The young hooligan

The AMG E 53 4Matic+ was launched in India a few months back, and it is the ideal pick for someone looking for a step-down version to the E 63 S 4Matic+ or a performance iteration of the standard E-Class LWB

By Harshit Srinivas
New Update
The young hooligan
Expanding the AMG portfolio, Mercedes-Benz India introduced two new AMGs last year – the E 53 4Matic+ and E 63 S 4Matic+. We had our opinions about the E 63 S in the past, but the E 53 is the new one to consider. Not because it’s the latest addition to the AMG lineup but because it’s the second product in the AMG 53 Series and the first AMG with a saloon body style. Also, as mentioned it acts as an ideal option for those looking for a performance machine over the regular E-Class, and for those who do not want to shell out the added price of another new E-Class to buy the E 63 S 4Matic+. Yes, the E 53 4Matic+ comes at a sticker price of Rs 1.07 crore while the E 63 S 4Matic+ is for Rs 1.77 crore, whereas the standard E-Class LWB starts at Rs 67 lakh. And, with that, let us get behind the wheel for detailed first drive impressions.
The E 53 4Matic+ as said is based on the outgoing E-Class. With cosmetic changes and AMG styling, the E 53 can be distinguished from an E-Class up front and from the back only, but from the sides, it is bang on identical to the regular ‘E’ and makes it difficult for you to recognise it from the side profile. And, speaking of looks, upfront, you have the sporty bumpers complemented with a Panamerican grille. On the bonnet, you have these huge power domes for an aggressive stance up front. While on the sides, you have the Turbo 4Matic+ lettering on the fenders and the newly designed 19-inch rims distinguishing it from the regular E-Class. At the rear, things are different with a sporty bumper, quad-pipe exhausts and diffuser. Overall, the E 53 AMG has undergone some cosmetic treatment to make it distinct from the regular E-Class but definitely will take a beat for you to recognise it on the roads. 
While being a performance iteration, there is no compromise on luxury with the E 53. On the inside, a  slew of features never let you complain. The cabin overall does not come finished in carbon fibre like the regular AMGs but does have a top-notch build and finish of a Mercedes-Benz. A lot of bits you find inside are identical to the E-Class, but distinguishing them from the regular E-Class is the red stitching on the upholstery, seats and dash. Complimenting these red accents overall are the red seat belts, making you feel cocooned in a much sportier Merc. Besides these, there are plenty of hints to draw your attention to it being an AMG spec, such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel, seats with AMG lettering and dashboard finishers. The infotainment system is retained from the outgoing E-Class, and with the latest version of MBUX, it gets the AMG Track pace feature integrated with it. This may sound more of a gimmick to the prospective buyers but instead comes in handy when the drivers want to analyse their driving skills and data in one place. And, when you step inside the rear of the cabin, things aren’t compromised here either. Though looking at the spec sheet, you may find a marginal difference in the dimensions, but trust me there is no lack of legroom or headroom while sitting three abreast. It won’t be that spacious in comparison to the LWB variant but it isn’t that punishing as well. Also, speaking of luxury you get three-zone climate controls, a colossal panoramic sunroof, blinds and a 13-speaker Burmester sound system to dish out your favourite tracks on the go. Overall, the cabin strikes a perfect balance between sportiness and luxury, with a never-ending list of safety features.
Performance and Drive
Since the start of this review, you might have thought, if this one deserves an AMG tag or not. Well, to answer your question, let me give you some deets about what’s roaring under the hood. The E 53 4Matic+ comes powered with an AMG-tuned 3-litre in-line six, turbocharged petrol engine, producing a whopping 435hp and 520Nm. The engine comes mated to the nine-speed automatic gearbox and the power is sent to all four wheels. Also, not to miss out is the 48V mild-hybrid system, which gives a significant bump of 22hp and 250Nm translating to negligible turbo-lag at the lower end of the power band. The E 53 comes with four driving modes Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. And, as the name suggests Comfort alters the throttle response and suspension settings to the one suited for city drives with a not-so loud exhaust note and comfortable ride filtering the small bumps and undulations with ease. The Sport and Sport+ modes are the growliest which along with a throaty exhaust note featuring pops and crackles, hunkers down the entire sedan to its lowest ride height and allows you to drive it enthusiastically. You may find this mode to be exciting enough while pushing you to drive around the maximum time with it engaged. The Individual mode, needless to say, is a customisable option as per your choice for throttle response, suspension and steering settings. Overall, the ride and handling have the perfect boxes tick marked with firm ride quality. The ride as in an AMG is not at all punishing, and even in sports mode isn’t that bone jarring. Whereas speaking of handling, the steering is sharp and direct, and you experience a negligible amount of body roll while driving it in a spirited manner through your favourite set of twisties. Also, while going into corners enthusiastically, you would feel the E 53 to be nimble, agile and manoeuvrable, but what you won’t get is a playful rear. Why? Well, for that you should say all thanks to the electronics and safety features intervening to keep you safe. So, now you know why this one deserved an AMG badge, it may not have the V8 engine roaring, or the elder sibling E 63 S fun characteristic, but it does have what’s needed to deserve the badge. And, in the end, it’s all that matters.
To sum it all up, the Mercedes AMG E 53 4Matic+ serves as a value proposition for those who wish to enjoy the best of both worlds. Neither does it compromise sportiness nor does it compromise luxury. And, if you are not willing to spend a huge chunk of almost a crore rupees (excluding taxes) over the standard E-Class then a premium of almost thirty-forty lakhs gives you this, which is the perfect package with a step-down AMG experience. Yes, the game definitely gets upped in the E 63 S 4Matic+, in terms of performance, drive and experience but so does the price which is not a small amount at all. So, this serves as your perfect choice and with no rivals in this range and segment.