by Karl Furlong
The Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Convertible are effortlessly luxurious mid-size chariots that deliver a swift turn of speed thanks to a 429-horsepower 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine boosted with electric assistance. Capable of reaching 60 mph in as little as 4.3 seconds, these two-door AMGs are sportier than the E450 models we review separately, but refinement still reigns supreme. This is the most powerful two-door E-Class one can buy, and it's also unique since Audi and BMW don't have direct competitors. The BMW 8 Series Coupe is a bit more expensive in 840i guise, but that's not an M-fettled model, and the 8 Series range as a whole plays in a segment above. Perhaps the one major downside to the E53 is that it will be replaced by the CLE after this model year, so if you want one, you'll need to move fast.
Besides metallic paint and Nappa leather now being standard, no other changes have been introduced for the new Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe or its Convertible sibling.
The price of the 2023 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe starts at $84,500 in the USA. As usual, the drop-top equivalent is more expensive, so expect an MSRP of $91,500 for the E53 cabriolet. These starting prices exclude the destination charge of $1,150 and any options.
We won't tell you which of the two E53s to buy since everyone has a preference for a coupe or convertible, and the convertible's performance deficit won't be noticed by anyone. Regardless of which one you choose, we'd recommend the $1,700 Driver Assistance Package, which is actually good value as it bundles together 13 driver-assistance technologies. Massaging front seats are also tempting in such an opulent car, but we don't feel the need to add more equipment than that.
Visually, the two-door E-Class has a more stylish cabin than its closest BMW rival, and it's packed with convenience and safety features.
Even though it is about to be replaced by the CLE, the interior of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Convertible is still stunning. The dual digital displays are thoroughly up to date, and we love the ornate design that includes a quartet of center turbine-like ventilation outlets. The way the dashboard trim flows into the front doors is particularly beautiful. It's possible for smaller adults to sit in the back, but those in front will enjoy the most comfortable perches thanks to power sports seats with memory and heating functions. Illuminated entry and dual-zone climate control are also standard, while the convertible allows you to breathe in the fresh air by lowering the roof at the touch of a button.
Unlike some other two-door coupes and convertibles, both E53 variants have a good amount of interior space, even in the second row. The front seats are supremely comfortable, with ample legroom and headroom, and average-sized adults can sit at the back, especially if those in front are willing to sacrifice some legroom. Taller individuals will start to brush their heads on the roof at the back; naturally, this isn't a problem if you lower the roof in the cabriolet. Ingress and egress are simple, but as with any two-door, getting into the back requires a bit more effort. Notably, the E-Class has far more rear legroom than the hopelessly cramped BMW 8 Series Coupe and Convertible.
The cargo space in the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe works out to 10 cubic feet exactly, and the space can be extended by folding the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. In the convertible, there are 9.5 cubes of space in the trunk, and its second row has a 50/50 split-folding design. In both cases, the E53 two-door models have enough space for a set of golf clubs or luggage for two. For four people, it will be a bit cramped.
Interior storage space consists of usual amenities like a glovebox and front door pockets, in addition to the well-sized center console. Ahead of the touchpad controller for the infotainment system are dual cupholders with a damped cover, while another two cupholders are placed between the rear seats.
|Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe||Mercedes-AMG E53 Convertible||Audi S5 Coupe||Audi S5 Convertible|
|4 Seater||4 seater||4 Seater||4 Seater|
|37.7 in. front|
36.4 in. rear
|37.8 in. front|
36.4 in. rear
|37.4 in. front|
36.1 in. rear
|38.3 in. front |
36.2 in. rear
|41.9 in. front35.9 in. rear||41.8 in. front|
34.1 in. rear
|41.3 in. front|
32.7 in. rear
|41.3 in. front |
33.1 in. rear
|10 ft³||9.5 ft³||10.9 ft³||9.3 ft³|
Even though Nappa leather is standard this year, you can still select black MB-Tex and microfiber upholstery with red stitching at no cost. Nappa leather can be had in black, black with red stitching, Saddle Brown/black, Classic Red/black, or Titanium Grey/black with red stitching. The Light Brown Sen wood trim looks magnificent, but there are other choices like Brown Ash Wood, Natural Grain Ash Wood in grey or black, Manufaktur Black Piano Lacquer "Flowing Lines" ($1,300), aluminum with a longitudinal grain, metal weave ($600), and AMG carbon fiber ($2,850). It's an attractive mix of interior colors and materials.
