Summer ready Mercedes-AMG E53

Summer is just around the corner and for many people that means that they can soon lounge next to the pool, spend hours on the golf course or just enjoy our beautiful South African climate.

For me, however, I prefer to enjoy the summer sun from behind the wheel of a good convertible. It just so happened that one arrived at the Autodealer office in the form of the new Mercedes-AMG E53 cabriolet. So what is this new car like? I took it to Nelspruit to find out.

Topless wonder

Let me be completely honest here, I’m not generally a fan of convertibles or cabriolets however when this specific car arrived I couldn’t help but get excited. The new E-Class is a rather good looking machine and even more so in two-door guise, especially with the dark red/brown roof and Champaign body colour. The E53 AMG model gets a more aggressive-looking front bumper with louvres and large vents on the flanks, 20-inch wheels also feature.

Drop the top and the cars beauty is amplified even more. It reveals the beige leather interior but more on that later. The rear of the car is also quite eye-catching with the elongated taillights that feature a sort of crystal flake design element. The lower bumper houses four tailpipes, two on each side which elude to the cars performance credentials.

What’s under the roof?

Moving to that interior though, it is classic with many a modern touch like the two large screens mounted neatly into the facia. One screen is the window into the cars infotainment system, the other a digital instrument cluster with various customizable themes to suit your preferred taste. The twin 12.3-inch screens are clear with some of the best graphics on offer in the market. Using the system is relatively easy however there are a few menus within menus. Thankfully the car that I drove features smartphone connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which reduces unnecessary user involvement.

It was, however, the overall interior specification on this particular car that made my heart melt. You see, many test cars these days that Autodealer gets to experience come with the usual black and aluminium trim colour option. This specific Mercedes, however, featured beige leather with a light grain wood trim. The top part of the facia was finished in dark maroon, brown leather. The entire car was, in my opinion, the perfect blend of old-school Mercedes-Benz with modern technology.

Old and new in harmony

The engine however really enhances the above-mentioned statement. It’s the new 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder motor that develops 320 kW and 530 N.m, while new-school technology comes in the form of a mild-hybrid electric motor that works with the petrol engine. This motor develops around 16 kW and 250 N.m for short bursts of time. Take into account the performance, the 9-speed gearbox and the fact that the car is also fitted with the brands 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system, that AMG badge is most definitely justifiable. It is, however, the aural pleasure that gave me the tingles as I made my way through the Lowveld. It howls, pops and bangs, which is very un-Mercedes and more Jaguar like.

The drive

Out on the highway, the car proved to be a well suited long-distance car as it returned a comfortable ride as well as frugal 10-litres/100km on a combined cycle considering its performance credentials, credentials which I exploited as soon as the road got a bit twisty. The car hugs the road, the steering is sharp and when in Sport+ mode it launches from corner to corner with eagerness, all while providing a suitable soundtrack for the occasion.


Yes, some will argue that a hard-top coupe option is dynamically superior and they might be correct but on that road, on that day with the roof down, I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. However, at R1 441 226 without all of the lovely options that my test came fitted with, one could consider it a bit of a financial stretch for a luxury item like this especially when you consider the fact that the new Mercedes-AMG CLS53 which shares the same engine, gearbox and drivetrain costs just a few thousand more which offers a large boot and two extra doors.


The looks

The engine and sound

Compliant ride quality


Less sensible than alternatives in the stable

Questionable residual value

The cost of options

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