First Drive

Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabiolet 2020 review

What is it?

As facelifts go, this is one of the milder ones we’ll be reporting on this year. The Mercedes-AMG 53, the half-fat AMG model with the fancy clever six-cylinder mild-hybrid engine, has been given a small makeover that applies to the saloon, wagon and cabriolet versions. We’ve been able to drive the cabriolet.

You might note there’s a new grille – more reminiscent of AMG’s angrier cars. With a revised bumper, too, it reduces drag (and therefore wind noise) at the front and there are flatter-looking rear lights. Throw in new wheel designs and you’ve largely got a measure of the exterior changes.

Interior alterations are pretty subtle: the latest-generation infotainment software uses a familiar rotary touchpad on the centre console and touchscreen on the dashboard’s centre, so what’s new is the steering wheel with double-height horizontal spokes, each with an array of haptic feedback buttons. 

Suspension revisions come in, too, but they’re slight. Air suspension has been retuned to ‘broaden’ the performance of the car, which I think means ‘make it a bit more comfortable’, although a Dynamic Plus pack, featuring a drift mode, and carbon-composite brakes, becomes available as an option.

The engine and transmission on the ’53 remain unchanged: a 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged and electric-supercharged unit making 423bhp and 295lb ft, with a 348V starter/alternator adding 21bhp but 184lb ft low down the rev range. It drives all four wheels (drift mode aside) through a nine-speed gearbox.

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