, the C43 feels more nimble, but not by much, and we missed the massive torque punch and sublime ride comfort offered in the E53. Inside, the C43 looks the part, but it fails to match the E53's luxuriant finishes and the C43's basic infotainment can't match the allure of dual 12.3-inch screens across the dash. The E53 is more spacious too, placing the cherry on top of a more complete package that's worth the extra $18,000.
Besides the badging and exterior styling changes, like a Panamericana vertical grille, most people won't be able to tell the difference between these two cars. You'll have to get behind the wheel, start the engine, and put your foot down to comprehend why the E63 S 4MATIC costs over $30,000 more than the E53, and accelerates from 0-60 mph over a second faster. The main culprit is the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine hiding under the hood. This gruff beast emanates a vicious bark from its tailpipes and crams out 603 hp and a massive 627 lb-ft of torque. This translates into a zero to 60 time of only 3.3 seconds and gas mileage estimates of 15/23/18 mpg. Whereas the E53 offers silky-smooth power from its inline-six turbo engine, the E63 absolutely annihilates the contents of your stomach with brutal acceleration that comes with a punch and keeps you pinned until the gas pedal returns to its normal position - but the rougher ride quality is just as likely to upset your stomach. The E63 S shares the same basic interior design, featuring those prominent 12.3-inch dual displays and comfortable front seats. Expect the same level of standard and available features, as well as safety levels. Do you like the E53 but want to go even faster? Get the E63 S. But for most, the E53 will be more than enough, and more comfortable, too.