Tested: Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe Exudes Elegant Menace

In a market of flashy and ferocious performance cars, AMG's two-door E53 is subtle yet effective.

We had the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 over a perfect weekend, hot enough to appreciate a luxury car with a vigorous air-conditioning system and ventilated leather seats, yet breezy enough to pop up the sunroof and let the pine scent of mountain air and the smooth thrum of the inline-six engine fill the cabin. This is a no-stress car to drive in a variety of environments, cushioned and sophisticated for the city-street crawl, small enough to park, yet ready and willing to switch modes—easily, with a dial on the steering wheel—and make short work of long straights and rising twisties.

Mercedes offers the AMG-tuned E-class as a sedan, a cabriolet (for those in need of uninterrupted sun or vast rear quarter panels), or the coupe we tested here. We've always liked the E53's version of AMG performance. It's no cheapie, starting at $77,300, but it delivers elegance and power for the price. The E53 isn't as rowdy or violent as its V-8-powered brethren, but it packs an unexpected punch, and we all like a sleeper. It's slightly less a sleeper for 2021, thanks to updated front and rear fascias. The somewhat stodgy grille has been replaced with the Panamericana 12-strake shark's grin found on other AMG models. At the back, quad exhaust outlets flank the rear diffuser.

2021 mercedesamg e53 coupe
 

HIGHS: Understated performance, seductive inline-six engine note, beautifully styled and finished.

 Take this thing out and people move over, even when you're just cruising. Nobody wants a grinning shark in their rearview mirror. If you do want to get on it a bit, the super- and turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six is more than happy to help you make the pass. With 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, the AMG E53 is more than capable of putting traffic behind you. Think 60 mph in four seconds flat and a quarter-mile pass in 12.5 seconds at 110 mph. It's still possible to catch the car off guard with a hasty bit of throttle application, but it's more a slow downshift from the nine-speed automatic transmission than it is reluctance on the part of the powerplant. Doesn't matter; it's momentary. And then the revs are climbing, the scenery is blurring, and the camper van that waved you by is far back in the distance.

2021 mercedesamg e53 coupe
If the E53's exterior is somewhat subtle even with the redesign, the interior is like sitting inside a collector's-edition baseball mitt. Ours was a brash combination of black and brown leather. You may have grown tired of the mossy accumulation of faux suede in modern interiors—you won't find even a tuft of it in the E53. There is one optional interior with Dinamica suede, but our $100,160 test car was broad color blocks of leather everywhere. Mercedes's art-deco metal speaker covers and turbine-engine air-conditioning vents look a little anachronistic against the more modern door panels and carbon-patterned aluminum dash trim, but the overall effect is one of quality and confidence. The design elements continue through the whole of the cabin, with the back seats treated to the same motif: Everyone gets a big chunk of brown leather to rest an arm against. It's also very comfortable, although more so in front than in the back. There's plenty of headroom back there despite the arched coupe roofline, but legroom gets tight as the front seats go back, particularly at the foot box. As in most coupes, the rear is best saved for short journeys and people you don't like, although the lack of a B-pillar does lend an old-school Chevelle-like airiness to the back seats. We also wouldn't give it high marks for ease of child-seat installation, as there's a lot of quarter-panel between you and the LATCH anchors. This is a car for commuting and date night. Leave the kids at home.
2021 mercedesamg e53 coupe

LOWS: Fussy interior controls, occasional recalcitrance from the nine-speed transmission, can top six figures with options.

 The refreshed E53 gets the glitzy Mercedes MBUX infotainment system. A 12.3-inch center touchscreen merges with the digital dash in a wide sweep of glass that's impressive enough to elicit gasps from passengers who aren't used to such futuristic cockpits. It's controllable via touch, console touchpad, steering-wheel touch, and voice. The system is great—quick, clear, and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—but we'd happily trade the haptic steering-wheel pads for old-fashioned buttons. The digital dash offers seemingly endless info and layouts, and we saw them all in rotation, thanks to accidental thumb swipes across the touch sensor every five minutes. It's a case of too many options just because you can. Similarly flashy and of dubious usefulness is the center screen's habit of displaying the view from the front-facing camera at stoplights. Thanks, Mercedes, but there's a little thing called a windshield here—we can already see what's in front. Precious seconds were lost switching it back to the CarPlay screen to see the next turn. A few more seconds will be spent fumbling to find the tiny Park button on the wee shifter lever. We can only imagine that the interior-design team at AMG consists of one designer with hands the size of dinner plates—they did the thick tree branch of a steering wheel—and another who is an actual fairy, responsible for the miniscule steering-wheel buttons and the delicate shifter stalk buried behind the big wheel.

2021 mercedesamg e53 coupe
After you've found the shifter and put it in Drive—a pinkie-out activity if ever there was one—the gentle part is over. It's not that you have to muscle the E53 around, but it lets you play rough with it. There's a tendency to say that any good-handling car feels lighter than it is. That's not the case with the E53. It feels every bit of its 4511 pounds, but it's a controllable weight, turning in smoothly while feeling planted. Comfort mode is a little soft and sluggish, but Sport feels excellent, firm enough for aggressive cornering, sharp in the steering, and upping the feline growl of the engine; we recorded an invigorating 85-decibel snarl at full throttle. Sport+ is the top option, but it makes for a less comfortable ride and mostly just ratchets up the harshness. As the 4Matic+ badge indicates, it does use the AMG-tuned version of Benz's all-wheel-drive system, which can send as much as 100 percent of the torque to the rear axle.

Shod with 20-inch run-flat Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Run Flat summer tires, our test car’s 0.87 g of skidpad grip couldn’t quite match the 0.91 g posted by a similar 2019 model we tested, and its so-so 172-foot stop from 70 mph was a few feet longer than that previous car's effort. More impressive is that the E53's performance is accompanied by a solid 32 mpg on our 75-highway test, a 4-mpg improvement over its EPA estimate.

2021 mercedesamg e53 coupe
If you're looking for a car to charm strangers and start conversations at gas stops, this isn't it. The Mercedes-AMG E53 coupe does not make friends. When we parked it in the cute hippie mountain town of Wrightwood, California, a couple of teens on bicycles immediately glared at us. "Gentrifiers," one whispered to the other. Okay, maybe not, but they thought it, and they weren't wrong. This car's appearance in a neighborhood means home prices are about to go up. It exudes the same elegant menace as the molten ball of mercury in Terminator 2, right before it morphed into a killing machine. It's intimidating on the road and when parked, which is good—a Mercedes should not endear you to people. It should make them think you're going to represent their corporate enemies in court and win. This is a winner's car. No wonder it's grinning.
 