An AMG Performance steering wheel in a mix of Nappa leather and microfiber can replace the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel for $500, the red seat belts can be replaced with more subtle black ones at no charge, and a Manufaktur black microfiber headliner goes for $1,600. A topstitched MB-Tex upper dash and the same material for the door trim is a nice touch.
The convertible shares all the same trim options but also comes with additional aluminum trim with a carbon grain if you want it, and it obviously doesn't have access to the coupe's Manufaktur black microfiber headliner.
As the most expensive of the two-door E-Class models, the E53s are lavishly equipped inside. Both models have power-adjustable front seats (with four-way power lumbar support) that are heated and linked to a memory system. For the driver, this memory system includes the power-adjustable steering column. Also standard are dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, a 64-color color ambient lighting system, keyless go, a heated steering wheel, power-folding side mirrors, an electronic trunk closer, hands-free access, a power rear window sunshade, and a HomeLink garage door opener. The convertible has all the same specs plus the three-layer power soft top roof, the Airscarf neck-level heating system, and the Aircap automatic draft-stop system.
Optionally, the 2023 E53 Coupe can be equipped with rapid heating for the front seats, heated front armrests, the Air Balance cabin fragrance system, ventilated and massaging front seats, soft-close doors, and an AMG head-up display.
Dual 12.3-inch color displays - one for the digital instrument cluster and one for the center touchscreen - run MBUX software and come with a full house of connectivity functions. These include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MB Navigation, wireless device charging, "Hey, Mercedes" keyword activation and voice controls, HD Radio, and SiriusXM. The Burmester surround sound system has 13 speakers. If you prefer not to speak to your car, you can also operate the center screen with a touchpad controller.
|AMG E53 4MATIC Coupe||AMG E53 4MATIC Convertible|
|Power-adjustable and heated front seats|
|Dual 12.3-inch displays|
|Airscarf neck-level heating system|
|Ventilated front seats|
Like most inline-six engines, the AMG E53's mill is wonderfully smooth, and it gets both the coupe and convertible to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds.
The engine in the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Convertible is as smooth as the cars' styling. This 3.0-liter inline-six twin-turbo mill has mild-hybrid assistance and includes an electric auxiliary compressor. Peak outputs are 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Completing the refined and potent powertrain is a nine-speed automatic transmission and the AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system. In the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe, the 0-60 mph sprint flies by in 4.3 seconds, with the convertible just behind at 4.4. Both have a limited top speed of 155 mph, but that's less important than the refined nature of the drivetrain. No towing capacity has been indicated for these two-door models.
Despite the AMG badge, the E53 still delivers its performance with silky smoothness. The engine is whisper-quiet on the move and emits only a cultured growl higher up, while the transmission is completely unobtrusive. While some may miss the edginess of a full-fat E63, we feel that the less boisterous inline-six in the two-door E-Class is the perfect power plant for what will still be considered a boulevard cruiser.
While the ride is comfortable, it also has a firmness that one may not appreciate, so we'd recommend sticking with the standard wheels. Body control is good, but the car's size prevents it from ever feeling sporty, and inducing understeer feels pointless in a car such as this. The AMG Drive Unit allows you to adjust various driving settings quickly via controls on the steering wheel, while the AMG Dynamic Select features four modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Slippery. These have an effect on throttle response and shift points, but the E53 feels happiest simply left in Comfort mode.
