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SOFTCORE AMG: 2021 MERCEDES-AMG E 53 CABRIOLET

Here in the heart of the Arizona desert, most would believe its convertible season nearly all-year-round. And considering there are more bank holidays then rainy days in our sandy refuge, it does manage to get a wee bit cooler than our sense of humor and calls for a comfy hoodie and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice. With the all-new E-Class Cabriolet arriving at office however during our brief winter bluster, we bundled up and hit the Starbucks before letting our weave get a free blowout.

With the refreshed Mercedes-AMG E 63 sedan in our rearview mirror from just a few articles back, Mercedes-Benz has hit the mid-life crisis mark of their current fifth-generation E-Class. Even though it began a new life back in 2017, time moves much quicker than it did even a decade ago, and with the all-new full-size luxury flagship S-Class hitting the pavement, the E-Class was set for a mid-cycle refresh to keep things tidy and current. 

Since Mercedes-Benz has cut the S-Class coupe and cabriolet from its line-up, the only way to enjoy open air frill from the three-star brand is to downgrade into the E-Class category. Calling it a downgrade is a bit of a stretch as there is enough luxury and refinement to satisfy anybody’s trifle desires. However going the route of the two door lifestyle doesn’t vet as many options as the four-door E-Class, leaving the performance options fairly minimal.

The two-door variants immediately cut out the weak link of the turbocharged four-cylinder that is available on the E350 Sedan and opts for the more powerful 3.0-liter inline turbocharged six-cylinder as its standard engine. Opting for its 4MATIC all-wheel drive brings about a $2500 difference. But we’re here to kick it up a nickel… AMG style. Unlike the E63 sedan however, not everyone has a toddler living inside there pants and the E53 is the softcore AMG that brings out our table manners in our driving behavior.

Both the Coupe and Cabriolet don’t exceed beyond the E53 AMG charter, where the base straight-six engine gets a touch of AMG engineering magic. Taking its original 362-horsepower performance to 429-horsepower, the E 53 gets a little sass in its attitude. But the engineering finesse doesn’t just take on engine performance; Mercedes-Benz has gone into the mild-hybrid game as well. There new performance enhancer known as EQ Boost is a small electric motor that can add 21-horsepower and fills in the gaps where some of the engines performance may lack. For instance turbo-lag, we can consider that a thing of the past. Our Mercedes-AMG E 53 isn’t just a quick shooter, its feisty sprinter getting from 0-60-mph in under 4.5-seconds.

Coupes and Cabriolets are quite often known for their modified chassis to handle the reinforcements and structural integrity of the design. When a convertible loses its roof, it loses a steel beam that spans across, causing the engineers to do a wee bit of clever restructuring.  These modifications tend to disrupt the driving balance and increase weight substantially. With our E53 Cabriolet however, it’s quite the opposite. There is a swift performance balance and driving integrity that remains intact to its original chassis development making it quite an enjoyable car to drive.

The 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard on this E 53 AMG whether we liked it or not. But thanks to its different drive modes such as Sport, Sport Plus, Comfort and Individual for those hard to please, we’re able to refine this E 53 to our driving pleasure. Leaving it mostly in Comfort mode however pleases the nature of its intended proposition of a leisurely cruise with the top down enjoying the subtle composure of its chassis. Opening the taps on Sport and Sport Plus, starts to bring out that toddler inside, but since its performance is more mature than the E 63 ways, its like having a kindergarten teacher under the hood managing our disruptive outburst. Clearly we never listen and let the sport exhaust make all the noise it was intended to do.

The styling has been slightly upgraded for an even more suave, harmonious gesture. There is a certain level of aggression, yet charming disposition to its overall character. Focusing more on the details of headlight and taillight placements gives it a more streamline, elegance approach and complements its overall demeanor.

Inside, much of the original E-Class design scheme has remained un-touched. The beautifully finished interior with matte wood trim and our featured orange leather accent made for a peaceful remedy from the usual daily office grind. Newly fitted, Mercedes has upgraded the infotainment system with their latest augmented navigation with live-video display. As we progress with smartphone technology and the use in-vehicle navigation is becoming obsolete, Mercedes managed to revamp the system, making this one of the better navigation systems on the market.

There is a lot to like about the Mercedes-AMG E 53 Cabriolet from its coy performance to the premium interior and open air refreshment. This is a car for the people that don’t need to prove a level of bravery when it comes to the AMG status. The E53 is just enough satisfaction to leave you with a smile and not on the side of the road with red and blue lights in the rear view mirror.

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle: 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Cabriolet
Base Price: $82,850
As-Tested Price: $95,238

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 3.0-liter Turbocharged Inline Six-Cylinder with EQ Boost
HP | Torque: 429-HP |384 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: AMG Speed-Shift 9-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: AMG Performance 4MATIC All-Wheel Drive
MPG: Not Listed
As-Tested MPG: 24.0-MPG
Fuel Range: 345 miles
0-60 MPH: ±4.5 seconds

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