By on January 25, 2021

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe Fast Facts

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six (429 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm; 384 lb-ft @ 1,800-5,800 rpm)

Nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

21 city / 28 highway / 23 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

12.3 city, 8.5 highway, 10.6 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $74,950 (U.S) / $88,400 (Canada)

As Tested: $96,645 (U.S.) / $109,400 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and N/A for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

For most folks, a $96K price tag is just too much. It is indeed a steep price to pay for any automobile. But spend enough time behind the wheel of the sublime Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 coupe, and that amount of cash outlay suddenly seems like a bargain.

A car this good typically fetches well over six figures.

Sure, the Merc isn’t the only excellent sports coupe that you can get for less than a hundred grand. The Corvette C8 and others also beckon. But should the Mercedes be your speed, you won’t regret signing on the dotted line.

At least not when you’re behind the wheel. Long-term reliability and repair costs aren’t generally in the purview of a review based off a week-long loan.

One of the occupational hazards of this job is that you get vehicles you don’t want to return. This was one of them.

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe

It starts with the silky-smooth, three-liter turbocharged inline-six which makes 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes doesn’t list the curb weight, but whatever it, the engine has no problem motivating the car with alacrity. Merging warps time and space.

Ironically, I got a speeding ticket in this car when I wasn’t driving hard – just loafing but unaware of what the limit was. Still, I was going faster than I thought I was, because this coupe is also silky smooth in terms of ride.

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe

Turn-in is sharp (and sharper in sport and sport + drive modes), and while the steering is electro-mechanical, it rarely feels artificial and generally feels connected to the wheels and road. It’s accurate, too, with little play or necessity for corrections.

This Merc is an all-around attack dog – handles well, blurs the scenery with ease, and doesn’t sacrifice ride. Nor does it sacrifice interior-material quality or scrimp on luxury features. Or exterior styling. Even its fuel-economy numbers are respectable. However, the rear seat is, shall we say, cramped? Yeah, let’s say that.

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe

At least the cabin is pleasing to the eye. Design clearly took priority here, and the swooping divider between the upper and low dash, the one that houses the air-conditioning vents, looks great. So does the all-digital dash, though I shudder to think about repair costs.

Speaking of costs, here’s how it all breaks down. $74,950 gets you in the door, and that includes the turbo 6, nine-speed automatic trans, start/stop, adjustable drive modes, all-wheel drive, air suspension, and rear spoiler. That’s just the mechanicals and performance stuff.

Standard comfort and convenience features include dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, keyless entry and starting, Bluetooth, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, touchpad infotainment controller, satellite radio, Burmester premium audio, heated front seats, performance steering wheel, electronic trunk closer, panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, active brake assist, blind-spot assist, car to X communication, and LED lighting all around.

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe

Options included the Lunar Blue Metallic paint ($720), black and white Nappa leather ($2,990), Nappa leather performance steering wheel ($500), 20-inch/five-spoke wheels ($750), high-performance exhaust ($1,250), track pace ($250), massaging front seats ($950), heated and cooled front seats, ($450), black Dinamica headliner ($1,600), upgraded Burmester audio ($4,550), Driver-Assistance package (full suite of driver’s aids, $2,250), Parking-Assistance package (active parking assist, 60-degree camera, $1,290), Exterior Lighting package (includes adaptive headlights, $800), Warmth and Comfort package (heated steering wheel, heated armrests, fast heating for front seats, $1,050), Energizing Comfort package (cabin air filtration, fragrance, $550), and AMG Night package (black styling elements for front splitter and rear diffuser insert, black chrome exhaust tailpipe inserts, $750).

With $995 for destination, that makes $96,645.

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe

That’s a lot of dough, but one also gets a lot of car. I had honestly expected the price tag to be much higher until I consulted the Monroney label.

Yeah, the backseat is pretty useless for adults. There are long-term repair costs to think about when a car goes digital with its dashboard. And while the EPA fuel-economy numbers are respectable at first glance, you likely won’t see those returns if you drive this car the way it was meant to be driven.

