Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Cabriolet Review (2021)

Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG Cabriolet 2021 is a luxury convertible model with impressive design, powerful performance with a starting price of USD83,900 .


The E-Class is one of the most impressive sales model of Mercedes-Benz. So the Stuttgart-based car company in Germany maintains all three convertible, coupe and sedan variants on the E53.

The E-Class is one of the key models that make up the core of the Mercedes-AMG brand. The comprehensive update applied to the latest generation encompasses the Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet models with six- and eight-cylinder engines, which range in output from 320 kW (435 hp) to 450 kW (612 hp). The sporty driving dynamics of the performance models from Affalterbach remain unchanged and are now combined with enhanced everyday comfort. The standard-specification fully variable all-wheel drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC+ guarantees optimum traction in any driving conditions. Also fitted as standard is the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed transmission, which combines fast shift operation with exceptional efficiency. The redesigned front section and AMG-specific radiator grille of this latest distinctive design update reinforce the affiliation to the AMG family even further. The interior has also been thoroughly enhanced: the Widescreen Cockpit, the new AMG Performance steering wheel and the MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific functions and displays offer a high level of digitalisation and thus a sophisticated user experience that is very much in keeping with the times.

Heading up the Mercedes-AMG E-Class family are the E63 4MATIC+ models (combined fuel consumption 11.9-11.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 273-265 g/km), featuring a 4.0-litre biturbo engine in two output categories with 450 kW (612 hp) or 420 kW (571 hp) and in both Saloon and Estate form. In order to ensure optimum airflow, the outer inlets in the ‘jet wing’ of the redesigned front section are not only particularly large, but also feature two transverse louvres that help to guide the air in targeted fashion to where it is needed. Designers and aerodynamics experts worked closely together during development. Their insights resulted not only in the striking AMG bodystyling but also in the optimised aerobalance – for agile handling characteristics on country roads and optimum driving stability on the motorway. The aerodynamics experts were also able to reduce the wind resistance even further.

A further distinctive visual feature of the eight-cylinder models: a harmoniously fitting flap in high-gloss black which extends across the entire front apron, continues into the outer edge of the jet-wing and rounds this off outwards to the sides. The front splitter is either kept in the colour of the vehicle (base model), in Silver Shadow (S-Model), in high-gloss black (with optional AMG Night Package) or in carbon fibre (with the optional AMG Exterior Carbon-Fibre Package I). The muscular flare of the wheel arches, a full 27 millimetres wider on each side, makes space for the wider track and the larger wheels on the front axle – yet another functional advantage.

The E53 4MATIC+ models in Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet guise (combined fuel consumption: 9.2-8.5 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 210-194 g/km) likewise feature a redesigned front section that gives them even more powerful appeal. The AMG-specific radiator grille with its A-shaped outline, and the flat headlamps, serve to reinforce the impression of width.

New rear end design conveys more elegance and lightness

Two new, flatter tail lights now with two sections immediately catch the eye on the tail end of the Saloon. They now extend into the boot lid, where they are visually linked with a trim strip in high-gloss chrome on the top. On the Estate this trim strip extends even further up to the end of the outer rear lamps. Their shape is unchanged, but has been given a new interior design in the look of the Saloon. The airflow break-away edge on the boot lid of the Saloon is painted in the vehicle colour; with the optional AMG Exterior Carbon-Fibre package II it is in carbon fibre. The reshaped rear apron emphasises the effect of width, while also having a positive effect on the aerodynamics. The final touch to the rear section of the car is added by the likewise redesigned diffuser.

Aerodynamically optimised wheels and individual Design Packages

Aerodynamically optimised and painted in a choice of matt black or high-gloss tantalite grey, the new 19-inch (series) or 20-inch (optional) light-alloy wheels add fresh highlights. The E63 S-Model is fitted as standard with new 20-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, also aerodynamically optimised and with a wider aero rim edge, painted in a choice of matt black or high-gloss tantalite grey.