(https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a37049268/2021-mercedes-amg-e53-coupe-drive/)

New Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV prototype review

We hit the road in a prototype version of the all-electric Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80

 Verdict

Almost as practical and as clever as ever, it appears the Skoda Enyaq Coupe will offer few drawbacks over its conventional counterpart. Skoda has never been one for compromise, and on this evidence, that trend looks set to continue long into the future.

Skoda has dabbled with coupes in the past, but most recently it’s come to be known for its humble family hatchbacks, cavernous estate models and spacious SUVs rather than anything you’d conventionally call stylish, or fashionable.

But not one to get left behind, the Czech maker is gearing up to launch a coupe version of its pure-electric Enyaq SUV later this year. Set to be revealed in December, the Enyaq Coupe iV will go on sale in the UK in January next year, with first customer cars arriving in early summer 2022.

It’ll get all the same battery and motor combinations as the existing Enyaq SUV, meaning a choice of iV 60 (58kWh battery, 177bhp) and iV 80 (77kWh, 201bhp) models, plus a range-topping iV 80X with all-wheel drive and 261bhp. A performance-focused vRS version is planned for later.

To get a taste of what’s in store, we were given the chance to try a camouflaged version of the 4.65m-long Skoda SUV on European roads. Identical from nose to B-pillar, the Coupe’s smoother, more rakish roofline and the subsequent changes inside are the big news here.

These tweaks are arguably best sampled from the rear seat, then. Every version gets a fixed, full-length panoramic roof, but thanks to special heat reflecting glass, the car doesn’t require a roller blind. This frees up space in the back, where only those over six foot will find their heads brushing the roof; knee room is particularly generous, while the MEB platform’s flat floor means even those in the middle can get comfortable.

The boot shrinks, but only marginally – from 585 litres in the standard Enyaq, to 570 litres in the Coupe. It’s a decent shape, and unless you’re regularly loading the car to the roof you’re unlikely to notice the slightly smaller capacity; there’s a big, deep well under the floor that’s perfect for storing the car’s charging cables, too.

Speaking of which, Skoda says that developments in battery technology mean that the Enyaq Coupe will launch with brand-new ‘ME3’ software enabling not only faster peak charging, but a flatter charging curve. While bosses couldn’t confirm charge times at this stage, we can expect the Coupe to better the current flagship Enyaq’s 125kW maximum, as well as slightly reducing the 10-80 per cent charge time of 34 minutes.

In terms of range, a more favourable drag coefficient means the Enyaq Coupe is, Skoda says, capable of “10 to 15km” (6-9 miles) more than the conventional car on a single charge. That should mean, for this iV 80 model, somewhere in the region of 340 miles – versus 331 in the normal Enyaq. The figures haven’t yet been homologated, but in any case, the difference is likely to be negligible in real-world driving.

From behind the wheel, the Coupe is near-enough indistinguishable from any Enyaq we’ve driven to date. Refinement is excellent, tyre noise is non-existent, and wind noise was barely noticeable. This is largely true of the standard SUV too, of course, despite its boxier shape. 

The suspension and chassis feel stiff, but never uncomfortable – aided by smooth roads, the smallest 19-inch wheels, and our Enyaq’s adaptive dampers. The steering is on the weightier side compared with rivals, but lacks the finesse or sharpness found on a Ford Mustang Mach-E, for example.

On-paper, performance is little more than satisfactory alongside, say, a Tesla Model 3, although that doesn’t dent its appeal. You still get that shove of instant torque, but without constantly having to watch your throttle inputs or your speed via the standard-fit digital instrument cluster. Figures haven’t been confirmed, but we expect 0-62mph in around eight seconds and a top speed of around 100mph.

We mentioned that the Enyaq Coupe is visually identical to its standard sibling from the B-pillar forwards – and it’s the same story inside. The cabin is finished in high-grade materials, customisable via Skoda’s range of Loft, Suite, Lounge, EcoSuite and Sportline trims. The overall layout feels familiar, but the climate controls remain hidden in the central infotainment display – frustrating if you want to adjust the temperature or fan speed on the move.

Prices and specs will be revealed alongside the full production car in December, but we expect the Coupe iV to command a circa-five per cent premium over the standard SUV, with prices from around £33,500.

Model:

Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80
Price: TBC
Engine:  77kWh battery, single electric motor
Power/torque:  201bhp/310Nm
Transmission:  Single-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:  8.0 seconds (est)
Top speed:  100mph (est)
Range/CO2:  340 miles (est), 0g/km
Charging:  10-80% @ 125kW+ in 30 minutes (est)
On sale:  January 2022

(autoexpress.co.uk)

Mercedes-Benz E 300 Coupe AMG Line Review

Only launched a few weeks back, we have already had the chance to test Mercedes-Benz’ all-new E-Class Coupé. In fact, this E300 Coupé was a bit like Darth Vader’s wheels. Well, that’s what at least two of the people we happened across said. They’re coupled at the tote, old Darth Vader and black.

Anywa, this is the freshly face lifted Mercedes-Benz E 300 Coupe AMG Line. And it does one thing really well. It very much looks the part. But it also does a so much else very well, too.

E 300 Coupé Accelerates Strongly, Handles Well

Acceleration is impressive, smooth; road holding and handling involving – especially at an elevated pace. For a larger family-coupé, that is. Albeit a touch rowdy, this latest 255 hp 277 lb-ft Nm turbo four-pot has a fruity exhaust note and works the chassis well enough. Although that four-cylinder noise may be a disappointment to the petrol heads expecting a V8 burble. Welcome to tomorrow, Darth Vader.


 
Tight, fast cornering is a pleasure and road-feel is positive, if a tad noisy over rougher tar surfaces. Probably because of those tires. Otherwise, it’s silent as a ghost with impeccable ride quality. The E 300 Coupé reduces the effects of gnarly speed-reducing road-bumps and humps to a far smoother, more acceptable experience.
 
That 9-speed gearbox is a treat in everyday driving, although it tends to get a bit laggy if you push it hard, when the car’s considerable heft also starts to make itself known. And we noticed a tendency to creep without notice when stopped and idling though.
 
But there’s more to this car than just the go. It has the show in spades, too. Ours had the coolest black on black wheels and LED headlights on the outside. And if technology exists, it’s in this AMG line specced cabin.

E300 Coupé Party Time as tech Meets Craftsmanship

Our specimen E300 Coupé had an impressive and immaculate party time red and black trimmed leather cabin. Red? Oh dear – don’t tell old Darth. It’s an intriguing space where Mercedes tech meets craftsmanship. Unique turbine vents compete with that twin 12.3-inch widescreen in a spectacular trade-off for the most attention.


