Don’t think, just drive
Mercedes’ line-up is automotive string theory. But this one makes perfect sense. By Colin Overland
THE NEW E53 Coupe uses an engine that’s slowly spreading across the upper reaches of the Daimler empire. It has a body that looks like both the C-Class and S-Class Coupes and also resembles the CLS (which is available with the same 53 engine). Eh? Mercedes’ model line-up is undoubtedly a tortuous Venn diagram – but on the road the E53 Coupe is an oasis of sanity.
It sounds a bit sweeping, but the 53 engine is the perfect match for the E-Class Coupe body. It’s much less sporty in feel than AMG’s 43 V6 and 63 V8, but has a glorious smooth torquiness that’s utterly in keeping with the cruiser/GT vibe that the E Coupe embodies. If you flick the C, and slide all the self-driving controls up to max in the S, you simply guide the E.
The engine is a petrol inline-six with a turbocharger supplemented by an electric compressor, which kicks in at zero revs in the way a fume-driven turbo can’t. As well as a conventional 12v electrical system, the 53 has a 48v system, at the heart of which is a starter-generator located between the engine and transmission.
This multi-tasking EQ Boost system can capture surplus braking energy, it can power functions such as the water pump, it runs the engine stop-start system in traffic, and it’s behind Cruise mode, where the engine can briefly cut out and restart at speed. The aim is to make the powerplant cleaner and less thirsty but no less fun.
It’s a fantastically well chosen engine for the E Coupe (which is also available with a variety of other perfectly good petrol and diesel units). The combination creates a cruiser that can corner, pamper and excite depending on how the mood takes you. And although you might think the S-Class Coupe is the same sort of thing but more luxurious, it in reality feels much, much bigger and less nimble. The C-Class Coupe, in contrast, is all about the agility but loses the luxury. The E53 does a different job to the CLS too – the CLS is bigger and infinitely superior for those who regularly carry adult passengers, because its rear doors make access so much easier, even though the E Coupe’s rear seats are plenty roomy enough once you’re in.
But ultimately it’s the engine that distinguishes the E53. So much useful power, instantly available, delivered without fuss, in perfect harmony with chassis and electrics. Lovely.
MERCEDES AMG E53
> Price £64,790 > Engine 2999cc 24v turbo 6-cyl, 429bhp @ 6100rpm, 384lb ft @ 1800rpm > Transmission 9-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 4.4sec 062mph, 155mph, 32.5mpg, 203g/km CO2 > Weight 1970kg > On sale Now
VERDICT Low-key looks but glorious appliance of tech
A perfect blend of engine and body heads o to obliterate some Venn diagrams