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2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 refresh focuses on looks and tech

Why mess with success? Mercedes' refresh keeps what was good with the powertrain and adds MBUX.

A little bit of electricity goes a long way.

When Mercedes-AMG first introduced the mild-hybrid-powered E53 sedan, we fell in love with it, and our review basically says as much. It came as great news to us, then, when Mercedes rolled out a refreshed 2021 model that keeps all the good bits precisely as-is.

Mercedes-AMG on Tuesday unveiled the 2021 E53 sedan. This refresh focuses mainly on technological and aesthetic updates, and the latter plays it pretty close to the chest. The looks aren't all that different from before, with slightly restyled LED headlights and new taillights that are reminiscent of coupe-ier Mercedes. As usual, the E53 sets itself apart from the more pedestrian sedans by way of more aggressive bumpers, four round tailpipes and different wheels.

The interior isn't much different from before, with two 12.3-inch screens tucked into the dashboard and a wealth of curves and expensive materials everywhere else. The E53 variant takes things to another level with microfiber AMG seats, red contrast stitching, AMG badges and a steering wheel that looks like it was plucked out of a cyberpunk graphic novel. That wheel also houses capacitive sensors that can tell when a driver takes their hands off the wheel.

Mercedes-AMG's sport seats might look aggressive, but they're still plenty comfortable. And yes, they're heated.


New tech abounds behind that pair of displays. Mercedes-Benz's latest infotainment system, MBUX, is now standard equipment. In addition to the standard stuff like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, natural-language voice recognition and navigation, MBUX also houses some AMG-specific tricks. Additional race timers can be called up, in addition to expanded engine data and the AMG Track Pace software that can track your laps and offer up ideal lines through augmented reality.

The E53's powertrain remains unchanged for 2021, which is great, because it rules already. Its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 gas engine produces 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, but that's just the beginning. Sandwiched between the engine and nine-speed automatic transmission is an electric motor that can provide an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft as needed. AMG's all-wheel-drive system is capable of sending all that power to the rear wheels for a little more fun, too.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 goes on sale later this year, and pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date. For context, though, a 2019 E53 went for $72,500 before destination.

Originally published March 3.