 
Mercedes-Benz has also taken its already hugely impressive multifunction steering wheel tech another step forward. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the expanded touch tech on this new wheel takes multifunction to a new level altogether. Merc’s rivals were still trying to catch up to the touchpad tech on the last level multifunction wheel. Now it’s just moved even further ahead…
 
You get a kaleidoscope of ambient lighting, a reversing camera, split folding rear seats and that bigger 12.3-inch screen. Trying hard to be an IMAX cinema on wheels, with proper smartphone connectivity to boot, infotainment really is top class. And Miss My Mercedes at your beck and call.

It’s Roomy for a Merc Coupé

The seats are adjustable. In every direction. So, in spite of a lower driving position visibility is great. Add a panoramic roof and splendid 13-speaker Burmester stereo. And even a Driving Assistance pack for semi-autonomous motorway driving. It had a Lane Tracking pack, which I’d never have. I stopped to turn it off post haste. But if that floats your boat…


 
That cabin really looks great and has high quality, rigid components. Typical merc. Most of all, this E 300 Coupé is sensibly roomy and without much compromise. Which is good for a Merc coupé. Four adults fit inside. All their baggage in the cavernous trunk. And those pillarless windows bring a bit of Subaru-esque je ne sais quoi, mind you.
 
So, if looking good and driving cool is high on your agenda, this Vader-like E-Class Coupe defines Mercedes at its imperious best. Not quite the boy racer, it’s more of a sporty posh luxury sled. It away takes that driving stress, rather than piling it on.

E300 Coupé is basically a Mini Me S Coupé

And it’s half the price of its S-Class Coupe big bro, so maybe best without the badge. It is a serenely relaxing experience, all the same.
 
ROAD TESTED:
Mercedes-Benz E 300 Coupé AMG Line
Engine: 255 hp 277 lb-ft 2-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 9-speed automatic RWD
 
TESTED:
0-40 mph: 2.81 sec
0-60 mph: 5.89 sec
0-100 mph: 14.16 sec
¼-mile: 14.3 sec @ 98 mph
50-75 mph: 4.14 sec
75-100 mph: 6.12 sec
 
CLAIMED:
VMax: 155 mph
Fuel: 38.7 mpg 

mercedes-world.com

Mercedes-Benz E 450 Coupe Review Test Drive

The schedule said a 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 was going to be showing up on Tuesday. The following week was therefore going to be a good one, at least automotively, with one of the finest sedans in creation gracing the driveway. Perhaps we’d take a nice family drive somewhere; take advantage of that big, comfy back seat.

Then the E arrived. It was missing doors. And B pillars. And that big, comfy back seat. This was in fact going to be a week spent with an E 450 Coupe. Admittedly, I had just assumed it would be a sedan and if I’m honest, I had pretty much forgotten the E-Class Coupe even existed. After all, two-door cars are increasingly an endangered species with scarce sales and a consequent meager selection of choices. To that point, the E 450 is the only car in its class. The coupes offered by BMW, Audi, Infiniti and Lexus are all smaller and cheaper, while there are a number of bigger and/or pricier choices.

 
 
This scarcity is a tragedy. There’s an indelible romantic quality to coupes, especially ones as beautiful as this one, its curvaceous body slathered in silky Mojave Silver paint. They are indeed inherently less practical than a sedan or, ugh, a crossover coupe. They’re also inherently not a transportation appliance. By choosing a coupe, you’re far more likely to have drives that are more about the journey than the destination. Trips that are about the one or two people sitting up front, rather the kids or friends in back, and all the stuff you crammed into the trunk to enjoy away from the car at that destination. I can remember every coupe I took on a road trip: the Mercedes CL65 to the Grand Canyon, the Nissan GT-R to Vegas, the Challenger to Phoenix, the LC 500 to Bend, Oregon. All the sedans and SUVs everywhere else? They’re just a blur.

In a way, though, choosing a coupe is also the practical acknowledgment that back seats are often rarely used and trunks rarely filled. You can file a crossover coupe’s all-wheel drive and extra ground clearance into that folder as well. If you already have a practical car at home, why not indulge in a little automotive romanticism? When did we all get so sensible and boring?


 
Probably around the time that traffic became unbearable everywhere and the vast majority of driving a chore. Why have a romantic car when so many people see nothing romantic in driving? We are not those people, though; certainly not if you find yourself routinely reading Autoblog. While much digital ink has been spilt in the crusade to #SaveTheManuals, some should be held in reserve to protect coupes from going extinct. Just as much would be lost.

Although the E 450 Coupe shares its interior design with its sedan and wagon siblings, the grand, opulent nature of it seems far more fitting in this most romantic of variations. The broad swath of open-pore wood seems to lap across the dash likes waves and cascades down the center console. The four rotary air vents stare out like the engines of a 747, their inner workings aglow in multi-color ambient lighting that complements the color glowing from behind the trim below. There are the grand, futuristic MBUX displays, the intricate Burmester speaker grilles and the novel, twin-spoke AMG steering wheel. This E-Class Coupe may not have been graced with one of the striking two-tone color combinations, but even in all-black, this cabin stands to make every drive that much more of an event, which, to belabor the point, is a coupe’s raison d’etre.


 
To that end, actually driving the E 450 is as special as one would hope. In true grand touring tradition, it can cosset you comfortably for countless miles with a ride that’s far cushier than anything you’ll find in a sports coupe (a BMW M4, for example). True, our test car benefited from ample sidewall courtesy of 18-inch wheels, significantly reducing the chances of harsh reactions to gnarled pavement. Yet in its pocket was also the optional Air Body Control air suspension, a cool $1,900 that’s very well spent. In addition to providing the aforementioned plush ride one might expect from something dubbed an “air suspension,” its ability to firm up the damping and lower the ride height also improves handling. While most cars today have some sort of drive modes that alter various components and controls to create a more relaxed, comfortable or engaging driving experience, the E 450’s goes a bit further by actually transforming the car’s character.

With the suspension considerably firmer, the steering tauter, the transmission staying in lower gears and the throttle more responsive to delicate inputs, you might as well be in a different car. That’s neat, because the car you were previously in was pretty great. So is this one, but in a different way. In Sport+, or to a lesser extent Sport, it suddenly feels smaller and more agile, as if shrink-wrapped around you. At the same time, the suspension never becomes intolerably firm, nor the powertrain overcaffeinated. It doesn’t try to be a sports coupe and is better for it.


 
Under hood, the E 450 has Mercedes’ innovative new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with EQ Boost mild-hybrid system. It’s good for 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and when paired with 4Matic all-wheel drive as this was, dispatches 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. True to the car’s character, this is a rather undramatic powertrain. There are no histrionic AMG exhaust noises, and if Mercedes pipes in anything fake through the sound system, it’s certainly not noticeable. It’s incredibly smooth and effortless in its power delivery, which probably shouldn’t be surprising for an inline-six amplified by a turbocharger and an electric motor. If there is a dynamic complaint, it’s that the nine-speed transmission’s Sport+ mode isn’t quite as eager to downshift when braking as in AMG applications.