Further individual focuses can be set with the optional AMG Night Package. The exterior mirror housings, window frames, inserts in the side sill panels and trim elements in the front and rear apron remain in this case in high-gloss black. There are also tailpipe trim elements in black chrome. The AMG-specific radiator grille is also available in a darkened design. Exclusively available for thE63-series models, the AMG Exterior Carbon-Fibre package I comprises the front splitter, inserts in the side sill panels, and the trim element in the rear apron in carbon fibre. The AMG Exterior Carbon-Fibre package II adds individual highlights with mirror caps and a spoiler lip on the boot lid (Saloon) in carbon fibre.

Fine interior with sporty note and high comfort on long journeys

The interior combines a fine ambience and high-quality materials with the characteristic AMG performance. The AMG seats combine secure lateral support with exceptional comfort on long journeys and have an AMG-specific seat upholstery layout with an “AMG” badge in the front seat backrests. A characteristic feature of the E53 models is the upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre in black with an AMG layout, red contrasting topstitching and an AMG badge. The eight-cylinder models feature leather seat upholstery as standard, while numerous leather variants are optionally available for all models. AMG Performance seats with integrated head restraints and even better lateral support can also be ordered on request. The product managers have further refined the interior of the E63 S version, with features such as nappa leather trim for the dashboard and beltlines as well as seat belts in crystal grey. Nappa leather in black/titanium grey pearl with yellow contrasting topstitching is in the range as a new AMG-specific upholstery. Individually adjustable ambient lighting also comes as standard.

A further highlight is the MBUX infotainment system with a touchscreen and touchpad, the intelligent voice control plus AMG-specific displays and settings. The two displays for the instrument cluster and multimedia displays blend visually beneath a shared glass cover to form the Widescreen Cockpit. In the base model the monitors measure 10.25 inches diagonally, on the S-Model 12.25-inch screens are on board as standard. For the instrument cluster’s display, the customer can switch between the three AMG display styles of “Modern Classic”, “Sport” and “Supersport”. The “Supersport” mode is particularly striking with a central, round rev counter and horizontal displays presented in perspective to the left and right of the rev counter and creating a spatial impression of depth.

Via the AMG menu, the driver can call up various special AMG displays such as Engine Data, gear speed indicator, Warm-up, Set-Up, G-Meter and RACETIMER. With individual AMG displays such as visualisation of the drive programs or telemetry data, the touchscreen multimedia display likewise underscores the dynamic configuration.

On first-name terms: “Hey Mercedes” with additional functions

And needless to say, the trailblazing voice control activated with the words “Hey Mercedes” is also part of the standard specification. Thanks to artificial intelligence, MBUX recognises and understands nearly all sentences from the fields of infotainment and vehicle operation, even if they are expressed indirectly. In many countries MBUX now addresses the customer with the familiar form of “you” rather than more formally. It is hoped that this will help reinforce the emotional tie between the customer and MBUX as a personal assistant. As a further new feature it is possible to have the weather forecast for certain regions read out – in virtually all languages.

New AMG Performance steering wheel in twin-spoke design

With a distinctive twin-spoke design and seamlessly integrated buttons the new AMG Performance steering wheel creates an even closer link between human and machine. The three rounded twin spokes combine stability with lightness, and the steering wheel rim is a hallmark motorsport feature. The cover is selectable in leather, in DINAMICA microfibre or as a combination of leather and DINAMICA microfibre, on request with steering wheel heating. In the steering wheel rim there is also a sensor mat to detect “hands-on”. If the driver does not have their hands on the steering wheel for a certain time, a warning cascade is started, which finally activates Emergency Brake Assist if the driver continues to be inactive.

