Delicate hybrids are slowly gaining floor within the automotive business, and for good purpose. A 48-volt system can enhance effectivity via prolonged stop-start activation, brake regeneration and engine-off coasting, and it is much less advanced than a plug-in hybrid getup. Some techniques, although, one-up the gentle hybrid’s effectivity push with an electrical motor that may present advantages past effectivity. 

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53’s gentle hybrid powertrain delivers each thrift and thrust in spades. Its delicate appears to be like are good for individuals who may need some additional pep of their step with out shouting it from the mountaintops, making it the muted possibility for individuals who won’t need boisterous visuals current on AMG’s strongest choices.

Appears may deceive

If you happen to’re going for an under-the-radar strategy to efficiency, the E53 — or another massive Merc destined for fancy males in costly fits — matches the invoice. The appears to be like are understated, with only a few laborious strains between the entrance and rear. It appears to be like like a carbon copy of each different mainline Mercedes sedan, which it is alleged to. Despite the fact that the design language debuted again within the 2014 mannequin yr, it nonetheless appears to be like nice.

The one actual allusions to efficiency on the E53 are the AMG grille up entrance, the 4 spherical tailpipes out again and, after all, the rear and aspect badges, which might be optionally deleted for some correct stealth. Buying and selling the chrome bits for gloss-black trim is price each penny of the $650 upcharge. Keener eyes may even word completely different wheels; my tester rocks a $750 optionally available set of 20-inch alloy wheels with black accents. However whereas the rollers look the enterprise and fill the wells properly, there are some trade-offs in experience high quality. Extra on that shortly.

If you happen to like your engine’s violence with a aspect of aesthetic silence, the E-Class retains issues good and delicate.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Whereas I believed the sport-sport-sport motif within the similarly-sized AMG GT53’s cabin was a little bit claustrophobic, I’ve no such qualms in regards to the E53. That foolish high-sided heart console is gone, and with it the least ergonomic shifter I’ve ever skilled. Right here, the whole lot is good and low, including a bit extra airiness to the inside. There’s nonetheless ample space for storing within the heart console, and I believe the column-mounted shifter is significantly better to make use of always. Whereas the cupholders are simpler to achieve, the wi-fi telephone charger continues to be hidden behind them, locking your telephone away in case you deign to carry drinks into the equation.

In conventional Mercedes sedan style, the E53 has greater than sufficient visibility in all instructions. It is each ethereal and comfy, thanks partially to my tester’s $1,320 massaging entrance seats, that are my favourite within the business. The $2,990 Nappa leather-based improve makes the whole lot really feel actually costly, though spending $1,600 for a flowery headliner looks as if a waste. Each rows are a lot soft, with ample house for tall passengers within the again. Going even farther again, the trunk can accommodate groceries, golf luggage, long-weekend suitcases, you identify it. It might not have the benefit of entry hatchback provides, but it surely’s nonetheless capacious as heck.

Imply inexperienced machine

Each 53-badged AMG carries the identical potent powertrain. It begins with a Three.Zero-liter turbocharged inline-six, which places out 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. That is supplemented with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that packs each an built-in starter/generator and an electrical compressor, the latter of which might present an additional 22 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

The result’s phenomenal. There is a small gauge on the backside of the digital cluster that tracks whether or not the EQ Increase system is charging or sending energy to the wheels. It would not even take a full stomp to see the gauge’s needle swing towards energy, and when that occurs, the E53 simply pushes itself ahead, but it surely’s so effectively built-in with the fuel engine that it appears like a singular entity shoving the automotive alongside. It is a strong 90% of the AMG 63 expertise, at lower than 90% of the worth.

My tester sports activities the $1,250 exhaust improve, which is a two-mode system that makes the automotive sound surprisingly beefy. There’s only a trace of straight-six rasp in there, however by and enormous, I recognize the ensuing noise, even when I believe it is attempting greater than a little bit to sound like a V8.

The inside appears to be like like another E-Class, however you will not be staring on the stitching when that mild-hybrid torque pushes you into the seat.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Whereas the GT53 I drove relied on adaptive dampers, the E53 comes customary with a sport-oriented air suspension. I am an enormous fan of Mercedes-Benz’s air suspensions, and the story stays the identical right here. In its most snug setting, it does a commendable job dealing with dangerous roads, though I want it might be a bit smoother; a few of that’s because of the automotive’s sportier setup, and the remainder probably comes from the upsize 20-inch wheels wrapped in skinny Pirelli P-Zero summer season tires (245/35 entrance, 275/30 rear). Sticking with the inventory rollers ought to present extra plushness.