One also has to acknowledge that by going with a traditional hardtop coupe design and dispensing with the B pillar, you can detect a slight loss in structural rigidity, especially over bumps. There’s no flex or creaking or anything overt, but there are also no free lunches. At least the resulting meal of freer-flowing air and the classic coolness of a hardtop is forever tasty. Pity about that little vestigial window bit at the rear.


 
Losing the B pillar also makes it far easier to climb into the back seat, but this is still a coupe. It’s obviously a lot less practical than a four-door car. At least it’s a big coupe. The trunk measures a perfectly usable 10 cubic feet, and the back seat offers sufficient legroom for average-sized adults. Headroom is surprisingly good too, although taller folks may find the car’s rather aggressive tumblehome making contact with the side of their head. Weird.

Really, the E 450’s biggest drawback is one common with every newer Mercedes: the MBUX interface is convoluted and frustrating. Sure, it looks pretty, but it’s laborious to switch between menus; too many icons are small and the same color as the background; and although it utilizes a touchscreen, the unit is so far away, I end up wanting to use the touchpad that falls readily at hand. Except touchpads are a terrible way to control things in a car. See Lexus, Remote Touch.
 
Yet much like that infernal bit of tech in the otherwise exquisite Lexus LC 500, my dislike of MBUX doesn’t come close to ruining the Mercedes-Benz E 450 Coupe. It may represent a segment of one, but it’s hard to imagine any brand possibly topping this masterful and appropriately romantic effort. It’s a special car and it made for memorable drives, even if here in early 2021, there was nowhere to really go. I suppose that makes a car like this even more important – your drives have to be about the journey since the destination is inevitably bound to be something no more exotic than Target or the drive-thru. 

mercedes-world.com

Mercedes GLE Coupe, AMG GLE 53, Release date, Price, Engine

The new 2021 GLE Coupe and its AMG GLE 53, though U.S. buyers will only meet the AMG version in person. As with the previous-generation fastback GLE, Mercedes will only sell the high-performance model in North America.

We put a focus on new AMG GLE 53 variant, as it’s the one you can actually buy. Once again, the formula generally mirrors what we saw on the standard GLE SUV. The AMG-spec Panamericana grille is front and center, with a more aggressive rear fascia flanked by quad exhaust outlets at the rear. Side skirts and a subtle trunk spoiler add a bit more aggression to the base AMG model, and if it looks like it sits a bit lower, it does.

2021 Mercedes GLE Coupe Equipment

Specifically, it sits approximately half an inch lower, but the GLE 53’s AMG Ride Control air suspension can vary the distance depending on settings. Aside from Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual, the Coupe also gets Trail and Sand modes for occasional off-roading. The GLE 53 Coupe’s wheelbase is two inches shorter compared to the SUV variant, and 15.75-inch brake rotors with dual-piston calipers in the front help bring the big crossover to a stop.

2021 Mercedes GLE Coupe Engine

The new Mercedes GLE 53 Coupe will use of the same 429-hp (320 kW) 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 revealed earlier this year in the GLE 53 SUV. It’s a mild hybrid setup, utilizing Mercedes’ EQ Boost starter generator to both power on-board equipment and to supply the wheels with an extra 21 hp (16 kW) for short periods. All four wheels are driven, with shifting duties handled by AMG’s TCT 9-speed automatic.

If we compare with current Mercedes AMG GLE 43 and its 385-hp (287 kW) engine, the new GLE 53 Coupe amps up performance quite a bit. Mercedes tells us the Coupe hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, and maxes out at a governor-limited 155 mph. Of course, the new GLE 53 gets the full Mercedes digital makeover inside, including the latest MBUX infotainment setup with AMG-specific displays.

2021 Mercedes GLE Coupe Release date

According information from Mercedes the new 2021 GLE Coupe will hit dealerships early to mid-2020.

Lexus LC Convertible reviews

Luxury convertibles will never be big sellers, but Lexus intends the LC Convertible to be even more exclusive than most. Only planning to sell a few hundred a year should mean this car remains seriously desirable – that’s if its eye-catching looks and the allure of a powerful and characterful V8 engine aren’t enough to do that.

But being a Lexus, the LC Convertible has to be many things other than desirable. Traditional Lexus owners won’t accept anything half-baked; this is a car that has to be screwed together with more care than your average IKEA bookshelf, and one that has to be totally, completely painless to own.

Lexus LC Coupe review

As for rivals, this car can count everything from the Porsche 911 Cabriolet to the Mercedes S-Class Convertible – though at this end of the market, people are much more likely to be buying with their hearts than their heads, and while boot space or miles per gallon do matter, it’s character, presence and enjoyment that will convince these buyers.

Fantastic looks with folding fabric roof

It would seem folding hard-tops have almost had their day, and most premium convertibles – the LC Convertible included – now opt for a fabric hood instead. This has several benefits and in this case it’s speed of operation, weight distribution and looks that all benefit.

With switches hidden away carefully under the interior palm rest, raising or lowering the roof is done at the touch of a button. It takes just 15 seconds to raise or lower, and can be done at speeds of up to 31mph – so you can raise or lower to your hearts content while driving around town, in accordance with any sudden rain storms that might pass your way.

The lightweight roof mechanism means more of the LC’s weight is lower down, lowering the centre of gravity which improves cornering and comfort. Better yet, Lexus has worked hard on making sure that the roof is attractive even when it’s raised – not always a given with some cars, which can look rather tent-like.

Only one engine option – but it’s a great one

While the standard LC Coupe is offered with a petrol/electric hybrid option (badged LC 500h) the Convertible doesn’t get this – the weight distribution would be thrown off too much by the heavy battery pack. Instead, Lexus only offers it in what it calls LC 500 form – that means a whacking great 5.0-litre V8 petrol with no hybrid assistance whatsoever.

It’s as old-school a combination as you can find these days. The engine puts its power to the rear wheels, and is unencumbered by turbocharger or supercharger. This means it feels purer – the response is beautifully crisp, and it only gets better as the revs climb. In fact, the engine’s full power isn’t accessed until you hit 7,100rpm.

The engine’s paired up to a ten-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, which provide effortless cruising when needed for long motorway slogs and a great deal of fun for the twisty bits in between.

Impressive interior – but not exactly spacious

You sit very low in the LC, in large, comfortable sports seats with loads of adjustment. And once inside, you’re surrounded by an interior only Lexus could have designed – with Japanese influence in its surfacing, and thought paid to its construction.

Though the LC Convertible does have rear seats, they’re not really intended to be used for passengers. Most owners will opt to see them as additional luggage space – useful, especially as the LC Convertible’s boot is smaller than most city cars.

