Of course, if you want roominess, buy a minivan. People buy fancy Mercedes sedans for what's under the hood. On the road, my test E 53's all-wheel drive, nine-speed automatic transmission, and 429-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine offered enough high performance to keep Danica Patrick happy. Press the model's keyless startup and the engine roars to life with a muted rumble, like a lion waiting to bounce.
Mercedes rates the E 53's acceleration at just 4.4 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph, and my test model barely broke a sweat as it briefly but relatively quietly revved to 6,800 rpm to get there. (The E 53 includes what's called a "mild hybrid" motor to help with acceleration and slightly improve fuel efficiency.)
The vehicle brakes and corners well, while backing up and parking are relatively easy given the E 53's generally modest size. The car's large front windshield and its windows offer good sightlines, although the rear view could be a tad better. Fortunately, my test car came with a great 360-degree backup camera and a $1,950 optional Driver Assistance Package that included a cross-traffic alert system, active emergency-stop assist, and other safety features.
As for fuel efficiency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the E 53 at 22 mpg/city, 29 mpg/highway and 25 mpg/combined. During a weeklong test drive, I racked up a combined 26 city/highway mpg.
Related: 2021 GLA-250 Offers Mercedes Luxury Performance for Under $40,000