The rest of the E53 driving expertise is aces. The steering would not present a complete ton of suggestions, but it surely’s fast to reply and the steering wheel feels good to grip. Save for a little bit of summer-tire noise, the cabin is mighty quiet, thanks partially to my tester’s $1,100 Acoustic Consolation bundle, which provides cabin insulation and a sound-absorbing membrane in each the windshield and aspect home windows.

If you happen to’re involved about how a lot fuel AMG’s V8s suck down, and it is loads, you will be pleasantly stunned with the E53. The EPA charges this sport sedan at 21 miles per gallon metropolis and 28 mpg freeway, which trounces each the BMW M550i xDrive (18 metropolis, 25 freeway) and the outgoing Audi S6 (16 metropolis, 24 freeway) — the feds have but to publish take a look at outcomes for the rejiggered 2020 mannequin. Better of all, these have been numbers I’ve no hassle attaining on the common, even with my foot often making an attempt to friction-weld the fuel pedal to the firewall.

Outdated tech doesn’t suggest dangerous tech

Despite the fact that the E-Class is simply a few mannequin years previous, it snuck in forward of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, the newest and biggest with doodaddery like a digital assistant that may perceive natural-language requests and augmented-reality turn-by-turn instructions. Regardless of being a brand new variant, this E53 nonetheless rocks the previous COMAND system, however age is only a quantity. The system nonetheless feels a lot contemporary, with graphics that are not dated, decently brief boot-up instances and ample responsiveness.

Whereas the GT53 I drove used a brand new model of the system’s touchpad, I truly choose the E53’s older setup, which retains a rotary dial for simpler entry to the dense forest of menus and submenus that, whereas daunting at first, might be dedicated to reminiscence comparatively simply. The display’s 12.Three-inch dimension makes multitasking easy, with a small navigation map hanging alongside the radio or no matter else I’ve open.

COMAND is a high quality system. It is just a bit information-dense.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The 12.Three-inch display to the fitting is paired with one other 12.Three-incher that stands in for a standard gauge cluster. It is fairly highly effective in its personal proper, providing three completely different design layouts and all kinds of what can truly be displayed. It is a little bit more durable to determine than, say, Audi’s Digital Cockpit, but it surely’s all accomplished utilizing the slick little touchpad on the left of the steering wheel (the one on the fitting aspect works the infotainment). All these things is customary on the E53, too.

When it comes to the same old security techniques, the E53 packs customary ahead collision warning, automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring. A surround-view digicam and park help are a $1,290 add-on. All the good things is tucked away within the $2,250 Driver Help Bundle, which provides full-speed adaptive cruise management, energetic lane-keep help, energetic lane-change help, route-based velocity adaptation and evasive steering help. It is a hands-on system, and it is one of many higher ones, with clean motion on each axes, and it is not so heavy-handed that it lulls me into a way of false safety.

How I might spec it

My tester’s base value of $72,500 has ballooned to $98,310 after Mercedes-Benz’s choices frenzy, however as at all times, I can do higher. I am going to begin with the $720 Lunar Blue metallic paint, however I am going to skip the bigger wheels in alternate for extra experience consolation. The $650 Evening Bundle and $1,000 panoramic roof are must-haves in my ebook, and I am going to spring for the $800 lighting bundle that provides adaptivity to the LED headlights.

Inside, I am going to drop $2,990 for Nappa leather-based as a result of I do not just like the inventory vinyl, and dark-brown wooden veneer trim is a $Zero improve, so why not. Winters get chilly, so I am going to spend $1,050 on a bundle that features heated armrests and a heated steering wheel. It is free so as to add Nappa leather-based to the steering wheel, and who am I to look a present horse within the mouth?

I am going to cap it off with $1,320 for massaging seats, $450 for entrance seat air flow, $1,100 foor the sound-deadening bundle and $1,250 for the energetic exhaust. That leaves me with a way more palatable $83,880 window sticker, much less vacation spot. I nonetheless cannot afford it, however now I am unable to afford it barely much less.

All the way down to brass tacks

The E53’s major rivals are the Audi S6 and the BMW M550i xDrive. The Audi S6 has a brand new model coming for 2020, with its personal mild-hybrid setup, however no person’s pushed it but so I am unable to communicate to it, and I might choose the Merc over the outgoing S6 all day. The BMW M550i xDrive would not have a hybrid system, but it surely’s faster than the last-generation M5, though I am not in love with BMW’s present interiors. The E63 is at all times accessible, too, however that $30,000 window-sticker premium is mighty pricey. There are some fringe rivals, just like the Lexus GS F, however that automotive provides sub-E53 efficiency at a beginning value some $10,000 larger. Yikes. 

Mercedes-Benz has an actual gem on its fingers with the E53. This new EQ Increase system not solely is the long run, it proves that the long run would not suck. 

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