Only slightly less efficient than the less sporty E450, the E53 Coupe manages gas mileage of 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The E53 Convertible shares these figures but is marginally less efficient on the highway where it returns 27 mpg.
The 17.4-gallon fuel tank capacity results in a range of 400 miles, and premium gas is required.
|3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas |
|20/28/23 mpg - Coupe |
20/27/23 mpg - Convertible
|4.3 seconds - Coupe |
4.4 seconds - Convertible
Based on the safety ratings attained by the E-Class Sedan, the coupe and convertible can be considered equally safe, and the generous standard feature count can be upgraded.
While the E-Class coupes and convertibles have not been specifically evaluated by the IIHS and NHTSA, the related E-Class sedan returned stellar safety ratings. It was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and received a five-star safety score from the NHTSA. Based on this, the safety review of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe is likely to be excellent if it is ever tested.
All E53s come loaded with safety gear, and even more is waiting on the options list. Nine-way occupant protection comes courtesy of seven airbags (nine on the convertible), and rear side airbags are available on the optionslist. Also standard are blind-spot assist, attention assist, adaptive high-beam assist, crosswind assist, a surround-view system, front/rear parking sensors with automatic parking, rear cross-traffic alert, accident detection and preparation (pre-safe and pre-safe sound), and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Adaptive cruise control is noticeably absent from the standard feature count but can be added via the $1,700 Driver Assistance Package. This package includes evasive steering assist, active lane change assist, congestion emergency braking, and extended restart in stop-and-go traffic. LED Intelligent Light System headlights are available as well.
|AMG E53 4MATIC Coupe and Convertible|
|Surround-view camera system|
|Front/rear parking sensors|
|Adaptive cruise control|
|Active lane change assist|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
There have been two recalls for the 2023 Mercedes E-Class coupe and convertible. These were for issues pertaining to a software error for the exit warning system and a loss of drive power from a fuel pump shutdown. Recalls for the E-Class range steadily increase the older they get, with five issues on record for 2022 models and a staggering 14 for 2021 models. 2022 models had issues like disabled safety features from an unsecure 12V battery, a misrouted harness that could corrode and lead to a fire risk, and a software error for the steering wheel hands-off detection system. Clearly, the reliability standards of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Convertible are not perfect, but that's a risk many are willing to take for the privilege of owning a German luxury car.
The warranty coverage for the 2023 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe runs for four years or 50,000 miles.
Whereas some full-fat AMG models can appear a bit garish, the exterior design of the Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Convertible keeps it classy. The Panamericana grille differentiates this model from the regular E-Class two-door models, as do the four tailpipes at the back, but it's still quite discreet, especially in black. The pillarless design gives the side view of the coupe a traditional Mercedes look, and the AMG version of the coupe gets a panorama roof as standard. In place of this, the convertible has a power soft top with three layers and the ability to be lowered in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. This soft top is available in colors like black, dark blue, dark brown, or dark red.
All E53s have 19-inch AMG twin-five-spoke wheels, all-LED exterior lighting, hands-free access, an electronic trunk closer, and power-folding side mirrors. The cars' appearance can be mixed up with the dark AMG Night Package's trimmings, the sporty AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package, or larger 20-inch wheels.
The two-door Mercedes AMG E53 models are brilliant feel-good cars for people who don't need the versatility of a large sedan or SUV. There is no arguing with the sleek design, the interior is rich in quality, style, and technology, and the silky six-cylinder engine is completely unruffled as it whisks occupants along the road. It's sportier than an E450 but not as much of a hooligan as the very quickest AMGs - but this more refined demeanor suits the grand touring nature of the E53 admirably. A spotty reliability record is one of the few criticisms that we must mention, while some may prefer to wait for the new CLE that will undoubtedly introduce the latest features not available on this E53. Until that happens, the current E53 is still a wonderful car that we won't hesitate to recommend.
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