Motoring Writer IAN LAMMING  goes topless in Mercedes’ latest E53 AMG and wonders why people stare…

THIS is how you build a brand and it’s nothing to do with the hype.Fancy brochures, videos and social media posts are all well and good but if the product goes awry all you are doing is increasing expectations and the chances of disappointment.

Build it right and they will come, so when I book an AMG there is never any doubt that it will be good, the only question being just how good.

With the Mercedes E53 AMG Cabriolet there is a certain amount of window dressing as my boy found out when I picked him up from school.

“Go on daddy, put the roof down,” he requests, only to be mortified at the reaction when I do. “Oh, no, everyone is looking,” he adds, shrinking down into the enveloping sports seats to duck from view.

It is such a pretty car, especially with the canvas down and granted I don’t help matters by pressing a little button on the central transmission tunnel sporting a couple of tailpipes, releasing the full burble of the glorious straight six. Keeping it in first gear with the paddles is a cursory detail you understand.

“Love the car Mr Lamming,” shouts the headmaster. “Looking good Boycie (non-Only Fools and Horses fans must Google it),” adds one quick-witted mum. Once out of sight and to the relief of the young ’un the roof is quickly replaced for the rest of the commute home – not that we need to as an orifice in the headrest blows hot hair on to our necks – ooh, nice!

Hood down, heating up Cabriolet is a brilliant way to travel in any weather and, with nothing to impede the ears, the sound of the lusty straight six pouring from the four big exhausts at the back is truly stirring.

Hood up? Well there must be a lot of insulation in the soft-top as you very quickly forget that you are not protected by tin and there’s not so much of a twitch, let alone a flap, from the fabric.

Inside is Mercedes cosy, Mercedes innovation, Mercedes class act. I love the current crop of Mercs, the flat bottomed chunky steering wheel, the glass virtual dashboards. They are just so well designed, so easy to use, so touchy-feely great.

It’s the perfect place to experience what makes AMGs special, to direct the action, to enjoy the thrill of the ride.

E53 comes with a new 3.0-litre biturbo in-line six-cylinder engine with EQ Boost technology.

It can generate 435 hp and 520 Nm on its own, with the EQ electrical system adding an additional 20hp and 250 Nm – now that’s worth having.

An electronically limited top speed is 155mph and it can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, while still delivering up to 32.1 combined mpg – how does it do that?

Power is transferred to the road by the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive and you can tell. Even in slippery conditions it is absolutely rooted, breeding nothing but confidence in the driver. There’s fully variable torque distribution between the front and rear axle to maintain optimal traction at all time. It’s awesome.

An AMG Speedshift TCT 9G transmission comes as standard and features staggeringly short shift times, fast response to shift paddle commands and multiple downshifts.

Even the multi-layer acoustic fabric roof is quick – up and down in about 20 seconds even while on the hoof up to speeds of 31 mph.

None of this means, of course, that there is anything wrong with ordinary E Class cabriolets, it’s just that AMG is so much better. They certainly knew what they were doing did Hans Werner Aufrecht (the A) and Erhard Melcher (the M), both ex-Mercedes mechanics obsessed with performance, while Aufrecht’s birthplace of Großaspach supplied the G. And their legacy remains today. The AMG brand continues with a vengeance and that’s not hype.

Fact File
Mercedes AMG E53 Cabriolet 4Matic+
Engine: 3.0 in-line six bi-turbo petrol with EQ Boost technology
Power: 455hp
0-62mph: 4.5secs
Top speed: 155mph
Combined MPG: 32.1
Transmission: nine-speed auto
CO2 g/km: 200
Price: from £69,285.00