30 Minutes With: The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

Front 3/4 view of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet
2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet.
Publisher's note: Normally, the cars you read about here at TireKicker are loaned to us by the press fleets of the various manufacturers for several days. Seven is typical.  Occasionally, we'll get a longer period of time, and sometimes it'll only be three or four days.  Our "30 Minutes With" series features cars we spent half an hour driving during the just-concluded Western Automotive Journalists Media Day in Monterey, California.

Needless to say, these are quick drives and brief impressions that we hope to be able to flesh out with a full review of the vehicle at some point in the near future.

Media Days is a driving program, with journalists taking cars from the staging area at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley over Laureles Grade and back or off-road on the acclaimed Land Rover Experience on the grounds of Quail Lodge.

My first car of the day was a stunner---the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet.

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet.
Even on a foggy morning, there's just something about a convertible---and the Mercedes-AMG E53 isn't just a car with a top that goes down---it reminds you and the world that convertibles are supposed to be special.

Frankly, I was surprised at how low the base price for the E53 Cabriolet is---$80,350 buys quite a few lesser vehicles I can think of.  And the E53 Cabrio backs up its style with some serious performance prowess.

Engine in 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet
2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 engine.
Under the hood is a 3.0-liter inline turbo six---making 429 horsepower and 384 pounds per foot of torque.  Mated to the nine-speed AMG-enhanced 9G-TRONIC transmission, Mercedes says it's good for 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, and that seems completely realistic. 

It's also packing an AMG sport suspension based on Air Body Control and has AMG Dynamic Select, allowing you to choose just the right amount of chassis firmness and gear retention for the road you're driving.

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet interior.
The interior is nothing short of magnificent---and even though this isn't my first exposure to Mercedes' ultra-wide screen that runs from the driver's door to the passenger-side edge of the center console, it still produces awe and wonder along with information and control.

The $80,350 base price is just that---a starting point.  And the extra-cost options on the car we drove put the price in a much more believable (but less achievable for many) zone:

  • Iridium Silver Metallic paint: $720.
  • AMG Classic Red and Black Nappa leather interior: $2,990.
  • AMG carbon fiber trim: $2,850.
  • 20-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels: $750.
  • AMG illuminated door sills: $350.
  • AMG performance exhaust system: $1,250.
  • AMG Track Pace application: $250.
  • Exterior lighting package (LED intelligent light system, adaptive high-beam assist): $800.
  • Active multi-contour front seats with massage feature: $1,320.
  • Heated and ventilated front seats: $450.
  • Warmth and Comfort package (Heated steering wheel, rapid heating functionality for front seats, heated armrest): $1,050.
  • Head-up display: $990.
  • Energizing Comfort package (Air Balance cabin air purification and fragrance system, ENERGIZING Comfort System): $800.
  • Soft-close doors: $550.
  • Parking Assist package (Active parking assist, surround view cameras): $1,290.
  • Driver Assistance package (Active lane change assist, route-based speed adaptation, active distance assist Distronic, Pre-Safe Plus rear end collision protection, active steering assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, speed limit assist, automatic speed takeover, active emergency stop assist, evasive steering assist, active blind spot assist, active lane-keeping assist and extended restart by Stop & Go up to 30 seconds): $2,250.
Lost count, haven't you?  Well, with $995 destination and delivery charge, the last line on the window sticker reads $100,005.00.  That's right.  Just five dollars over a nice, round hundred grand.

I still want it.  It does exactly what a $100,000 car should do---gives you a special experience at the wheel and makes you feel special by extension.