• 2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+

Mild AMG model carries over with similar power, updated looks

LISTEN 01:28

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 is a facelifted version of the performance sedan that sits between the regular E-Class and the AMG E63. The sedan that replaced the old AMG E43 arrived less than a couple of years ago, but Mercedes-Benz decided to upgrade it alongside the standard E-Class. The facelift adds restyled front and rear sections and some new tech, but the drivetrain remains unchanged.


  • New LED headlamps
  • Taillights inspired by CLS
  • New wheel designs
  • Revised front bumper
  • New exhaust pipes
  • Optional black trim
  • Still elegant overall
  • Not overly sporty
2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889603
Restyled bumper

Mid-cycle facelifts are usually far from exciting, especially when it comes to premium German cars from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, but this doesn’t apply to the E-Class. Fortunately, the Stuttgart-based firm made important changes to the exterior in an attempt to give the E-Class and its AMG trims a fresh look. And I think it managed to do just that via features inspired, for the most part, by the CLS.

The first thing that catches the eye is the AMG-specific radiator grille with 12 vertical slats.

This grille replaces the previous diamond grille that was taken from the regular E-Class. In short, the E53 looks more like a proper AMG model now. The headlamps are also now and heavily inspired by the CLS. The old headlamps, which are thinner at the outer edges and thicker where they meet the grille, were taken from the S-Class. The new headlamps are almost rectangular and run more into the grille frame.

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889600

The grille is about the same, as in it retains the A-wing design of the outgoing model, but each element was revised for a fresh look. The side vents are slightly smaller but they look more streamlined now. They also boast thicker surrounds. The center intake is also thinner and features vertical slats, just like the main grille. The splitter is finished in chrome as standard. Mercedes-Benz brags about the engine hood’s dual power dome design, but it’s actually identical to the outgoing model.

left right

The E53’s profile, on the other hand, is virtually identical to the outgoing sedan. The only key difference here is the wheel design. The aero optimized 19-inch, alloy rims in twin-five-spoke design are brand-new. You can also opt for larger, 20-inch rollers that look exactly the same.

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889602

Just like the front end, the rear fascia boasts notable changes. For starters, Mercedes-Benz dropped the one-piece taillights similar to the old S-Class and went with longer and thinner two-piece units. These run into the trunk lid like seen on the CLS and coupe variants of the E-Class and S-Class. The shape of the trunk lid itself remains unchanged, as does the small spoiler on top. However, there’s a new diffuser design with a new surround for the exhaust pipes.

Mercedes-AMG E53 Exteiror Dimensions
Length Width Height Wheelbase
195.2 Inches 81.3 Inches 57.0 Inches 115.7 Inches
left right

If you’re a fan of the no-chrome finish, Mercedes-Benz continues to offer the AMG Night Package with high-gloss black finishes for the front splitter, mirror caps, body inserts, rear bumper, and tailpipe trim. Speaking of finishes, you can now choose from three extra colors, namely Mojave Silver metallic and Cirrus Silver metallic. Granted, these aren’t the most inspired colors you can add for a classy Merc, but it’s better than nothing.

Does the New Mercedes-AMG E53 Look Better than the Old Model?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889640

Definitely. These changes refresh the exterior design of the AMG E53 in a way that brings it in line with recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz models. The new headlamps and grille add a sportier touch, but still manage to keep the sedan elegant. The rear fascia redesign is actually the most effective, as the AMG E53 now boasts a design previously seen on coupe models only. The thinner, two-piece taillights are a big change and move the E-Class closer to the CLS, which is actually a good thing.

Does the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 Have a New Interior?

  • Same layout
  • Same MBUX infotainment
  • Big displays as standard
  • Revised steering wheel
  • Bigger shift paddles
  • New upholstery options
  • As roomy as the old model
  • Competitive trunk
2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Interior
- image 889623
AMG-branded sports seats

A quick glance inside the cabin reveals that the sedan carries over unchanged as far as layout and design features go. This is actually good news though, as the current E-Class still looks fresh despite being on the market for a few years. It’s also good news when it comes to materials and technology. The E-Class was so ahead of the competition when it was redesigned a few years ago that it’s on par if not even better than new models from other premium carmakers.

The main highlight in the AMG E53 is the two-display layout that combines the infotainment screen and the instrument cluster beneath a shared glass cover.

