The updated Mercedes-AMG E 53 4Matic+, otherwise known as the tier-two model in Benz's hotted-up E-Class range beneath the E63 V8, has been revealed ahead of an expected Australian arrival just before the end of 2020...
The mid-life update brings a new-look front end comprising an AMG-specific radiator grille and LED headlights ahead of the 'powerdomed' bonnet, an 'A-wing' front apron, two-piece LED tail lights, new rear apron and diffuser, and different-shape 19- or 20-inch wheel options.
The interior gets "AMG-specific appointments, luxurious materials and the latest-generation MBUX infotainment system".
Seats are trimmed in Artico artificial leather and Dinamica microfibre, and have red stitching and AMG badges. That colour pattern carries through to the available red seatbelts.
The 12.3-inch driver's instrument cluster screen has three AMG display modes called Modern Classic, Sport and Supersport. Specific menus shows you key engine data, a gear speed indicator, a g-meter and a race timer.
A software suite called AMG Track Pace is dubbed "the virtual race engineer". On a race circuit it monitors more than 80 sets of vehicle data, shows you ongoing lap and sector times, and can even show the driver the ideal racing line by overlaying instructions over live footage - in other words, augmented reality.
There's also a new-look steering wheel with "capacitive" thumb pads that can control the instruments and centre display, a small plastic rotary dial to change driving modes under the left spoke, and metal paddle shifters behind. In Manual Mode it will not upshift without human input, claims AMG.
The car continues to get five 'dynamic select' driving modes from Slippery and Comfort, to Sport+, which change the parameters of the engine response, throttle mapping, gearbox shift pattern, steering resistance and speed, and the damping level. The E63's Drift Mode is also now available. These dampers are part of a multi-chamber air suspension system.
As before the E53 uses AMG's 4Matic+ all-wheel drive (AWD) system with constant torque transfer between the axles. Power comes from a familiar pre-update 3.0-litre inline-six with 320kW and 520Nm with twin-scroll turbocharging.
This is backed up by an electric auxiliary compressor ensuring optimum response even from just above idle where a gas turbine might still we waiting to spool up, while 'EQ Boost' electric assistance sees an integrated starter-generator contribute 16kW and 250Nm, and enables vibration-free restarting via the engine stop-start system. The nine-speed automatic remains.
Mercedes-AMG cites fuel consumption as low as 8.5L/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds.
As part of the MY20 update the broader E-Class range picks up an expanded range of active safety features.
They include a new function in the AEB that can halt the car if you're unsafely turning off across the oncoming lane; "capacitive" lane-assist that uses sensor pads to check if you've got your hands on the wheel rather than requiring wheel movements at regular intervals; and a system that can match your speed with map and traffic-sign camera data.
There's also an expanded blind-spot assist system that warns you if a car or bicycle is approaching you before you exit when parked; active cruise control that can pre-emptively slow the car if software warns of a blockage ahead, and also stop-and-go on its own in heavy traffic even if the car has been still for 60 seconds; and an expanded automatic parking function with 360-degree camera.
From the middle of 2020, the Mercedes Me app will be available in some regions with Urban Guard packages that go beyond a regular alarm. Vehicle sensors register when the parked and locked vehicle is bumped or towed, or when someone attempts to break into the vehicle. If the service is active, the driver is informed via the app. It can also pinpoint the location of a stolen vehicle, a la Apple's Find My iPhone program.
Mercedes-Benz says to expect the updated E-Class locally from the fourth quarter of 2020, meaning as soon as October, a few months after the European launch in the Northern Hemisphere's summer. The coupe and convertible versions will "follow soon thereafter".