Seamlessly integrated buttons

The new buttons seamlessly integrated into the surfaces of the horizontal twin spokes have a very elegant look. Haptic sensing aids in the area of the symbols make control easier. The instrument cluster is operated via the left-hand sensor surface on the upper steering wheel spokes, the media display via the right-hand sensor surface. The lower spokes contain the controls for the cruise control/DISTRONIC (left) and telephone/hands-free system/volume control (right). The AMG steering wheel buttons (standard in the S-Model, optional for E63 base variant and E53 models) for actuating the drive programs and further, individually definable functions, include even more brilliant displays with new icons and are now both round.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission can be operated by hand using the aluminium gearshift paddles arranged to left and right behind the steering wheel rim. For even more precise shift commands the paddles are now slightly bigger and positioned further down.

The centre console includes an AMG-specific control unit with additional switches that are used to regulate the drive programs, the media volume, the 3-stage ESP®, the manual transmission mode, the Adaptive Damping System, the optional AMG Performance exhaust system, the ECO start/stop function and the reversing camera. Alongside the AMG brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs, door sill panels and black floor mats with “AMG” lettering accentuate the sporty look. A wide range of high-quality interior trim elements is available for further individualisation of the interior. AMG trim elements in carbon fibre lend a particularly sporty touch to the vehicle interior.

AMG 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine with twin-scroll turbochargers

The AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine in the E63 S 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 11.9-11.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 273-267 g/km) continues to achieve 450 kW (612 hp) and a maximum torque of 850 Nm. It is available across a wide engine speed range from 2500 to 4500 rpm, thus conveying the feeling of effortless superiority with every accelerator pedal position. The E63 4MATIC+ base model (combined fuel consumption 11.8-11.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 270-265 g/km) has an output of 420 kW (571 hp) and 750 Nm torque. The S version of the Saloon completes the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and in 3.5 seconds as the base variant. The figures for the Estate are 3.5 seconds (S version) and 3.6 seconds (base variant) respectively.

In order to ensure optimum output and response from the AMG 4.0-litre V8 engine, the two exhaust gas turbochargers feature twin-scroll technology. They reduce the exhaust gas back-pressure and optimise the gas cycle. Thanks to the standard cylinder shutoff and further measures the performance models are highly efficient. When the driver has selected the drive program “Comfort”, the cylinder deactivation system is available in a wide engine speed range from 1000 to 3250 rpm. A special display in the instrument cluster indicates whether the cylinder deactivation system is in use and whether the engine is presently operating in four or eight-cylinder mode. The transition between these two operating states is immediate, fast and torque-neutral, so the occupants do not have to relinquish any comfort.

The S version is the only car in its competitive segment that is fitted with dynamic engine mounts. They solve the conflicting goals of achieving as soft a connection as possible to the drivetrain for high comfort and as rigid a connection as possible for optimum driving dynamics. The dynamic mounts are quickly and variably able to adapt their stiffness to the driving conditions and requirements. These measures enhance the vehicle’s precision when driven dynamically, while the soft setting increases comfort tangibly.

Six-cylinder in-line engine with EQ Boost starter-alternator

The 320 kW (435 hp) 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine of the E53 models is characterised by top performance and intelligent electrification. The EQ Boost starter-alternator combines a starter motor and alternator in a powerful electric motor and is fitted between the engine and transmission. It is not only used as an electric alternator, but also performs hybrid functions. These include the boost process with 16 kW of output and 250 Nm of torque, recuperation, shifting of the load point, gliding mode and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function. This innovation as well as the intelligent charging via an electric additional compressor and an exhaust gas turbocharger all have the same goal: to enhance the hallmark AMG performance and driving dynamics, while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The starter-alternator provides an additional supporting boost process when moving off. The electric auxiliary compressor furthermore builds up a high level of boost pressure without any delay, allowing the torque required for acceleration to increase more quickly until the large exhaust gas turbocharger kicks in. As a result the 3.0-litre engine reacts extremely spontaneously, and provides a highly dynamic response without what is known as turbo lag. An additional bonus is the high level of refinement of the six-cylinder in-line engine.

