Mercedes-AMG CLS53, E53 Coupe and Cabriolet – first AMG EQ Boost mild hybrid, up to 457 hp, no turbo lag

Mercedes-AMG has revealed the all-new 53-series models, with the first three recipients being the CLS, E-Class Coupé and E-Class Cabriolet. The trio shares a 3.0 litre mild-hybrid twin-turbo engine (making them the very first AMG hybrids) which the company claims to “provide spontaneous reaction and highly dynamic response without turbo lag.”

The all-new inline-six engine (the AMG 43 range uses an older 3.0L V6 biturbo) produces 435 hp and 520 Nm of torque, married to an EQ Boost starter-alternator, which is part of a new 48 V on-board electrical system. The EQ Boost mild hybrid system adds 22 hp and 250 Nm of torque into the equation, fitted between the engine and transmission. Theoretically, this brings the numbers up to 457 hp and 770 Nm, though AMG doesn’t claim it as such.

Together with an uprated nine-speed AMG Speedshift TCT 9G automatic and 4Matic+ all-wheel drive, the E53 Coupé sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. The E53 Cabriolet and CLS get there in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (270 km/h with AMG Driver’s package) for all three. The combined fuel consumption is 8.4 L/100 km for the E-Coupe and CLS, but the heavier convertible sips 8.5 litres of fuel per 100 km.

Unique here is the method of “twin”-turbocharging deployed – there’s only one exhaust gas turbocharger, but it’s helped by an electric auxiliary compressor. From low revs, the latter builds up a high charge pressure without any delay, for a faster increase in torque for acceleration until the traditional turbo comes into play. This eliminates turbo lag, provides higher torque, with the bonus of enhanced refinement.

There’s a choice of five driving modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, each modifying the parameters of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. There’s also an “M” button (no, not that M) for manual gear changes. For optimal traction, the 4Matic+ system has an electro-mechanically controlled clutch that transfers power variably to the front axle from the permanently-driven rear axle.

Also on is the AMG Ride Control+ air suspension. This multi-chamber air suspension that’s developed by AMG features continuously adjustable damping ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System), and the 53 series cars are all fitted with higher spring rates to reduce body roll and improve cornering stability. The front axle gets special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints, as well as a more negative camber on both axles to enhance lateral dynamics.

Stopping power comes from a 370 x 36 mm perforated and internally ventilated brake discs with four-piston fixed calipers (AMG lettering is standard issue) fitted to the front, whereas the rear gets a slightly smaller 360 x 26 mm internally ventilated discs and a single-piston floating calipers.

As for styling, the three debutants get a new twin-blade radiator grille in silver chrome (previously unique to the full-on AMGs only; the 43 range has a single-blade grille) as opposed to the diamond radiator grille with individual pins, and the central radiator now features a black lattice pattern.

There’s also a new front apron in A-wing design (though still based on the AMG Line bumpers), two horizontal fins in the outer air intakes, AMG-specific side sill panels, rear spoiler (carbon-fibre finish is optional) rear apron with diffuser insert and rounded quad exhaust exits (finally!) finished in chrome. Standard wheel size is 19-inch, although a set of 20-inch alloys can be specified.

Inside, the cars get AMG-specific items like red seat belts, carbon-fibre trim elements, AMG Performance steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather and AMG sport seats. Options include a choice of Artico man-made leather with Dinamica microfibre, nappa leather and designo interior upholstery.

Besides the usual black with red or grey contrast topstitching, the E53 gets other themes like black with saddle brown stitching, black on white, black on red, designo titian red/macchiato beige and designo titanium grey/black. The CLS 53 on the other hand, gets a choice of macchiato beige/magma grey, black/Bengal red and espresso brown/magma grey – this also extends to the steering wheel rim.

As with all AMG models, an exclusive Edition 1 will be available. For the CLS 53, it gets a unique Copper Art interior theme, featuring black nappa upholstery with copper-coloured contrast stitching. This fine copper colour also extends to the steering wheel, instrument panel, armrests, centre console, door panels and piping on the floor mats. Of course, the exclusive IWC analogue clock is also present.

GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic+

GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupé

GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet

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