|Car review| Mercedes-AMG E 53 Cabriolet: Open-top, but not over the top

The Mercedes-AMG E 53 Cabriolet can make you wonder if you even need a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, which are 3-4 times more expensive

It’s an open-top, but doesn’t look over the top.

By no means is the Mercedes-AMG E 53 Cabriolet an alternative to a Lamborghini Huracán or a Ferrari F8 Spider. The E 53 is slower, quieter and looks like a regular car (unlike the radical designs of Huracán or F8 Spider).

It’s also almost a third to a fourth cheaper than the above two models.

But drop that soft top — it takes about 20 seconds and can happen only if the car’s speed is less than 50 km/h — and the attention it can attract is priceless.

It’s an open-top, but doesn’t look over the top.

What is the E 53 Cabriolet?

It’s the E-Class with a soft top and AMG engine, but it’s much smaller than the E-Class LWB sold in India. It’s also far pricier (Rs 1.3 crore, as compared to Rs 76 lakh for the E-Class), gets a more powerful engine (457 hp), and has four seats but only two doors.

How does it drive?

Unlike the docile E-Class, the E 53 Cabriolet sprints like a rocket — from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds — and it has a top speed of 250 km/h. For covering long distances and city driving, the Comfort mode is the best — suspension is soft and there is no ‘thud’ sound passing over potholes.

The EQ Boost (it provides instant 16 kW power) mild-hybrid system eliminates all turbo-lag and enhances fuel efficiency (claimed is 11.48 km/litre).

The car is in its element in the Sport+ mode — the engine produces a loud roar and driving around sharp corners becomes effortless.

How does it ride on our roads?

Driving in Indian cities is different as compared to driving, let’s say, in California or the Mediterranean coast:

—While the E 53 Cabriolet isn’t as flashy and loud as some super sport cars, it attracts undue attention when driven as open-top (even though it’s not as over the top as some other supercars).

—With high pollution levels in Indian cities (39 Indian cities featured on the IQAir list of world’s 50 most polluted cities) would you really drive it as open-top?

—Our cities have tall speed breakers, going over which the underbody can scrape if you don’t drive carefully.

But it’s just the right car for certain routes such as the winding roads of Western Ghats, Himalayas, the Nilgiris, Kutch or rural Rajasthan.

Is it a practical car?

Not really.

With the spare tyre occupying most of the boot, there is no space for keeping a large bag or a suitcase. So, this isn’t a car for a four-member family to go on a road trip.

Rear seats have limited leg room and getting in and out can be cumbersome.

The E 53 Cabriolet is one for the heart — unlike competitors like BMW M4 Competition Coupé (Rs 1.44 crore) and Audi RS5 Sportback (Rs 1.1 crore), it is a convertible, and while the buyer of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari is different, the E 53 Cabriolet won’t really look out of place parked next to such super sport cars.

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First published on: 18-03-2023 at 11:57 IST
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