The Vauxhall Signum went through a lamppost and into the wall of Salamander Court in Leith at around 6.50pm.
Nearby residents rushed to the scene of the accident and fought to keep the man alive until paramedics and firefighters arrived.
The silver vehicle was partly crushed as a result of the impact. Those trying to help the man attempted to keep him alive using CPR.
Firefighters arrived and used a defibrillator on the driver, but he did not respond, and paramedics fought in vain for around 20 minutes to resuscitate him.
Residents and the fire service said they thought the man was middle-aged.
Several of the streets around the scene of the crash were closed off for some time last night while officers determined the caused of the accident.
Local resident Rene Holdersen, 35, and his wife Linda, 37, said they heard an “deafening crash” just before 7pm.
Mr Holdersen told the Evening News: “We called 999 straightaway and I ran down to find the car almost flattened into the wall.
“The driver of the car behind this guy jumped out and ran over to help. They couldn’t get the doors open, but the driver of the car behind pretty much jumped into the crashed car to help.
“There were people passing by who ran over to help as well.
“The driver who was helping tried CPR but shouted that there was no pulse. When they eventually got him out I could see there was blood everywhere, blood on his face. I don’t think he survived the initial impact.”
“It seems he perhaps hit the kerb and then went into the lamppost. He must have gone straight through the lamppost.”
Mrs Holdersen added: “Just before the crash we didn’t hear any brakes at all, which makes us think he didn’t see it coming.”
Police are investigating the cause of the accident but said they were not yet able to release any details.