Short shift times, high efficiency: the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed transmission

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed transmission is specially tuned to the requirements of the performance models. The autonomous software enables extremely short shift times and fast multiple downshifts while the double-clutching function makes for an emotive gearshifting experience. In the E63 models a wet multi-disc start-off clutch replaces the torque converter that is used in the E53 models. It saves weight and optimises response, especially when accelerating or coming off the power.

The highlights of the transmission include:

  • adaptation of the shift characteristics to the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive program
  • in manual mode “M” the transmission responds directly to manual shift commands by the driver – the drivetrain responds precisely and executes the commands almost instantly
  • the temporary M mode allows an immediate change to manual mode “M” – merely by using the shift paddles
  • automatic double-declutching function when downshifting: this effect is automatically active in the drive programs “Sport”, “Sport+” and “RACE” (standard in the S variant)
  • the ECO start/stop function is automatically active in the drive program “Comfort”
  • the “Gliding” function can be activated in the drive program “Individual”

Specially developed suspension for maximum lateral and longitudinal dynamics with enhanced comfort

The agility and the highly dynamic lateral acceleration of the new models are also thanks to the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ suspension with fully supporting multi-chamber air suspension and adaptive adjustable damping ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System) which ensures exceptionally high levels of camber stability, driving dynamics and steering precision. With the current model upgrade, the comfort characteristics of the suspension have been noticeably improved through retuning and revised elastokinematics, without any compromises in terms of the brand’s hallmark Driving Performance. The comprehensive package of measures includes such features as new tension strut bushings on the front axle with a new material composition and asymmetric pivot point, the reconfigured tuning of the dynamic engine bearings in the E63 S, the new suspension subframe carrier on the rear axle and the adapted damper hydraulics.

The front axle is made up a four-link design with wishbone arms, tension strut and spring link. Independent wheel control and wheel suspension elements enable high lateral acceleration with minimal torque steer – also a comfort feature. The rear axle is also autonomous and has been specially adjusted. The suspension thus ensures hallmark Mercedes E-Class comfort, combined with the high levels of precision and driving dynamics of AMG.

Thanks to a special spring and damper set-up and the Adaptive Damping System, the new three-chamber air suspension system combines exemplary driving dynamics with excellent road roar and tyre vibration characteristics. The stiffness of the air springs can be adjusted over a wide range by activating or deactivating individual air chambers, making for perceptibly enhanced comfort and handling. There are three degrees of spring tuning, depending on the selected drive program and current driving status. The spring rate is hardened automatically in the event of sudden load changes, fast cornering, heavy acceleration or heavy braking, which effectively reduces roll and pitching while stabilising the performance model.

The Adaptive Damping System can be set in three stages – “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport+” – to choose between relaxed comfort on long journeys and maximum sportiness. The rebound and compression levels are adjusted independently of each other, and the freely programmable maps permit a wide spread between minimum and maximum damper force. The difference between the comfortable and sporty suspension settings is made more refined and is clearly perceptible.

AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive with Drift Mode for the E63 S

All variants are equipped with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system as standard. This intelligent system combines the advantages of different drive concepts: torque distribution on the front and rear axles, which is fully variable for the first time, ensures optimum traction on any surface. The driver can rely on a high level of handling safety. An electromechanically controlled clutch connects the permanently driven rear axle variably to the front axle. The best possible torque distribution is calculated continuously. The performance model can thus be driven in a continuously variable way from traction-oriented all-wheel drive to purely rear-wheel drive. In addition to traction and lateral dynamics, the all-wheel-drive system also improves the longitudinal dynamics for even more powerful acceleration.

It is still possible to drift thanks to fully variable torque distribution. The Drift Mode integrated into the E63 S-Models as standard is ideal for this. This can be activated in the “RACE” drive program using the shift paddles, provided that ESP® is deactivated and the transmission is in manual mode. When Drift Mode is activated, the E63 S 4MATIC+ becomes a purely rear-wheel drive vehicle. Drift Mode remains engaged until the driver deactivates it again.

