As the strange year of 2020 progresses and we finally accelerated past by the halfway mark, it only seems apropos that we start to see some 2021 models appear in our drive. So it was as in years gone by, Mercedes provided one of the first for the coming year with its new AMG SUV E53 coupe.

This new addition from Mercedes is very unique indeed as it has the overall appearance of a sports coupe, has the attitude of a sports car, yet also has some incredibly strong off-road prowess. Being so uniquely different, the look may not be for everyone, but will indeed get folks talking wherever one happens to be in this new vehicle.

As was the case with us, it seemed wherever we parked be it the grocery store or gas station, without exception someone would comment on the car, or ask us questions about it. We loved having this kind of experience, it made the week exhilarating and kept us looking for an excuse to go for a ride or pretty much anywhere in the new Mercedes!

Receiving an injection of sport form the AMG division at Mercedes was what really kept our blood circulating during all these drives. A 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine provides an incredible 429 horsepower that would keep anyone’s blood moving. In fact, it only takes the E53 5.2 seconds to get to 60 miles per hour, not bad for an SUV of this size.

Mercedes has also added a type of hybrid system to the new E53 this year and it keeps score for the driver continually monitoring how many extra miles we had gotten from starting the SUV. Generally as a rule when we drive a vehicle like unto the E53 we run out of gas quickly and have to add to the tank if we want to continue to go places in such style.

Most of this just comes from the “excitement to drive” that comes with the test ride and finding places to go. However with the new Mercedes, the hybrid system added over 150 miles to the drive during the week, allowing us to never run out of fuel.

This new system works through an EG Boost starter-generator that actually powers a new 48-volt electrical system and is now responsible for idle speed control — in other words, starting and stopping the gas engine from running at an idle.

The new generator is located between the engine and the transmission and can deliver an additional 21 horsepower and 184 ft.-lbs. of torque for short periods helping to get the Mercedes moving. The new 48-volt electrical system is also made to be carried on smaller wires because of the larger voltage therefore eliminating weight from the vehicle, yet another mpg savings.

On an off-road note, the Mercedes is equipped to handle pretty much any kind of terrain, that being said, the AMG version as we tested it, with added huge 21-inch summer tires would not really be a vehicle that we have taken to the hills in. Although with all the technology and advanced driving systems it would ultimately be up to any challenge!

We found the AMG to be more up to the challenge of a race track where the driver can actually put the vehicle in “Track Mode” and have it become a demon at that point. When we first came across the track option in the menu, being curious we had to give it a push just so see what would happen.

Or course, being Mercedes they had added a navigation note, after we had chosen track mode the Mercedes indicated we were not on a proper track and therefore the vehicle would not go into track mode. Just something about having the option that had us at least wanting to see what would happen if we chose it, was reason enough.

Inside, the E53 was loaded with all kinds of comfort and technology that made our everyday drive something that we looked forward to all week. Again, we loved the ambient lighting feature Mercedes has been including that would produce any color under the rainbow for nighttime driving — another excuse to go out after dark.

Of course, the new “Hey Mercedes” feature was included, which allowed us to ask pretty much any question of the vehicle and she would try to answer or comply with every request, similar to Siri and Alexa. We could ask for a change of radio station, what the weather would be tomorrow or for a specific destination. She was even able to find a new Mexican restaurant for us to try on Saturday night.

The seats were leather clad and heated, of course, with a beautiful red stitching that continued throughout the cabin, which was also accented with carbon fiber adding to the already luxurious feel.

The entire dashboard is entirely digital with a 10.25-inch main infotainment screen that can be controlled via touch, a touchpad on the steering wheel or a touchpad between the seats. The instrument driving cluster is also a huge 12.3-inch LED screen that can be configured in three different ways, Classic, Sport or Supersport — again making the driving experience completely customizable and different for every person.

We really love the way all the screens can be completely controlled with fingertip swipes on the small touchpads located on the steering wheel. This along with the “Hey Mercedes” functions got us anywhere we needed, quickly and easily navigating through menu options.

On the safety side, the AMG was loaded with extras, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection with emergency forward braking, rear cross path detection, and traffic sign alert with automatic speed control. The speed control would bring the car to the speed limit automatically when it sees the speed limit sign, a great feature on longer cross country drives.

The new E83 is different enough to get all the neighbors asking questions and exciting enough to make every day a new adventure. The best part is if that adventure leads to a race track, the AMG version is definitely up to the challenge.

Base price: $76,500

Price as driven: $93,155