The dominance of SUVs on the roads is pushing carmakers to make the gigantic breed do everything. Trot, run, turn, and even drop the roof. But unarguably, the charisma of a low-slung, sensual roadster is no match. So much so that the flick Dil Chahta Hai is still in our hearts for the exhilarating roadtrip it showcases in a drop-top with a three-pointed star. Fast forward to 2023, and its heir – Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet, is here. Launched earlier this year for an ex-showroom price of Rs 1.30 Crore, the AMG E53 has big shoes to fill. To find out if it is a car that can only be taken out on weekends evenings or if it can do the annual road trip too? We drove it. So, read on to know what we felt about it.
The Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet catches a lot of attention. Even with the hat on, you’ll find people gazing at the car, admiring it, and then just passing hand signals to you with a smile. Drop the hat down, and now you can hear what motorcyclists are talking about, standing next to you at a red light. We heard “Gaadi ho to aisi.” I believe this signifies sufficiently about the E53’s aesthetical prowess.
A glance at the nose reveals that it is an E-Class with an AMG badge. The Panamericana grille tips about the latter. The nose is low-slung, and the long hood features power domes. The side profile looks gorgeous too, and it is further accentuated by 20-inch rims. The silhouette is every bit appealing with its long hood, proportionate boot, and a roofline that can make grown men go weak.
The rear end has some E-Class essence with slim tail lamps, but the sporty splitter with quad exhaust pipes adds distinction. Highlights like the brushed aluminium finish around the cabin and windscreen give an opulent and bespoke touch to the E53. On the whole, the E53 AMG packs the right amount of sportiness and elegance to sneak in both – a sports car rally and a luxury saloon convoy.
Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet Review: Impractical Cabin?
The first thing that catches attention is the long door, giving easy accessibility to both rows. Nevertheless, the rear seats are not very practical and feel upright even if the legroom is manageable. Of course, the headroom is not an issue with the top hidden down in the boot, which is then hardly left with any space. Coming down to the other major concern with the soft top roadsters is the AC’s performance, which is well managed on the Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet.
Speaking of the dashboard layout, it seems familiar and feels like a cut from the same cloth as the E-Class’. There are some extensive changes made to ensure that instead of a luxury yacht, it feels like a high-speed motorboat. The E53 AMG’s dashboard inlays feature carbon fibre inserts, and a similar pattern is seen on the centre console as well.
The most attention-grabbing element for the aficionados here is the AMG steering wheel. It is one of the nicest things to hold in this cabin. There are two pods mounted on it, which let you control the car’s performance settings on the fly. When the driver starts getting rough with the steering wheel and accelerator inputs, seats show their capabilities.
They are done in the red-black theme as the whole cabin and sport AMG badge. But, the seats have nice contours and keep the front occupants in place, offering immense grips. They are ventilated, so summers are not an issue here. Otherwise, the cabin is loaded with as much tech as the E-Class. The MBUX system here comes with an onboard race computer. Well, a neatly-packed cabin to relish the perks of a sports car and the consolations of a sporty saloon.
The Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet is a car full of numerous savours. During our test drive, it managed to stun us in considerable ways. Beginning with the powerhouse, it is a 3.0L 6-cylinder turbocharged motor capable of putting out 430 PS of peak power and 520 Nm of max torque. The electric boost further aids it with an extra 22 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. With a 9-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic+ system, the power is sent to all four wheels of the E53.
The motor offered no complaints as regards refinement, and the turbocharger is quick to spool up. Subsequently, the turbo lag is absent, and the low-end grunt feels substantial. The mid-range is strong. Around the top end, the E53 AMG feels at home. The gearbox is swift to respond to inputs from steering-mounted paddle shifters. Also, the gear ratios are well-defined and suit nearly all driving conditions.
Air springs on the E53 AMG are a boon on bad roads. The height can be adjusted to glide over big potholes and bumps. On sharp bends, the suspension lowers the car to offer a reduced centre of gravity. Thus making the drive a fun affair. Besides, brakes are supreme when attempting to stop the car quickly.
Drive modes – there are a few of them. The most used ones on the drive remain the Comfort and Sport+. In the former – the E53 feels more like an E-Class with a supple ride. The latter, on the other hand, delivers a fun-packed experience. The springs get stiff, the steering gains weight and becomes more responsive, and the exhaust gets spicier, making the E53 feel every bit an AMG.
Of course, a V8 motor could’ve stood as a more promising bet for AMG devotees, but the six-pot is not dim either. It aids the roadster with a 250 kmph top speed and 0-100 kmph sprint time of 4.5 seconds. In summation, the E53 is a fun soft top, capable of leaving the driver smiling in both low and high-speed rides.
Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet Review: Should Be Bought?
An ugly-boring car, in a garage, is the worst thing to do when spending Rs 1.30 Crore, excluding taxes. We are happy to tell you that E53 is neither unattractive nor dull. It is immense fun to take it out on a road trip on the new-age road infrastructure of the country. Furthermore, there are multiple colour options for the top hat, which, when dropped down, offers a remarkable wind-in-your-hair experience.