Rear-axle locking differential: optimum traction

For improved traction and driving dynamics, the E63 models are equipped with an electronically regulated rear-axle locking differential. This reduces the slip on the inside wheel when cornering, without any control intervention in the braking system. The driver is able to accelerate out of bends earlier and more powerfully. The car remains more stable when braking from high speeds, the locking differential improves traction when moving off. The greatest benefit of the electronic rear-axle locking differential is the even more sensitive and proactive control, which pushes the thresholds higher and makes it easier to drive at the vehicle’s limits. The three-stage ESP® with “ESP ON”, “ESP SPORT Handling Mode” and “ESP OFF” settings works in precise unison with the rear-axle locking differential and the all-wheel drive, and is optimally tuned to the outstanding dynamics.

Direct and with clear feedback: the AMG speed-sensitive steering

The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering has a variable ratio and impresses with its precise, authentic feedback. The steering servo assistance is reduced at high speeds, and continuously increases at lower speeds. This means that comparatively little steering force is required at low speeds, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained at high speeds. The steering assistance is assigned to the various stages of the AMG DYNAMICS system. Comfortable steering tuning is set in “Basic”. In “Advanced” and “Pro/Master”, the driver receives incrementally more feedback about the driving status thanks to a sportier steering configuration.

For a personalised experience: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT and AMG DYNAMICS

With the up to six DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport+”, “Individual” and “RACE” (as standard in the S version) , the characteristics of the new models can be influenced at the tap of a finger. The available range extends from efficient and comfortable to very sporty. The modes modify key parameters, such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. Independently of the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the driver has the option of switching directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. The suspension set-ups can also be selected specifically as needed.

AMG DYNAMICS vehicle dynamics control is integrated into the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs. At the “Basic”, “Advanced”, “Pro” and “Master” levels (standard in the S version), it influences the control strategies of the ESP® (Electronic Stability Program) or the all-wheel drive, for example. The intelligent pilot control anticipates the desired vehicle behaviour based on the driver’s actions and the sensor data. The spectrum ranges from extremely stable to highly dynamic. Via the AMG steering wheel buttons the AMG DYNAMICS functions can also be individually selected.

Parameters relevant to driving, such as the response of the engine and suspension, the control strategy of the all-wheel drive system and the control thresholds of the ESP® are intelligently adapted according to the drive program. The spectrum ranges from extremely safety-oriented to highly dynamic. The “Master” mode stored in the RACE drive program ensures optimum agility and brings out the high driving dynamics potential to optimum effect – for example through higher yaw rates and a faster response from the accelerator pedal, gearshift system, electronically controlled rear-axle locking differential or brake force distribution of the all-wheel drive system.

Good control and fade-resistant: the AMG high-performance composite brake system

The large-sized high-performance composite brake system is reliable, quick and fade-resistant, even under high loads. The E63 features internally ventilated and perforated composite brake discs measuring 360 x 36 mm with six-piston fixed callipers at the front, and measuring 360 x 26 mm with single-piston floating brake callipers on the rear axle. The S version is fitted with even larger composite brake discs on the front axle measuring 390 x 36 mm. In addition, an AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system is available as an option, with brake discs measuring 402 x 39 mm on the front axle and 360 x 32 mm on the rear axle.

The high-performance brake system on the E53 models, too, is configured to match their power and performance: the front axle features cross-drilled and internally ventilated discs of size 370 x 36 mm with four-piston fixed callipers and AMG lettering; the rear axle is fitted with internally ventilated discs of size 360 x 26 mm with single-piston floating callipers.

The new AMG Dynamic Plus package is available as an option for the E53 models and the E63. This offers tangible as well as visible improvement in terms of sportiness. Selected high-performance components effectively enhance the dynamic character. The result is a driving experience reminiscent of motorsport.The package includes the high-performance composite brake system of the S-Model with red-painted brake callipers and black AMG lettering, the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive program “RACE” with Drift Mode, and the AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather, in DINAMICA microfibre or in nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre, in each case with AMG steering-wheel buttons.