This forms what Mercedes-Benz calls a "widescreen cockpit" and it looks more high-tech than anything you get from competitors from Audi and BMW. Below the displays you’ll find the familiar A/C layout with four round vents, as well as a curved center stack and includes controls for the air conditioning system and the gear selector.

The two-tier dashboard continues to feature premium materials, which spread into the door panels, the center console, and the seats in various forms.

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Interior
- image 889628

Tech-wise, the AMG E53 is fitted with the same MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific functions for the instrument cluster and media touchscreen. It features the same intuitive "Hey Mercedes" voice control, proximity control, as well as augmented reality and the ability to learn. You can choose between the three AMG display styles, "Modern Classic," "Sport" and "Supersport," for the instrument cluster. The "Supersport" mode is a dramatic departure from the other options as it shows a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right. You can also use the AMG menu to call up various special displays such as engine-related data, gear speed indicator, a G-meter, and the Racetuner function.

What Is AMG Track Pace?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+
- image 891481
If you want to take the AMG E53 closer to E63 tech-wise, you can select the AMG Track Pace option.

This is a virtual race engineer that monitors 80 sets of data (like speed and acceleration), enabling you to analyze performance on the road and the track. The MBUX’s augmented reality function also allows the ideal line of a stored race track to be displayed on the infotainment screen or on the optional head-up display. You can get the AMG Track Pace App for your iPhone via the Apple App Store and you can learn even more about it on AMG’s website.

What Sets the New Mercedes-AMG E53 Apart from the Old Model?

left right
Not a lot to be honest. Significant upgrades are mostly restricted to a new steering wheel, revised seats, and new upholstery colors

The AMG Performance steering wheel was revised and now features three rounded twin spokes with seamlessly integrated buttons. It also features two round AMG buttons through which you can activate various functions. Not only more ergonomic, this steering wheel is also smarter than before, as it can tell if you keep your hands on the wheel while using semi-autonomous drive functions. When this happens it emits warnings so that you grab the wheel and pay attention to the road and if you ignore them it can bring the car to a full stop.

Next up, the sporty front seats are now wrapped in MB-Tex/Dinamica microfiber combined with red topstitching. They also include "AMG" badges to stand out from the regular seats. The red seat belts add more contrast and match the stitching and detailing on the door panels and center stack. You can also order carbon-fiber trim for the dashboard, door panels, center stack, and center console, just like in the full-fledged AMG models. As far as upholstery update go, you can now opt for a new two-tone option that combines grey with black. Not very flashy, I know, but the colored stitching keeps things interesting.

How Practical is the Mercedes-AMG E53?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Interior
- image 889701
New upholstery options

The AMG E53 remains just as practical as the outgoing model. Mercedes-Benz didn’t publish specific figures, but that’s because the layout remains unchanged, which means that legroom, headroom, shoulder room, and hiproom carry over as before. Being a midsize sedan, the AMG E53 offers plenty of space for both front- and rear-seat passengers and it also competes well with its rivals. Sure, the BMW 5 Series and the Audi S6 have slightly different specs, it’s usually less than an inch in most departments, so you won’t feel that one is less roomier than the other.

When it comes to luggage room, the AMG E53 offers 19.1 cubic feet of space, which pretty standard for a midsize sedan.

That’s a bit more than the BMW M550i xDrive, which comes with an 18.7-cubic-foot trunk. That’s also 0.4 cubic feet more than the Audi S6, which features a trunk rating similar to the Bimmer.

Mercedes-AMG E53 Interior Dimensions vs. The Competition
Mercedes-AMG E53 BMW M550i Audi S6
Front Headroom 37.3 Inches 38.8 inches 38.0 inches
From Shoulder Room 57.8 Inches 58.7 inches 57.8 inches
Front Legroom 41.7 Inches 41.4 inches 41.3 inches
Rear Headroom 38.2 Inches 38.8 inches 38.1 inches
Rear Shoulder Room 57.1 Inches 55.9 inches 56.5 inches
Rear Legroom 36.2 Inches 36.5 inches 37.4 inches
Cargo Capacity 19.1 cu-ft 18.7 cu-ft 18.7 cu-ft


  • 3.0-liter six-cylinder
  • EQ Boost starter-alternator
  • Mild hybrid
  • Up to 457 horsepower
  • Up to 568 pound-feet of torque
  • Not as powerful as BMW M550i
  • Nine-speed automatic
  • All-wheel drive
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds
  • Top speed at 155 mph
2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Drivetrain
- image 889620
0-liter gas engine and EQ Boost

While the exterior and the interior of the revised AMG E53 sports a few new features, the drivetrain remains unchanged. That’s because Mercedes introduced this model only two years ago and it doesn’t make much sense to change a brand-new drivetrain so soon. So the AMG E53 continues to be a mild hybrid thanks to a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six engine and a EQ Boost starter-alternator system.

