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

What Car? - - Contents - Alan-tay­lor Jones Alan-tay­lor [email protected]­mar­ket.com

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

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