ON THE ROAD: MERCEDES-AMG E 53 COUPE

Where does this car fit in?

A good question. Mercedes-Benz has been making plenty of noises – so to speak, through their AMG brand. This was mainly due to their V8-powered cars with their boastful bravado. Unfortunately most of those cars are not accessible to the customer who is not necessarily looking for bravado, but does like above-average performance. That customer has had no product, until now. Enter the 53 range, of which this is the first here.

So an entry-level AMG?

Entry-level in the larger car segment. Remember at the younger, lower end, there is still the AMG 45 range, as well as the upcoming AMG 35 models. Therefore 53 AMG is a step higher than the normal cars, but below the big 63 V8s. Our E 53 Coupe is such a car, and hits a spot that the majority of people will appreciate. Performance combined with some value. That said, this car is pretty quick, as our test figures show. So it is no “entry-level” where it counts.

Say some more

Since Mercedes-Benz ditched the V6 engine configuration in favour of the straight-six layout, the company has enjoyed a boost in the mid-section of performance as far as their larger cars are concerned overseas. Fortunately Mzansi is now experiencing the same. Power is delivered in a linear fashion without much fanfare, using a turbocharger and a 48V electrical system. Hence these strong acceleration and in-gear numbers. The 9-speed transmission works well with the engine to plant power and torque on to the ground, pushed along by all four wheels. Traction is therefore key. And there is plenty of it here. The E 53 Coupe is rapid and assured when cornering, keeping itself well composed and driver confident.

What are the features?

As an E-Class underneath the car is highly equipped. Some highlight features include such items as the 2-door layout that features two frameless windows, an electric sunroof, multispoke alloy wheels, a large Mercedes-Benz emblem on the big grille, LED headlights, a slight rear spoiler and 4 exhaust tailpipes around an air diffuser. The interior is of similar quality, with a sporty, perforated, flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles, a touch screen infotainment system with all the info and controls one would expect, Bluetooth connectivity, digital radio, voice control, head-up display, rear reversing camera, electric boot lid, sports leather seats and red seatbelts among a host of others.

Conclusion

Mercedes-Benz has hit the sweet spot with the E 53. It looks beautiful from both inside and outside, with those long, smooth, sweeping lines, a strong but not arrogant powertrain and enough practicality to live with on a daily basis. Price is a little high though, but can perhaps be justified by the outright performance numbers.

QUICK STATS

MERCEDES-AMG E 53 COUPE

ENGINE: 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder turbo petrol

POWER: 336kW / 457 PS at 6 100rpm; 

TORQUE: 520Nm at 1 800rpm

0 – 100KM/H: 4.8 seconds (Gauteng tested)

GEARBOX: 9-speed automatic

DRIVE: 4Matic all-wheel-drive

TOP SPEED: 250km/h

FUEL AVERAGE:  12.6 l/100km

CO2 e: 203 g/km

PRICE STANDARD: R1 322 200

NATURAL RIVALS: Audi S5 Coupe

*PRICE RIVALS: BMW M4 Coupe, Porsche 718 Spyder manual, Range Rover Velar D240 HSE

BABE-MAGNETIC FACTOR: Very High

*A price rival falls within R30 000 or so of the subject’s price on either side of its price spectrum for cars over R350 000, R20 000 for cars of between R250 000 and R350 000 and R10 000 for cars below R250 000.

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