In the 23 years since AMG last turned its spanners to an E-Class coupé, the status and desirability of the big-boned W124-generation E36 has risen like a rocket.
Surprising, then, that it’s taken so long for Affalterbach to issue a direct replacement and give us a continent-smashing car with the potential to properly entertain.
Disclaimer: this is not an entirely faithful recreation. The new E53 4Matic+ and its 1990s forebear might share brutishly elegant cab-rear profiles, a straight-six engine configuration and pillarless window apertures, but the new car is a spectacularly modern device replete with four-wheel drive, self-levelling air suspension and mild hybridisation.
The headline figures are very healthy indeed: 429bhp and 384ft lb are supplemented with 21bhp and 184lb ft from a starter-alternator motor mounted between engine and nine-speed gearbox. The 48V system driving this motor also feeds an electric compressor that compensates for the lag from a large twin-scroll turbocharger. The torque spread is vast as a result, peaking between 1800rpm and 5800rpm.
Is the E53 a true AMG car?
On the road, the E53 feels Ferrari 550 Maranello rapid, in spite of the low-key sheet metal.
That’s partly to do with the throttle response, which is not just sharper because of electrical assistance, but meaningfully so. It’s often the case with performance hybrids that a slither of initial, motor-driven responsiveness fades before the power from a boosting engine enters the fray. That’s not the case here, and the E53 is ready to pummel down the road ahead at a moment’s notice.