Naturally there is plenty of luxury equipment, and the LC Convertible has been launched alongside a minor model change for the LC line as a whole – which means that both Coupe and Convertible now come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a real boon for those who find Lexus’ aging and labyrinthine infotainment system worth avoiding.

Practicality

The Lexus LC Convertible is a four-seater in theory, but it’s at its best when used as a two-seat roadster. The two front seats are excellent – they’re set incredibly low to the ground, making for a really comfortable yet focussed driving position with plenty of adjustability.

Lexus seats are typically a strong point and though the larger motorist might feel as though their bottom is a little pinched by the side bolsters, for most it’s effortlessly comfortable.

The driver certainly feels ensconced, surrounded by high sills to the windows – which doesn’t do much for visibility but certainly makes it feel more like the cockpit of a fighter jet.

The two rear seats… well, they exist, but ask a six-foot adult to sit back there and they’ll laugh. However, there are two Isofix child seat mounting points back there, making it possible that you could bring children along with you. You’ll need to be very mobile to belt them in, however, and we can’t imagine big, bulky baby seats will fit very easily either.

Boot

The rear seats are better treated as an extension of the boot space, though there’s no way to fold them down to allow for longer loads. At 149 litres in capacity, the LC Convertible’s boot is similar in size to the front trunk of a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. It’s rather wider and shallower, though – useful for fitting in a couple of carryon suitcases or several soft bags.

Safety

Tons of safety kit
Hasn’t yet been tested by Euro NCAP
Lexus has a strong record for crash safety

Neither the LC Convertible nor its coupe sibling have been tested by Euro NCAP for crash safety, but Lexus’ reputation for solidity and assurance extends to its safety record. Every Lexus model ever tested by Euro NCAP has received a full five-star rating, with the most recent ES saloon and UX SUV posting really impressive scores.

In terms of safety equipment, the LC Convertible is fully loaded regardless of which grade you choose. All models come with what Lexus terms the ‘Safety System +’ – a package of aids that includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane-keep assist and automatic high beam headlights.

There are also eight airbags and blind-spot monitoring, plus pop-up bars that shield the occupants heads should the worst happen and the car rolls onto its roof (or lack thereof).

Interior

As befits a Lexus, the LC Convertible has an interior that’s distinctive in style. The overarching factor is how beautifully it seems to have been built – another Lexus hallmark. There are no rattles or creaks in here, no matter where you search for them, and material quality is high even in places you’re not likely to touch. Almost every surface is either leather or dense, expensive-feeling plastic.

There’s a high-set centre console containing a tiered central stack – this holds climate controls and a large single air vent for the driver, while lower down there are nicely weighted controls for the stereo and a touchpad for the infotainment system.

Further up there’s a vertically-orientated panel that features a textured finish to keep things interesting, as well as a digital gauge cluster. Like all high-end Lexuses, this actually features a moving, physical bezel – depending on what you’re doing, it’ll slide over to make more room for sub-menus and controls. It’s daft, but high-end features intended to delight often are. The cluster itself is easy to read, though looking a little low-res next to the ultra-sharp panels fitted to cars such as the Audi R8.

There are no such complaints for the central infotainment screen, which is ten inches across and looks bright, colourful and sharp. Lexus’ own interface offers everything from sat-nav to trip data, but it’s confusing and difficult to navigate the menus – especially since it’s not a touchscreen.

Instead, Lexus demands you use the touch-sensitive pad by the gearlever to move a virtual pointer, like you would on a computer. It’s slicker than past efforts, but still torturous to use when inputting an address, for example.

Luckily, Lexus has finally bowed to public pressure and installed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the LC Convertible. These allow you to replace Lexus’ interface with one pulled directly from your smartphone. We found Android Auto worked well, and while you still needed to navigate with the pointer it was much easier simply to use Google’s voice control to accomplish most tasks.

There are two USB ports for charging and connecting phones, and they’re situated underneath the central armrest. Pull this armrest back a little and you’ll be able to flip up the palmrest ahead of it – underneath, cleverly concealed, you’ll find the controls for the roof.

Other storage space is somewhat limited, with a shallow central bin and thin glovebox. The door bins are adequately sized, though, and there’s a big cupholder conveniently situated ahead of the gearlever. Passengers also get a grab handle on the centre console, to keep them steady when the driver’s having a little fun.

Comfort

Low-speed ride a little choppy
Irons out every bump when moving faster, though
Seats are excellent

With large wheels and the stiff suspension of the Sport+ model we tested, the Lexus LC Convertible can be a little unforgiving when driving around town. It’s far from unbearable, but those hoping for a cushioned ride around the city should probably look towards something like a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Convertible.

2020 Lexus LC Convertible - front trackingEnlarge0videoEnlarge14photo
When moving faster, that becomes much less of an issue – at the national speed limit, the LC floats over bumps almost as if they weren’t there. Absorption of road imperfections is aided by the excellent and supportive seats.

Source: parkers.co.uk

Ford Puma review

The Ford Puma is back - the small, sporty coupe is now a stylish, practical compact SUV that’s good to drive, but lacks cabin space.

We’ve waited a while for Ford to give us a proper compact SUV based on the Fiesta. Until now, the firm’s sole offering in the B-SUV market - the EcoSport - has not been good enough. The new Ford Puma hits the right notes and is precisely what you’d expect of the brand, blending practicality and affordability into a package that’s good to drive.

The Puma’s looks won’t appeal to everyone, but few rivals can better it for boot-space and virtually none can outshine the Puma from behind the wheel - equipment levels are strong too. However, there are more upmarket-feeling and spacious rivals out there for this sort of cash.

About the Ford Puma
Cast your memory back to 1997, and you may remember Ford launched a fun, small, front-wheel-drive coupe based on what was then the fourth-generation Fiesta. It added a bit of richly needed desirability at the smaller end of the brand’s British line-up. It was a hit - the Ford Puma had landed.

Now, the Puma name is back, and it’s an extremely similar story save for one very important detail; the new Ford Puma is not a small coupe, but a small five-door SUV. It’s based on the current, seventh-generation Fiesta supermini, sharing its chassis and its engines, as it enters a market that’s overflowing with choice at the minute.

Chief rivals include the Renault Captur, the Peugeot 2008, Skoda Kamiq and SEAT Arona, while the handsome Mazda CX-3 and spacious Volkswagen T-Cross offer further possibilities for customers considering a small family SUV. Left-field alternatives include cars like the design-led Nissan Juke, chunky Jeep Renegade and the retro Fiat 500 X.

The Puma line-up isn’t quite as expansive as the Fiesta’s, but there are still plenty of models to choose from and even more engine options will be available soon. The trim structure is very straightforward too, with four core versions: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and luxury ST-Line Vignale. The Puma ST performance model sits at the top of the range.

