2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Cabriolet new car reviews

What do we talk about first, the performance, the luxury or the technology? All of it? Okay, let’s go.

Performance: The Mercedes-AMG E53 is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six. Not impressed yet? With a turbo. Total output is 429 horsepower along with 384 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s only about 30 horsepower less than the latest Corvette. (Okay, the Corvette kills it on torque, but let’s celebrate the little things once in a while.)

That engine is backed by the AMG Speedshift 9G, a nine-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are placed behind the steering wheel.

Luxury: All of it. It’s an AMG Benz, after all.

Technology: The driveline contains a 48-volt EQ Boost, and here’s the explanation from its maker: “This integrated electric motor system, known as EQ boost, assists the combustion engine by adding up to 21 hp for short periods. EQ boost also assists when accelerating, makes driving without the combustion engine possible ("sailing") and supplies the battery with power by means of high-efficiency recuperation. By doing so it makes fuel savings possible that were previously the exclusive domain of high-voltage hybrid technology.”

Suggested retail price is $80,350 and, of course, our car sported thousands in options. As a showcase for the press fleet, that’s the usual. No one is saying that you have to order them all.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

The short version: perfection.

For the slightly longer version, let’s start with the gearbox. Really? Yeah. Why? It’s just that good.

At this point, we have to accept the fact that traditional manual boxes just aren’t coming back. However, not all of these automatic boxes are created equally. Some feel a little laggy. Others are too quick to shift to a higher gear.

Whoever is programming the boxes for Mercedes-AMG should get a cookie. Even in the standard mode, the transmission is perfect. The programming isn’t too conservative, and the shifts happen immediately. The transmission always seems to be in the perfect gear. Set it and forget it.

Need to call your own shots? Use the paddle shifters. Reaction is instant. And then, once you’re back to normal cruising, the computer reverts back. Need more control? You can easily click the system into full manual.

There’s a button on the console that opens up the exhaust note. Push it. Really, this should be the default setting and is my only complaint with the entire car.

The 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system doesn’t bind up the car.

Good trunk room, too. I know a guy who fit a BMX bike in one after removing the front wheel.

Yeah, it’s quick. But it’s more than just fast. The engine is so smooth and without any dead spots. And it’s quiet, too. It’s not a Miata, but it doesn’t feel like a land yacht, either. Call it a grown-up sports car, maybe.

Is it comfortable? Yes, of course. As we said in the intro, it’s an AMG Benz, after all.

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