Volvo XC40, Mercedes-amg E53 Cabrio New engine for SUV; drop-top gets 429bhp
Packing 429bhp, the new mild hybrid E53 is the quickest version of Mercedes’ four-seat drop-top On sale Now Price from £69,285
IT’S FAIR TO say us Brits are a vain bunch. Such is the popularity of big wheels, aggressive bodykits and firm suspension that even the slowest diesel version of the E-class Cabriolet is available only in pumped-up AMG Line trim. But what if you actually want the muscle to match the swagger? The E53 Cabriolet – which replaces the E43 – has you covered.
Up front is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six engine that produces a mighty 429bhp. But that’s not all; the E53 gets Mercedes’ EQ Boost mild hybrid system, with electrical assistance adding a further 22bhp and additional torque to boost both performance and fuel economy. Although you’ll need to rev the engine hard to access all of those horses, you’d never accuse this car of feeling slow.
The standard nine-speed automatic gearbox shifts quickly and smoothly in all situations, while four-wheel drive ensures that traction is never an issue in the dry and makes the E53 feel far more surefooted than the smaller but lairier V8 C63 Cabriolet. Adaptive air suspension means you can stiffen up the car for better body control, or soften it off for a more comfortable ride. Although it gets a little jittery over rough roads, it’s comfortable for the most part.
Inside, there’s nappa leather seats and racy red seatbelts, along with a 12.3in infotainment screen sitting next to a 12.3in digital instrument panel that’s optional on lesser models. But while the interior looks great, it doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as the Audi S5 Cabriolet’s. If you want to carry passengers in the rear with the roof up, shorter adults will be fine, but taller ones might find head and leg room a bit tight.
It may be the most potent E-class Cabriolet you can buy, but the E53 is a luxury car first and foremost, feeling more at home when it’s cruising than being pushed hard. Bear in mind, too, that the rival Audi S5 Cabriolet is very nearly as capable and much cheaper.
Roof-down driving is highly civilised; there’s seating for four, too