The Titanium is the entry-level trim for the Puma range, but it’s still well equipped and finished with flair, including 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, power folding mirrors, navigation via an eight-inch central touchscreen display, cruise control, rear parking sensors and even a wireless charging pad. The other side to this is that the Puma’s starting price is relatively high compared with rivals, many of which start from below £20,000.

ST-Line models add a bit more standard equipment such as a widescreen 12.3-inch digital instrument display and automatic headlamps. But these cars major on sporty touches including a body-kit, different alloy wheels, sports seats and pedals and a sports suspension setup that helps the Puma to shine as one of the best crossovers to drive.

ST-Line X builds on this with luxury features such as partial leather upholstery, privacy glass in the windows and a 10-speaker audio setup from Bang & Olufsen, while the Vignale upgrade brings heated front seats, front parking sensors, keyless entry and Windsor premium leather upholstery.

The Puma is front-wheel-drive only and buyers are offered three engine options. The EcoBoost 125 uses a 123bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine as found in the Fiesta, while a 48-volt mild-hybrid version of this engine is also available. It doesn’t bring any additional power, although there is a slight increase in torque, and it introduces marginal reductions in CO2 emissions and gains in fuel economy, too. The third option is another 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol with the same mild-hybrid system, but power is pushed up to 153bhp.

Mild-hybrid versions of the Puma use a six-speed manual gearbox for now, with a seven-speed automatic available with the 123bhp non-hybrid variant, although Ford has plans to introduce the auto transmission throughout the Puma range.

For the performance enthusiast, the Puma ST is arguably the best-handling compact SUV on sale, powered by the Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre engine for a total of 197bhp.

 Ford Puma review - Engines, performance and drive

The Puma’s proven 1.0-litre EcoBoost units are a known quantity, but the mild-hybrid system isn’t flawless.

Ford’s reputation for fun family cars has been sealed with models like the Focus and Fiesta, while the original Puma - though short lived - is another prime example of the Blue Oval’s proficiency in chassis development.

Much the same can be said of this Puma, thanks in the main to the Fiesta chassis that sits beneath it. It links up with a solid 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine to deliver a family crossover that’s good to drive.

When we pitted the Puma up against the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008, we hailed the Ford as being “easily the best to drive.” The driving position is fundamentally sound, and once you’re settled in, you’ll quickly see why the Puma has won plaudits.

Get on the move and the steering feels light - even if you put the Puma into the Sport mode using the drive mode selector. But, it’s well resolved for a car like this, accurate, keen to re-centre and with a great steering ratio. There’s a good level of grip too, so immediately the Puma feels like a crossover that you can flick through corners nicely. The six-speed gearbox is lovely, too, while Ford’s engineers have also done a good job with the Puma’s suspension.

Even with the sports suspension on the ST-Line model, the damping is very well set up and it has a decent level of compliance. It all comes together to mean that the Puma has brilliant composure and the ability to offer an engaging drive.

The Puma ST is based on the sublime Fiesta ST hot hatchback, which means a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine under the bonnet, making the same 197bhp and 320Nm of torque.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
All three engines are based on the same 1.0-litre engine block, but there’s quite a difference between them, owing to the Puma’s various drivetrain technologies and power outputs.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has been a really strong contender in its various applications over the last few years, and the Puma is another vehicle where this small engine shines. It may no longer be the outright best three-cylinder engine on the market and some engines - such as the TSI units used in the Volkswagen Group cars - may be more refined these days, but you shouldn’t be disappointed.

The 123bhp and 170Nm torque served up by the base model is enough for most family motoring, propelling the Puma to 62mph in 10.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 119mph.

Hybrid badge
What is a hybrid car? Mild hybrids, full hybrids and plug-in hybrids explained


Pick the mild-hybrid version and the power stays at 123bhp, but torque improves to 210Nm thanks to the small amount of electrical assistance. Top speed is still 119mph, but the 0-62mph time falls a little to 9.8 seconds. The real benefit is lower CO2 emissions from the exhaust pipe and better running costs from improved fuel economy, which we’ll come to on the next page.

The only downside to the mild-hybrid system is that to fill the small battery pack with energy, the Puma features a very minor amount of brake energy regeneration. It’s set at a constant, unchangeable level, that’s just about detectable when you lift off the throttle and feel the car slow more quickly than it otherwise would, and takes a little getting used to.

If you need more power, the 153bhp car has you covered. It also has braking recuperation that cannot be altered in strength, but it takes 8.9 seconds to reach 62mph from standstill and goes on to a top speed of 124mph.

The 197bhp ST performance model dispatches the same sprint in 6.7 seconds, with a 137mph maximum.

 Ford Puma review - MPG, CO2 and running costs

Ford uses proven 1.0-litre petrol engines for the Puma, with mild-hybrid technology helping to improve economy and emissions.

Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost unit has received much praise for its versatility and ability to blend decent power with good returns from a tank of fuel. So, it’s probably no great surprise that the engine is at the core of the Puma range.

The flexible 1.0-litre powerplant comes in three guises for Puma customers. The base 123bhp version returns a maximum 46.3mpg, with 138g/km of CO2, while the same unit with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance is able to improve on these figures a little by delivering a claimed 50.4mpg and CO2 levels of 127g/km.

The 153bhp variant produces the same economy and CO2 figures as its lower-powered sibling, while the 197bhp Puma ST still performs pretty well with 41.5mpg on the combined cycle and 155g/km of CO2.

Most economical SUVs, 4x4s and crossovers 2021
The mild-hybrid system captures kinetic energy naturally lost while driving, particularly during braking, before storing it as electricity in a small battery. This electrical energy is then used to assist the engine during acceleration, reducing the amount of petrol needed to make decent progress.

Drivers can view a display on the digital instrument panel to see exactly when the system is in action. Alongside it, cylinder deactivation means the engine can run on two cylinders where driving conditions allow, to save more fuel.

Insurance groups
Insurance premiums for the Puma range should be competitive with those of rivals. The base 123bhp Titanium model comes in at group 11, while the ST-Line Vignale cars with 153bhp occupy group 15. The 197bhp ST variant is in group 22.

Competitors such as the Renault Captur start at group 8 for an entry-level 99bhp version and move through to group 21 for a top-of-the range model with 152bhp.

Depreciation
Our experts predict the Ford Puma will retain a healthy 51% of its original value over 3 years and 36,000 miles, whereas the Renault Captur keeps an average of 43% over the same period.

 Ford Puma review - Interior, design and technology

The Ford Puma has a familiar cabin design and good levels of standard kit, but overall quality can’t match rivals.

Ford’s new small SUV is based on the best-selling Fiesta, which is no bad thing. Despite being one of the smaller B-segment models, the Puma has ensured it stands out from competitors with a distinctive design and impressive levels of standard equipment.