The six-cylinder engine is obviously tuned by the folks at AMG and generates 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.

The EQ Boost system cranks out an additional 21 horsepower and up to 184 pound-feet of twist. With both systems used at full blast, the AMG E53 benefits from a total output of 457 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of twist. But this output is only available in short burts.

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ specifications
Engine AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter in-line 6- cylinder engine with exhaust gas turbocharger and electric auxiliary compressor
Displacement 2,999 cc
Output 429 hp @ 6,100 rpm
Add. output with EQ Boost Up to 21 hp
Peak torque 384 lb-ft @ 1,800 – 5,800 rpm
Add. torque with EQ Boost Up to 184 lb-ft
Drive AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all- wheel drive with variable torque distribution
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.4 s

Is the New Mercedes-AMG E53 Sedan more powerful than the old model?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889618
Twin-five-spoke wheels

It isn’t. Mercedes-Benz made no changes to the engine, so output remains similar to the model it first introduced for the 2019 model year. Naturally, it’s not quicker either, with the 0 to 60 mph sprint locked at the same 4.4 seconds. The same goes for top speed, limited to the usual 155 mph.

How Does the Mercedes-AMG E53 Compare to the E63?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Drivetrain
- image 889621
Mild hybrid drivetrain

The E53 is notably less powerful than the E63. The latter packs a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 under the hood and cranks out 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of wist. That’s an extra 96 horses if we compare it to the total output of the E53, but torque is lower by 15 pound-feet. Then there’s the E63 S model, which cranks out a whopping 604 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist. That’s an extra 147 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of twist versus the hybrid setup of the E53. When it comes to sprint times, the E53 is a full second slower than the E63 and 1.1 seconds slower than the E63 S. These sedans are rated at 3.4 and 3.3 seconds, respectively.

Is the Mercedes-AMG E53 more powerful than the competition?

2018 BMW M550i xDrive – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 727069

In theory, the AMG E53 competes against the M550i xDrive version of the BMW 5 Series. However, this Bimmer is notably more powerful, mainly because it features a larger, 4.4-liter V-8 engine. The twin-turbo mill generates 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, an extra 66 horses over the E53.

2020 Audi S6 Exterior
- image 834624

Moving over to Audi, the German carmaker also offers a milder performance model that slots under the full-blown RS6. It’s called the S6 and features a 2.9-liter V-6 engine. Also of the twin-turbo variety, it comes with 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist on tap. Unlike the BMW M550i, the Audi S6 is not as powerful as the AMG E53. Specifically, the Merc benefits from an extra 13 horsepower and an extra 125 pound-feet of torque. But only when compared to the full-power hybrid setup of the E53.

The E53’s engine mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission as before. Although it doesn’t feature the aggressive setup of the gearbox in the E63, but it shifts quicker than the regular Mercedes-Benz transmission. It delivers shorter shift times, faster response to shift paddle commands, and it includes a simulated double-declutching function for multiple downshifts. The transmission becomes a lot more responsive in Sport+ mode.

The AMG E53 is also fitted with Dynamic Select, a feature that adds driving modes like Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. Every single one of them changes how the drivetrain reacts and are design for specific scenarios. Individual is a highly customizable mode that you can alter any way you like.

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889663
Like many Mercs that aren't exactly cheap, the AMG E53 rides on an AMG Ride Control+ independent suspension.

The multi-chamber air suspension with sporty spring and damper setup and continuously adjustable damping combines driving dynamics with increased ride comfort. The damping at each wheel is adjusted to suit the driving situation and the condition of the road thanks to a pair of separate valves for the rebound and compression forces in the dampers. Opt for Comfort mode and you get excellent long-distance comfort, while Sport and Sport+ will turn the AMG E53 into a more aggressive sedan.

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889698

Of course, the AMG E53 is an all-wheel drive sedan and features an AMG-tweaked 4Matic system. With power hitting all four wheels, the E53 offers increased driving safety in all conditions from dry to snow, but it can also function as a sports car since much of the torque can be directed to the rear axle.

