Mercedes-AMG has recently introduced an entire new line of performance cars. They are the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 sedan, coupe, cabriolet, CLS53, and GT53. This first drive review is focused on the AMG E53 sedan. Can the E53 give the BMW M550i and the Audi S6 a run for their money? Let’s dive into all the details and find out.
Before we get to the engine system of E53, let’s take a quick look what makes it stand out visually. The AMG 53 lineup has several low key styling feature to let you know it’s a 53. The cars have unique 20-inch rims, blacked out mirror caps, a rear trunk lid spoiler, and quad oval exhaust outlets. On the inside, it’s napa leather and an AMG flat-bottom performance steering wheel.
You are likely familiar with the new 3.0-liter straight-six turbocharged gasoline engine from Mercedes-Benz. The company introduced it a while back, and it is paired to an electric motor/generator to make it a mild-hybrid system. However, the AMG 53 cars get a unique version of the engine that packs an additional surprise. The addition is an electric auxiliary compressor. What does this all mean?
The total system power rating is 429 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm and 384 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm. The straight-six engine is AMG-tuned, and it is a completely belt-less system. Yep, there is no serpentine belt. All accessories are electric, and the (21 horsepower/184 lb-ft of torque) electric motor/generator that is sandwiched between the engine and the 9-speed automatic transmission helps to power all systems, pumps, and the AC compressor.
The electric auxiliary compressor (EAC) sits inline with the traditional exhaust-driven turbocharger. It is basically an electrically-powered turbine that builds boost at lower engine speeds to help eliminate any turbo-lag that the traditional turbocharger may have.
The result is instantaneous torque, smooth engine auto start/stop, and diesel-like maximum torque at just 1,800 rpm. However, the beauty of this engine is still its massive top-end power (429 horses).
Indeed, power delivery is linear and impressive. The sedan throws you into the back of the seat whenever you step on it. The response, especially in Sport+ mode, feel instantaneous.
This AMG power plant is rated at 21 MPG city / 28 MPG highway / 24 MPG combined, so it is also quite economical when you are not using all the power.
Ride & Handling
The suspension setup on the AMG E53 is on the stiffer side. It is adjustable with the Eco, Individual, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ driving modes. However, even in Comfort mode – it does not soak up the bumps like a regular E-class would. This car has a performance focus, and it’s not afraid to show it.
When you do push it into a corner, the handling is superb for a sedan of this size. The car feels neutral, and the active air suspension does everything it can to virtually eliminate lean in corners.
Mercedes-AMG rates the 0-60 MPH acceleration for the E53 sedan at 4.4 seconds. This is the same performance as the turbocharged V8-powered 2018 Audi S6. It is a bit slower than the 3.9 seconds acceleration time from the BMW M550i. All of these three competitors come with their respective AWD systems.
- Audi S6 Quattro:
- 4.0L V8 turbo (450 hp / 406 lb-ft)
- 7-speed auto
- 4.4 sec 0-60 MPH
- 16/24/18 MPG
- starting $71,900
- BMW M550i xDrive
- 4.4L V8 turbo (456 hp / 480 lb-ft)
- 8-speed auto
- 3.9 sec 0-60 MPH
- 18/25/20 MPG
- starting $74,450
- Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+
- 3.0L I6 turbo hybrid w/ EAC (429 hp / 384 lb-ft)
- 9-speed auto
- 4.4 sec 0-60 MPH
- 21/28/24 MPG
- starting $72,550
The AMG 53 lineup offers a performance 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system and a continuously adjustable air suspension. It’s not the most powerful sedan among its competitors, but it’s fast. It’s very efficient by comparison, and it is priced competitively.
Does the E53 sedan give its competition a run for their money? Absolutely! If you want a performance luxury sedan, and you don’t want to burn too much fuel – the new AMG E53 is a good choice.