In the cabin, the dash and centre console will be familiar to those who’ve peered inside a recent Focus or Fiesta, although the visible plastics aren’t the Puma’s greatest quality. There’s far too much hard black stuff to be found, while other small SUVs are available with nicer interiors, and for similar money.

Ford offers four individual trim levels for the Puma. The entry-level Titanium is still very well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights and daytime running lights, body-coloured exterior trim, power-folding heated mirrors, rear parking sensors and selectable drive modes.

ST-Line models include a muscular body-kit, sports suspension, a leather sports steering wheel and alloy pedals, although the ST-Line X car adds stylish 18-inch wheels, partial leather seat trim, privacy glass and carbon-effect interior accents.

The luxury Vignale version ups the luxury count with heated seats, Windsor premium leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors and keyless entry, while the ST car features 19-inch alloy wheels and a body styling kit.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
All Puma models come with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, including navigation, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. There’s also a wireless charging pad as standard. Bearing in mind the high list prices as you climb the range, the Titanium trim offers a sweet spot in terms of equipment and on-board tech.

ST-Line cars feature a 12.3-inch digital instrument display which, along with the central touchscreen, is sharp and easy to navigate. And, if you feel the need for better quality audio while on the move, the ST-Line X models add a B&O Premium stereo with 10 speakers.

 Ford Puma review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Although smaller than most rivals, the Ford Puma remains practical for family use and offers clever storage solutions.

Ford has worked hard to ensure the compact Puma combines its athletic low stance with plenty of practicality and comfort. From the driver’s seat, the links to the Fiesta’s chassis are clear, with ability to tackle the twisty stuff with vigour as well as being a solid, quiet performer at motorway speeds.

ST-Line cars get sports suspension, and while on the firmer end of the spectrum for SUVs of this size, it’s not overly harsh. The driving position definitely feels sportier while there’s a great level of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, a typical Ford trait.

Size
The Puma is one of the smaller options in the supermini sized SUV class. It measures 4,207mm in length, 1,805mm wide and stands 1,537 tall. By comparison, the Peugeot 2008 and Mazda CX-3 are 93mm and 68mm longer, respectively.

Leg room, head room & passenger space
The Puma manages to maintain decent passenger space, despite its sloping roofline. Room up front is very good, while the rear bench is an acceptable size.

Passenger space in the rear is compromised when compared with a Renault Captur. Passengers in the back sit higher up, which brings your legs back towards the seat base, so although there’s enough space overall, the seating position might not be as comfortable.

Boot
A boot of 456 litres is on-par with competitors in this class, and there’s virtually no lip to get over, so awkward items shouldn’t be too tricky to load. In comparison, the Peugeot 2008 offers 434 litres of boot space and the Renault Captur 12 litres less than that, although the Captur has an ace up its sleeve in the form of a sliding rear bench seat. When the bench is pushed all the way forward it frees up a 536-litre capacity.

One area where Ford has been rather clever is in the Puma‘s adjustable boot floor with the so-called ‘Megabox’ hidden storage area beneath. This is a 68-litre plastic compartment that you can use to store muddy boots or wet clothes, for example. It also has a drain plug so you can hose it out. Plus, Ford claims that using the MegaBox allows you to stand a golf bag upright in the Puma’s boot.

 Ford Puma review - Reliability and safety

Ford has a lot riding on the success of the Puma. It’s previous effort at a small SUV, the EcoSport, was a poor one, so the brand has to get this right. Fortunately, the Puma arrives with proven engines, a chassis based on the best-selling Fiesta and interior tech already in use across other model ranges. We’d expect the Puma to be a car you can rely on, and also one that keeps the driver, passengers and other road users as safe as possible.

All models include cruise control, a lane keeping aid with departure warning, Pre-Collision Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection and Post-Collision Braking. Other useful features include auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Those wishing to upgrade further can opt for the Driver Assistance pack (£900), which adds a blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control and a rear view camera among other features.

The Puma was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 and achieved a full five-star rating. Adult and child protection was rated at 94% and 84%, respectively, while the car scored 77% for pedestrian safety.

Although Ford finished a disappointing 24th out of 30 manufacturers in our 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, it’ll be looking towards cars like the new Puma to guide it to improved results next time.

Warranty
Every new Ford car comes with a 3-year/60,000 mile warranty. There’s also the benefit of Ford Assistance for 1 year, providing roadside cover in the UK and throughout Europe.

If you plan on keeping your car for longer than three years or are a high mileage driver, you can extend the standard warranty to either 4 years/80,000 miles or 5 years/100,000 miles.

Servicing
Ford offers the Ford Protect Service Plan giving you the option of scheduled services and extended Ford Assistance. It covers scheduled servicing including associated parts and labour, and vehicle hire for up to 7 days. The Ford Protect Service Plan can be purchased any time before the first service is due.

autoexpress.co.uk

Ferrari Roma: The Beauty of 612 Horsepower

 

Ferrari builds a modern GT without relying on the design tropes of the past.

The Ferrari Roma's start button isn't a button. It's an iPad-like touch-sensitive switch at the bottom of the steering wheel. And it's but one of many functions crammed onto the helm. Even after spending 30 hours with the car, we were still uncovering new ones. Ferrari isn't relying on its heritage here. This is only the second V-8-powered front-engine GT coupe in the brand's history—the first being the 2018 GTC4Lusso T, which was the refreshed FF with four fewer cylinders. No, with the Roma, Ferrari focused on making a 21st-century grand-touring car with an almost all-digital interface and without a goofy retractable roof.

Sure, the hardtop convertible Portofino is still around, and there's a lot of Portofino in the Roma, but the Roma is some 200 pounds lighter and 20 horses more powerful, with a 612-hp version of Ferrari's twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8. The upcoming Portofino M will match that output, but it won't rectify the weight discrepancy. And while all three of these Ferraris have an engine that roars like artillery, the Roma is prettiest.

It has the face of a shark. The fenders flare like a Sophia Loren sigh, and the bodywork is free of holes, vents, and gouges. The razor-edge taillights look nothing like the usual round Ferrari fare. The Roma and Portofino share a 105.1-inch wheelbase and their basic suspension design, but the Roma is 0.7 inch lower, 1.4 inches wider, and at 183.3 inches long, 2.7 inches longer overall.

The 561-lb-ft torque peak comes up at 3000 rpm and stays there until 5750 rpm, with plenty beyond that to the 7500-rpm redline. Pop the hood and the Ferrari V-8 looks as good as the body. There's no plastic sound-insulation cover here.

Pull the right carbon-fiber paddle shifter and the rear-mounted, Magna-made eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle loads first gear. The Roma is the first of Ferrari's GTs to include a Race setting for the stability and traction-control system. Turn the manettino selector on the steering wheel to Race and the car growls and gets down to the business of ground flying.