Somehow, that all stops mattering when you’re at speed. Maybe this car is a $96K bargain, but it’s definitely a $96K worry eraser.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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13 Comments on “2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 Coupe Review – A $96K Bargain...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Not that I can afford either one but I’d rather have the C63S coupe. I just built one and checking just about every box came in at $87k.

  • avatar

    These are looking old at this point, and there’s a refreshed E-Class lineup for 2021 with a new version of the I6.

    Think I’d get that one.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    $100K and no V8?

    Upon further review, just now discovering the fact that the E550 has been discontinued since 2017 shows how little the German offerings appeal to me in this market. Give me an LC500 for the same money.

    • 0 avatar
      GoNavy99

      Ya so in my younger days I tooled around in this weird car that slung a 3.6l twin turbo six out over the rear axle. Cost me over $100k but I did not bemoan the lack of a V8. Give it a shot.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How many is Merc managing to move each year? Aren’t the people who in the past would buy this… haven’t they moved on to SUVs or dedicated sports cars?

    The coupe market seems dead to me. Unless you’re getting a Miata, Porsche, Mustang or Vette, or you’re in the stratosphere with pricing, who’s buying coupes?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      In 2019, M-B moved ~40k E / CLS-Class cars in the US market.

      How many were AMGs, how many were coupes, or specifically, AMG Coupes? Don’t know for sure, but coupes can’t be more than 1/4 of E-Class sales. If AMG Coupes are 1/4 of that, then maybe they move a couple hundred of these a month.

      Personally, for similar money I’d consider an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Not that many.

      It seems a lot of coupe/convertible/four-door-coupe models are on the chopping block at Mercedes-Benz. They’ve already decided not to build coupe and convertible variants of the new W223 S-Class, meaning that it will be sedan-only. I believe they are also killing off the AMG GT 4-Door and CLS-Class, to be replaced with a single four-door-coupe electric model. The E-Class coupe and convertible are probably marked for execution, too…which will leave just the C-Class coupe and convertible. The SL-Class will also live on, fortunately, although it will return to being soft-top.

      Me, I’m not particularly interested in a sporty coupe unless it’s a true performance car, like a 911. I’d either get that or focus on comfort and design, and go for an LC 500 or 500h. Probably the latter, honestly.

  • avatar

    OK Boomer. New Generation chooses Tesla.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I have exactly one minor millionaire pal. He’s had his eye on this car for over two years. Had a short drive, was as struck as Mr Healey here was, and got the lease figures when it actually appeared at the local dealer, wrestled with the idea of being seen in it and all it implies. Because, folks, it REALLY looks the part in the metal. Expensive class. Then Covid-19 struck. He and his wife’s retirement plan had been to tour North America in a bit of style. He’s a long time gearhead, had slightly second-hand Porsches and BMWs, looked after them, kept them for years. Not a flake. Now, how long is it going to be for things to return to normal? Plans on hold, downer, cannot see beating it to death on just our crap roads even if it can take it. Just doen’t want to.

    There are a whole bunch of Mercedes, some no better than Hondas, some grossly opulent. This one is the real deal, and no carping from the bleachers, please. You really have no idea.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I’m sure that sitting in this car feels really special. I’m sure it drives really nice. And I’m sure there are a few ways to talk yourself into thinking its priced right. I have two problems though. One is that this is far too much to pay for a 3.0L turbo. And the second is that this is far too much to pay for a coupe that doesn’t look all that special. Mercedes has better looking sedans than this. In fact, the E class sedan is better looking than this. That profile does not look like a special car at all. And with all that roof and glass, the report here is that the back seat isn’t particularly useful. You don’t see a lot of these on the road and there’s good reason.

  • avatar
    BigDuke6

    Black Dinamica headliner $ 1600…….oh yeah! Wouldn’t even put it on my list without THAT……..

  • avatar
    kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

    hrmmm that over the top ”space age look” on the interior is a 1950’s+modern scifi mish mash. Not a fan.

    Add to that the side profile shot made it look like someone did a BMW+MERC photo merge ..

    The whole thing is .. weird. Gotta me a new-boomer thing ..

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    The only time I ever put “96k” and “bargain” in the same sentence is when I’m considering something with a PIN number attached to it. This will get closer to “bargain” when it’s selling for 46k in 2 years with 10,000 miles on it!

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