There's just something about a fast executive drop-top that a flashy SUV can't touch, especially when it's the Mercedes-AMG E53 Convertible. The 2021 E53 Cabriolet sits in the middle of the AMG drop-top pack and delivers an impressive performance punch, but it is those stunning looks and sheer luxury that elevate it above much of the competition. Its turbocharged inline-six powerplant, assisted by electric black magic, produces a healthy 429 horsepower, and its standard AWD system makes it a confident canyon carver. The 2021 model undergoes a mild makeover, with the exterior seeing some updates, and the interior also gets a new infotainment system. At $82,850 in the US, the E53 Cabriolet goes up against rivals such as the BMW 8 Series Convertible.
The 2021 Mercedes AMG E 53 Cabriolet gets a mild makeover for 2021. This soft-top muscle car sees exterior changes such as redesigned front and rear ends, and the interior gets a new steering wheel design and a new and improved infotainment system.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG E53 4MATIC Cabriolet||
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
The two-door AMG E53 Cabriolet is a bold-looking car with muscular features and does not hide the fact that it is a more aggressive interpretation of the otherwise elegant cruiser. The E53 open-top features LED lighting front to back, 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels with grey accents, and an all-season power soft top. For some added aggression, the optional AMG Night Package adds jet black accents to the front splitter and air-intake fins, as well as the side mirrors and rear valance. An AMG exterior carbon fiber package and 20-inch alloy wheels are also available.
The new AMG E 53 is an executive 2 door cabriolet that shares similar dimensions with competitors such as the BMW 8 Series Convertible. The E53 Cabriolet measures in with a total length of 190 inches (only 1.1 inches shorter than the BMW), an overall height of 56.2 inches, a width of 80.9 inches when you include the wing mirrors, and a wheelbase of 113.1 inches. It weighs in at a hefty 4,566 pounds.
Powering the E53 Cabriolet is a high-tech powertrain that delivers copious amounts of power without a hint of turbo lag. Most of the power is supplied by a beautifully refined 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six engine that produces 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. To add to that figure is an electric air compressor and a combination starter/alternator that contribute an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This electric supplement virtually eliminates turbo lag and gives the E53 the feeling of being driven by a large-capacity naturally-aspirated engine. There is power everywhere in the rev range, even when cruising in a lower gear. Keep your foot in it, and the E53 will do the 0-60 sprint in only 4.4 seconds and continue on to a limited top speed of 155 mph. Power gets sent to all four wheels via an AMG Speedshift TCT nine-speed automatic transmission and an AMG Performance 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
This high-performance AWD Cabriolet is a capable handler, despite its hefty curb weight and the fact that it doesn't have the same levels of rigidity as offered by its hard top sibling. With standard adaptive air suspension keeping things level in the bends, and the 4Matic AWD system helping the wheels firmly grip the road, the E53 Cabriolet likes to claw itself out of corners at insane speeds. The dynamic suspension settings on offer here allow the driver to choose between a rock-hard setup for track use or a cozy setup for when you're bashing through rough back roads. The brake system on the E53 is very impressive and offers positive feedback and a strong initial bite. Steering feedback is lacking, but steering input is met with precise changes in direction.
Despite its impressive performance figures and considerable power output, the 2021 E53 Cabriolet will still return respectable gas mileage figures. According to the EPA, the E53 Cabrio will manage 21/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined. With a 17.4-gallon fuel tank on board, you can expect to see a maximum range of 400 miles. It's not a true eco-friendly hybrid, but it easily beats its big brother, the S63 Cabriolet.
It doesn't matter where you end up in the Mercedes-AMG lineup, you're guaranteed a beautiful interior, and the cabin of the E53 is no different; it is expertly crafted with luxury materials and will accommodate four adults. Space in the front is decent, and with the roof up, you can fit some taller pals in the back, but with the roof fixed, six-footers will have a bad time. Those in the front get power-adjustable seats with four-way lumbar control. Getting in and out of the E53 Cabrio is easy enough for those in front but can be tricky for larger occupants in the rear. Visibility is excellent if you lose the top.
The E53 Cabriolet is not about how much stuff you can carry, but about how much fun you can have, so if you're looking for something more practical, maybe take a look at an E53 sedan. The E53 Cabrio can only muster 9.5 cubic feet of trunk space with the top up, but that is still enough for a decent run to the grocery store or enough for a weekend away for two people. Mercedes-AMG does include an electric trunk partition to easier manage the space available. Inside the cabin, the E53 offers a set of door pockets, a large center armrest storage bin, a glovebox, and four cupholders split between the front and back seat passengers. A wireless phone charging pad is also included.