Selected AMG E-Class models: Milestones of development

In 1986 the Mercedes-Benz 300 E in its 5.6 AMG guise became a legend, going on to spawn a whole line of legendary AMG E-Class models. Thanks to its 5.6-litre V8 engine, an output of 265 kW (360 hp) and a series of aerodynamic refinements, the four-door Saloon reached the magic top speed of 303 km/h. Awed American fans called this powerful AMG vehicle “The Hammer”, not least in recognition of its impressive torque of 510 newton metres. For the first time, the performance of a thoroughbred super sports car was combined with the everyday practicality that is one of the hallmarks of Mercedes. “The Hammer” was particularly striking in its wide version as the AMG 300 CE 6.0 Coupé. With a displacement that had been increased further to 6.0 litres, a four-valve-per-cylinder design, an output of 283 kW (385 hp) and 566 newton metres of torque, the Coupé extended the limits of dynamic handling still further.

In 1995 a particularly sporty version of the E-Class was added to the sales programme. The E 50 AMG featured a 255 kW (347 hp) 5.0-litre V8 engine that had been developed by AMG on the basis of the proven 4.2-litre unit, along with an extensive sporty specification that included a sports suspension, light-alloy wheels with wide-base tyres and AMG bodystyling. The E 50 AMG, which was seen as the legitimate successor to the E 500 from the 124 model series, was only ever available with the new, electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission.

With the E 55 the most powerful estate model in the world of its time was launched by AMG in 2003. The 5.5-litre supercharged engine from the SL delivered 350 kW (476 hp) here, loading the crankshaft with an impressive 700 newton metres of torque. Performance was comparable with that of a sports car: the sprint from zero to 200 km/h took just 16.3 seconds. A load capacity of up to 1950 litres, a versatile vehicle interior and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 5-speed automatic transmission featuring the three drive programs C (Comfort), S (Sport) and M (Manual) enhanced the everyday practicality of the sporty estate model, making it truly multi-talented.

In 2006 came the E63 AMG, with a new naturally aspirated V8 engine on board that generated an output of 378 kW (514 hp) and peak torque of 630 newton metres. At the time, this made the E63 AMG the most powerful E-Class ever. Its 6.3-litre V8 engine, independently developed by AMG, was the only unit in the world to combine a high-revving design with a large displacement – the result was around 20 percent more torque than with comparable naturally aspirated engines in this output class. So equipped, the E63 AMG Saloon could accelerate from a standing start to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds; its top speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h.

The next generation made its debut initially with the same engine, but was then given the new AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine in 2011. For the first time this unit was available in two versions, delivering an output that ranged from 386 kW (525 hp) to 410 kW (557 hp). The eight-cylinder power pack featured a combination of innovative high-tech components: in addition to the spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors came an all-aluminium crankcase, the four-valve-per-cylinder design with camshaft adjustment, air-water charge air cooling, alternator management and the start/stop function. Both variants of the E63 AMG featured extraordinary levels of performance: a speed of 100 km/h could be reached after 4.3 or 4.2 seconds respectively (Estate: 4.4 and 4.3 seconds respectively).

In 2016 Mercedes-AMG turned the Saloon into the most powerful E-Class of all time, setting new benchmarks in this market segment with innovative technologies. Delivering superior acceleration, the redesigned 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine generates up to 450 kW (612 hp). This makes it the most powerful engine ever to have been installed in an E-Class. At the same time it is even more efficient, thanks to a cylinder deactivation system fitted as standard. By accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, the new performance saloon also achieves a new record in its class. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi-Clutch Technology) 9-speed sports transmission is combined for the first time with a wet start-off clutch. This has enabled more agile response times to be achieved. Another highlight is the completely new AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. which combines the advantages of various drive configurations. Torque distribution on the front and rear axles, which is fully variable for the first time, ensures optimum traction right up to the physical limit in all road conditions.

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