How Much does the Mercedes-AMG E53 cost?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889611
Two-piece, CLS-inspired taillights

Pricing information is not yet available, but it’s safe to say that the updates sedan won’t cost notably more than the outgoing model. The latter retails from $73,800, so expect the facelifted AMG E53 to come in at less than $75,000.

Is the Mercedes-AMG E53 more expensive than the competition?

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889613

It depends. If it comes in at more than $74,000, the AMG E53 will cost a bit more than the Audi S6, which retails from $73,900. On the other hand, the Merc will be a bit more affordable than the BMW M550i xDrive, which starts from $76,650.

Is the Mercedes-AMG E53 Better than the BMW M550i?

2018 BMW M550i xDrive – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 727077

The BMW M550i was introduced recently and it offers similar features to the AMG E53. It boasts matching safety and driving assist technology, large displays, solid infotainment tech, and plenty of luxury and convenience. It also sports a fresh and modern design on the outside, while passenger and trunk space is comparable. However, it’s powered by a more potent 4.4-liter V-8 engine. The mill delivers 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, which is notably more than Mercedes’ gas and electric power combined. This means that the Bimmer wins in the performance department. It is a bit more expensive than the Merc at $76,650 before options, but we’re talking an extra $2,000 for a sedan that’s almost a full second quicker from 0 to 60 mph.

Mercedes-AMG E53 vs. BMW M550i
Mercedes-AMG E53 BMW M550i
Engine AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter in-line 6 4.4-Liter V-8
Displacement 2,999 cc 4,395 cc
Output 429 hp @ 6,100 rpm 523 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Add. output with EQ Boost Up to 21 hp N/A
Peak torque 384 lb-ft @ 1,800 – 5,800 rpm 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 – 4,600 rpm
Add. torque with EQ Boost Up to 184 lb-ft N/A
Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G 8-Speed Auto
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.4 s 3.6 s

Read out full review of the BMW M550i.

Is the Mercedes-AMG E53 better than the Audi S6?

2020 Audi S6 Exterior
- image 834634

Just like the BMW M550i, the Audi S6 is a fresh design based on a new-generation A6 launched in 2018. This means that it benefits from a fresh design on the outside, one that boasts more angular and aggressive lines overall. While the AMG E53 is mostly an elegant sedan, the S6 blends style with race-inspired features, many of them taken from the more aggressive RS6. Inside the cabin, it’s all about luxury and state-of-the-art technology. While the old S6 had many shortcomings, the new model can keep up with the Mercedes-AMG E53. Performance-wise, the S6 is closer to the Merc than the BMW M550i. That’s because it’s powered by a 2.9-liter V-6 engine rated at 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That’s actually a bit less than the combined gas and electric output of the AMG E53, but the S6 is just as quick with a sprint time from 0 to 60 mph of 4.4 seconds. Pricing is similar at $73,900. It’s really difficult to decide which is the best car here, but the S6 is definitely the newer design.

Mercedes-AMG E53 vs. Audi S6
Mercedes-AMG E53 Audi S6
Engine AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter in-line 6 2.9-Liter Inline-Six
Displacement 2,999 cc 2,901 cc
Output 429 hp @ 6,100 rpm 444 hp
Add. output with EQ Boost Up to 21 hp N/A
Peak torque 384 lb-ft @ 1,800 – 5,800 rpm 443 lb-ft
Add. torque with EQ Boost Up to 184 lb-ft N/A
Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G 8-Speed Auto
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.4 s 4.4 s

Read our full story on the Audi S6.

Final words

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Exterior
- image 889601

When it was introduced back in 2016, the W213-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class was the most advanced premium midsize sedan on the market. It has semi-autonomous capability, the best safety technology out there, and an amazing interior design compared to what Audi and BMW had to offer. Four years later and both German rivals launched sedans with similar specs. But Merc’s four-door was so advanced that it’s still able to keep up with much newer designs and this says a lot about the engineering behind this incredible sedan. Although this facelift keeps technology upgrades to a mininum, the AMG E53 has what it takes to give the BMW M550i and Audi S6 a run for their money. The only downside is that BMW offers a quicker and much more powerful alternative for a very small premium.

  • Leave it
    • Older than the competition
    • BMW M550i delivers way more power
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

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