Mercedes-AMG has unveiled a new '53' model line in Detroit, with power from a 48V hybrid-boosted inline-six engine.
Debuting in the CLS, E-Class Coupe and E-Class Cabriolet, the new powertrain comprises of a turbocharged inline-six petrol engine making 320kW of power and 520Nm of torque, augmented by a 48V electric system offering an extra 16kW and 250Nm for brief periods.
Peak torque is available between 1800 and 5800rpm, while peak power comes on tap at 6100rpm. Along with a conventional turbocharger, the engine is boosted by an electric compressor from low revs, essentially providing torque-fill while the 'old-fashioned' unit spools up. That should make for minimal 'turbo lag' down low, without sacrificing top-end pull.
The 100km/h sprint takes just 4.5 seconds in the CLS53 and, with right options boxes ticked, the car will hit 270km/h. In spite of this performance, Mercedes is claiming the car sips 8.4L/100km on the combined cycle.
As you've probably gathered, there's all sorts of trickery behind that fat torque band. A 48V electric motor (dubbed EQ Boost) takes the place of a traditional starter motor and alternator, and is responsible for powering the electric compressor.
It also allows the engine to shut down and 'glide' under light load and supports smoother auto start/stop in traffic.
Electric systems powered by a conventional 12V electric setup are charged by the 48V unit, courtesy of a DC/DC converter. By eliminating the need for an auxiliary power belt on the front of the engine, Mercedes-AMG says the EQ Boost system makes for a much more compact engine and, in turn, opens the door for a smarter exhaust treatment system.
The engine is hooked up to a nine-speed automatic as standard, complete with paddle-shifters. All 53 models make use of AMG-tuned 4MATIC all-wheel drive, capable of shuffling between a conservative, traction-focused torque split, or sending 100 per cent of grunt to the rear wheels when conditions allow.
All AMG 53 cars ride on three-chamber air suspension combined with adaptive dampers, and run a more aggressive camber both front and rear. Brakes measuring 370mm up front and 360mm at the rear hide behind 19-inch wheels as standard, although 20-inch wheels can be specced.
So, how will you know an AMG 53 when you see one? Along with the badge (duh!) there are a number of model-specific styling tweaks, led by a blacked-out lattice grille up front and circular quad-pipes down back. You also get a subtle boot-lid spoiler, optionally finished in carbon-fibre.
Inside, bucket seats and a new AMG Performance steering wheel have been fitted to distinguish 53 models from their more mundane brethren. The rest of the cabin is much the same as before, which means dual widescreen displays, circular air vents and lashings of soft leather. There are unique trim options for the dashboard, as is the case with the rest of the AMG range.
CLS 53 4MATIC+ Edition 1
At launch, the CLS 53 range will be headlined by the Edition 1. It doesn't get any extra power, but it has been treated to a copper-themed interior makeover. Along with unique dashboard trim pieces, the car gets copper-contrast stitching and an IWC clock in the dashboard.
Mercedes-AMG's local division has confirmed with CarAdvice that the CLS53 and E53 family is expected to hit Australian showrooms during the fourth quarter of 2018.