You're not only paying top dollar for performance, but luxury features too. The 2021 E53 Cabriolet offers standard features such as power sport front seats with four-way lumbar support, an Airscarf neck heating system, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, wireless phone charging, a 64-color LED ambient interior lighting system, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless-go, hands-free access, an illuminated entry system, a surround-view camera system, HomeLink, and driver assistance features such as blind-spot assist, active brake assist, attention assist, and crosswind assist. Optional extras include active steering assist, adaptive high beam assist, active speed limit assist, and ventilated front seats.
The 2021 E53 benefits from the latest 12.3-inch touchscreen display and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which gives the E53's cabin a truly futuristic look. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system works well and uses steering wheel controls, voice control, and a rotary touchpad to control system inputs. This system offers standard features such as navigation with no-charge online map updates for three years, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth streaming, multiple USB-C ports, HD Radio, a six-month SiriusXM trial, and a Burmester surround sound system with 13 high-quality speakers and a 590-watt, nine-channel digital amplifier which sounds epic when blasting Pedestrian at Best by Courtney Barnett.
In the last two years, the E53 range of cars has been recalled twice in the USA. The first was issued for an inaccurate vehicle location for the emergency services response system. The second was issued for certain 2021 models due to a front passenger seat malfunction. Mercedes-AMG will cover the E53 Cabriolet with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty, including drivetrain protection.
There is no current review of the AMG E53 from the NHTSA or IIHS. Still, you don't have to question its safety rating, as the E-Class sedan on which the car is based scores a full five stars from the NHTSA, and the IIHS awarded the vehicle with a Top Safety Pick+ award in 2019. Standard safety features include nine airbags, with frontal, side-impact, and curtain airbags for front occupants, and driver assistance tech such as blind-spot assist, active brake assist, attention assist, crosswind assist, a surround-view camera system, rear cross-traffic alert, and car-to-x communication. Optional safety gear includes active steering assist, adaptive high beam assist, evasive steering assist, active blind-spot assist, lane-keep assist, lane-change assist, and congestion emergency braking.
The current AMG drop-top lineup is seriously impressive, and the E53 finds itself snuggled somewhere in the middle of the range. This E-Class Cabriolet looks meaner than its non-AMG equivalent and packs a knockout blow under the hood in the form of a force-fed 3.0-liter straight-six that produces 429 hp and 384 lb-ft. With AWD and a slick nine-speed auto transmission, the E53 Cabrio always feels like it has more power to give, and its integrated electric air compressor makes turbo lag a thing of the past. On the road, the E53 Cabriolet is a pleasure to cruise in or throw around the bends. The cabin is a truly luxurious place to sit in and offers all the modern amenities you'd expect from a car of this caliber. The E53 also comes packed with a load of standard driver safety assistance systems and a new 12.3-inch infotainment display. It might not be the most hardcore AMG, but any review will agree, it will still show you a seriously good time.
The price of the 2021 AMG E53 Cabriolet starts at a cool $82,850. This cost does not include tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,050. At this price, the E53 Cabriolet seems like an absolute bargain, as its close rival, the BMW 8 Series Convertible, goes for an MSRP of $97,400 in base form, where it makes significantly less power. However, the 8 Series is positioned as more of a competitor to S-Class Convertible. Seeing as there is only one model on offer, new owners will have to turn to the options list to customize their new rides. Fully loaded, the E53 Cabriolet can reach prices of close to $105,000.
There aren't multiple Mercedes-AMG E53 Convertible models, just the one, so you don't get much choice. If we were buying, we would get one in Selenite Grey with 20-inch five-spoke wheels and the AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package. On the inside, we'd get red stitching on the seats and add the AMG carbon fiber inserts and AMG Performance Steering Wheel in Nappa/Dinamica. We'd also include the Driver Assistance Package for $1,700 and the AMG Performance Exhaust system. The total cost is just shy of $95k.
BMW offers the 8 Series Convertible with various engine outputs, all placing the car in the same ballpark as the E53 Cabriolet, but never directly rivaling it. The 8 Series Convertible is a good-looking car and offers similar dimensions to those of the AMG. In base form, the BMW offers a similar 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six engine, which produces 335 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. This is far off the E53's mark, and the BMW also costs more at $97,400 in RWD form. However, the BMW offers a larger trunk and is just as good to drive on an everyday basis. If you can spare the extra coin, BMW provides an M850i, which adds AWD and a 523 hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. For the price, we suggest sticking with the Mercedes.
Mercedes-AMG offers an impressive array of drop-top performance cars, and at the higher end of that spectrum sits the obnoxiously proportioned Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet. This land yacht costs more than double the price of the E53 Cabriolet at $185,400 and comes with more of everything. Need more space? The S63 Cabriolet offers more passenger space and up to 12.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the top up compared to the E53's 9.5. Need more power? The S63 comes equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a serious 603 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. It also comes with 4Matic AWD and a nine-speed automatic transmission. However, the S63 does disappoint in the features department; most of the good stuff is still only found on the options list. We'd stick with the more practical E53 Cabriolet.
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