Mercedes-AMG Unveils New '53-Series' Mild-Hybrid Versions

Mercedes-AMG E 53 Cabriolet

Competes with: Audi S6, BMW 540i xDrive, Cadillac CTS-V

Looks like: The CLS- and E-Class two-doors get the typical AMG treatment

Drivetrain: Turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with supplemental electric forced induction, mild-hybrid starter-alternator motor unit; nine-speed automatic transmission; standard all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Late 2018

CARS.COM — Mercedes' high-performance AMG division has released details of an interesting new variant on a few of the company's performance cars. The new 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 coupe, cabriolet and CLS53 four-door have been unveiled ahead of this week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, new entries in the AMG pantheon of vehicles, all featuring a novel new powertrain.

Related: More Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Mercedes-AMG 53-Series; Manufacturer images

Exterior

All three of the new AMG 53-series models get the typical AMG styling treatment consisting of the twin-blade radiator grille, an "A-wing" front bumper design, AMG side sills, and a rear bumper with integrated diffuser and round, integrated tailpipes with chrome tips. The CLS53 takes things a little further, with specific air curtains integrated into the front bumper for improved aerodynamics and cooling. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard on the CLS53, with 20-inch models available.

Interior

Like all AMG models, the 53-series will come with upgraded materials and unique displays, with a standard dual 12.3-inch digital display for a full widescreen digital gauge cockpit. All models get sport seats and red seat belts, with the AMG Performance steering wheel as standard. The CLS53 will initially come only in a special-edition model, the Edition 1, which will feature a black Nappa leather interior with copper stitching and highlights, unique carbon-fiber trim and additional standard equipment.

The E53 coupe and cabriolet get a lot more color choices for their interiors than the previous E43 models. In addition to black with red or gray stitching, the E-Class models get the option of black and saddle brown, black and white, black and red, Designo red and macchiato beige, and Designo titanium gray and black. The CLS53 also gets several color options, including macchiato beige and magma gray, black and Bengal red, and espresso brown and magma gray.

Under the Hood

This is where the new 53-series gets interesting. A new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, featuring a turbocharger that is both electrically boosted and exhaust-boosted, will power all of the models. It relies on a new 48-volt electrical system powered by a powerful new starter-alternator unit that is sandwiched between the engine and the transmission. That high-zoot electrical system powers a separate electric intake compressor providing almost no turbo lag, according to Mercedes, supplementing the conventional exhaust-gas turbocharger that's also fitted to the engine. This "EQ Boost" system helps improve performance dramatically, with the company citing the new CLS53's estimated zero-to-60-mph time of just 4.4 seconds, with far more immediate throttle response.

The turbocharged engine itself produces 429 horsepower and 384 pounds-feet of torque, but it's augmented by the powerful starter-alternator motor, which can electrically add as much as 21 hp and 184 pounds-feet of torque for launch. The EQ Boost starter-alternator also acts as a kind of mild-hybrid unit for the vehicles, motivating the car during throttle-off cruising and allowing the engine to shut down and restart almost imperceptibly, according to Mercedes. The benefit of the system is the delivery of a performance vehicle with improved emissions and efficiency without any loss in sporty abilities.

The engine output is routed through a nine-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels via the specially tuned AMG Performance 4Matic Plus all-wheel-drive system. The 48-volt electrical system that powers the drivetrain mates up using a DC-to-DC converter to the more conventional 12-volt system that powers the rest of the car's systems like lights, interior electronics and body control units.

Other highlights of the 53-series models include an adjustable electronic air suspension, electromechanical speed-sensitive steering, and high-performance internally ventilated brakes front and rear.

Safety

A lot of equipment from the S-Class carries into the 53-series models, including standard active braking assist, attention assist and Pre-Safe Sound occupant protection systems. Optional are a bunch of additional systems like the Driving Assistance Package that includes Distronic active distance keeping, active steering assist, active speed limit assist, active braking assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, active blind spot monitor, active lane-keeping assist and much, much more.

The new CLS53, E53 coupe and E53 cabriolet are slated to arrive in American showrooms toward the end of 2018.

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