Shifted with the paddles, the eight-speed reacts instantly. Downshift into a corner and the car squats flatly, takes a set at the apex, and bolts confidently. The system allows a bit of tail slide, but on public roads, it's hard to get to the cornering velocity where the 285/35ZR-20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires will break free. What's available even in Comfort mode is perfectly calibrated steering and the thrill of feeling the 245/35ZR-20 Michelins up front bite into the surface.

We expect this Ferrari to eclipse 60 mph in 3.1 seconds when launch mode is activated, but the exhaust drama and pull of the engine make it seem even quicker than that. And the Roma is beguiling at triple-digit speeds. It also has a hilarious rear seat and a reasonably sized 10-cubic-foot trunk.

Roma prices start at $222,420. The version driven here carried an option load that put it at $316,240. Skip the $11,812 carbon-fiber rear diffuser, the $5906 front spoiler you're bound to scratch, the $4725 carbon-fiber dashboard inserts, and a few other bits, and a Roma could be a great quarter-million-dollar Ferrari. In the prancing-horse world, that's a bargain.

Source: caranddriver.com

Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe Exudes Elegant Menace

In a market of flashy and ferocious sedans, the E53 is subtle and effective.

We had the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 over a perfect weekend, hot enough to appreciate a luxury car with a vigorous air-conditioning system and ventilated leather seats yet breezy enough to pop up the sunroof and let the pine scent of mountain air and the smooth thrum of the inline-six engine fill the cabin. This is a no-stress car to drive in a variety of environments, cushioned and sophisticated for the city street crawl, small enough to park, and yet ready and willing to switch modes—easily, with a dial on the steering wheel—and make short work of long straights and rising twisties.


Mercedes offers the AMG-tuned E-class as a sedan or—for those in need of uninterrupted sun or vast rear quarter panels—as a cabriolet or the coupe we tested. We've always liked the E53's version of AMG performance. It's no cheapie, starting at $77,300, but it delivers elegance and power for the price. The E53 isn't as rowdy or violent as its V-8 brethren, but it packs an unexpected punch, and we all like a sleeper. It's slightly less a sleeper for 2021, thanks to updated front and rear fascias. The somewhat stodgy grille has been replaced with the Panamericana 12-strake shark's grin found on other AMG models. At the back, the rear diffuser is flanked by quad exhaust outlets.


Take this thing out and people move over, even when you're just cruising. Nobody wants a grinning shark in their rearview mirror. If you do want to get on it a bit, the supercharged and turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six is more than happy to help you make the pass. With 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, the AMG E53 is more than capable of putting traffic behind you. It's still possible to catch the car off guard with a hasty bit of throttle application, but it's more a slow downshift from the nine-speed automatic transmission than it is reluctance on the part of the powerplant. Doesn't matter; it's momentary. And then the revs are climbing, the scenery is blurring, and the camper van that waved you by is far back in the distance.


If the exterior of the E53 is somewhat subtle even with the redesign, the interior is like sitting inside a collector's edition baseball mitt. Ours was a brash combination of black and tan leather. If you've grown tired of the mossy accumulation of faux suede in modern interiors, you won't find even a tuft of it in the E53. There is one optional interior with Dinamica suede, but our tester was broad color blocks of leather everywhere. Mercedes's art-deco metal speaker covers and turbine-engine air-conditioning vents looked a little anachronistic against the more modern door panels and carbon-patterned aluminum dash trim, but the overall effect is one of quality and confidence. The design elements continue through the whole of the cabin, with the back seats treated to the same motif: Everyone gets a big chunk of tan leather to rest an arm against. It's also very comfortable, although more so in front than in the back. There's plenty of headroom back there, despite the arched coupe roofline, but legroom gets tight as the front seats go back, in particular at the footbox. As in most coupes, the rear is better saved for short journeys and people you don't like, although the lack of a B-pillar does lend an old-school Chevelle-like airiness to the back seats. We also wouldn't give it high marks for ease of child-seat installation as there's a lot of quarter-panel between you and the LATCH anchors. This is a work commute and date-night car. Leave the kids at home.


The refreshed E53 gets the glitzy Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, and a 12.3-inch center touchscreen that merges with the digital dash in a wide sweep of glass that's impressive enough to elicit gasps from passengers who aren't used to such futuristic cockpits. It's controllable via touch, console touchpad, steering-wheel touch, and voice. The system is great, quick and clear and compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but we'd happily trade the haptic steering-wheel pads for old-fashioned buttons. The digital dash offers a myriad of available info and layouts, and we saw them all in rotation, thanks to accidental thumb swipes across the touch sensor every five minutes. It's a case of too many options just because you can. Similarly flashy and of dubious usefulness is the center screen's habit of displaying the view from the front-facing camera at stop lights. Thanks, Mercedes, but there's a little thing called a windshield here. We can already see what's in front. Precious life seconds were lost switching it back to the CarPlay screen to see the next turn. A few more seconds will be spent fumbling to find the tiny Park button on the wee shifter lever. We can only imagine that the interior-design team at AMG consists of one designer with hands the size of dinner plates—they did the thick tree branch of a steering wheel—and another who is an actual fairy, responsible for both the miniscule steering-wheel buttons and the delicate shifter stalk buried behind the big wheel.


After you've found the shifter and put it in Drive—a pinky-out activity if ever there was one—the gentle part is over. It's not that you have to muscle the E53 around, but it lets you play rough with it. There's a tendency to say that any good-handling car feels lighter than it is. That's not the case with the E53. It feels porky, but it's a controllable weight, turning in smoothly while feeling planted. Comfort mode is a little soft and a little sluggish, but Sport feels excellent, firm enough for aggressive cornering, sharp in the steering, and upping the feline growl of the engine. Sport+ is the top option, but it makes for a less comfortable ride and mostly just ratchets up the harshness. As the 4Matic+ badge indicates, it does use the AMG-tuned version of Benz's all-wheel-drive system, which can send as much as 100 percent of the torque to the rear axle.

If you're looking for a car to charm strangers and start conversations at gas stops, this isn't it.


The Mercedes-AMG E53 coupe does not make friends. When we parked it in the cute hippie mountain town of Wrightwood, California, we were immediately glared at by some teens on bicycles. "Gentrifiers," whispered one to the other. Okay, maybe not, but they thought it, and they weren't wrong. This is the kind of car whose appearance in the neighborhood means that home prices are about to go up. It exudes the same elegant menace as the molten ball of mercury in Terminator 2, right before it morphed into a killing machine. It's intimidating on road and when parked, which is good—a Mercedes should not endear you to people. It should make them think you're going to represent their corporate enemies in court and win. This is a winner's car. No wonder it's grinning.

(caranddriver.com)

Featured Posts

Contact Info

  • New car reviews - Read the definitive new car reviews. Find your perfect new car by browsing our independent, informative and helpful car reviews.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…