After an initial reveal in Europe, Mercedes-AMG officially released details of the U.S.-bound version of the all-newE 53 sedan, coupe, and cabriolet. Not only does Mercedes-AMG’s E-Class lineup get the latest and greatest updates, such as a state-of-the-art 48-volt electrical system, but it also gains the company’s new turbocharged gasoline inline-six from the recent CLS AMG.
The Mercedes-AMG E 53 sedan specifically replaces the outgoing E 43 sedan while the coupe gains its first AMG variants for the latest “W213” generation of E-Class.
Here’s what’s new.
Return of the straight-six
The last time Mercedes-Benz sold a gasoline straight-six engine was back in 1999 with the “M104.” Since then, Mercedes-Benz resorted to V6 engines for cost and packaging reasons and things just haven’t been quite the same. Inline-six engines tend to operate far more smoothly than V6 engines, with wider and flatter torque bands.
Those familiar to the brand certainly noticed — to the point where the M104 is regarded in Mercedes-Benz world as the best gas six-cylinder ever built by the automaker. Over time, inline-six motors simply disappeared in favor of the cheaper and more compact V6, not just for Mercedes-Benz, but for many automakers as well. That left BMW, Mercedes’ arch-rival, as the only maker of inline-six motors for many years in the new millennium, with a few showing up from joint ventures between Ford and Volvo. Now that Mercedes-Benz is back with its own inline-six, it marks the re-ignition, so to speak, of a classic rivalry between the two automakers.
With the latest in engine technology, Mercedes-Benz’s newest straight-six comes compliments of its in-house tuning firm, Mercedes-AMG. It’s a 3.0-liter unit featuring turbocharging and some power bolstering by minor electrification called EQ Boost, thanks to the new 48-volt electrical system, which we’ll get to in a second.
The result is a total output of 429 horsepower and a peak torque figure of 384 pound-feet of twist. It’s mated to the latest AMG Speedshift 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic. Mercedes-AMG’s version of 4MATIC+ is standard for the sedan, coupe and cabriolet. All are said to take only 4.4 seconds to reach 60 mph with a top speed electronically limited to 130 mph.
New 48-volt electrical system with EQ Boost for the new engine
You’ve probably heard of various automakers discussing the introduction of new 48-volt electrical systems. It’s simply means that newer vehicles in the near-future will be getting significantly more powerful electric systems that enable huge bumps in computing power for automobiles, increasing the capabilities of handling new technologies.
Current and past vehicles largely depended on a 12-volt electrical system. In the case of the E 53 AMG, it gains the 48-volt system in addition to the 12-volt. The 12-volt system remains to power basic vehicle systems such as lights, infotainment displays, the car’s various control units, and other interior systems.
The 48-volt system acts as a separate supply for the engine and its EQ Boost system. It not only makes the car’s engine smarter and more intelligent, it helps improve engine performance and fuel efficiency while reducing emissions, and provides an extra boost of electrical propulsion for the EQ Boost motor.
EQ Boost specifically describes a new, powerful electric motor sandwiched in between the engine and transmission, that also triples as an engine starter and an alternator. Remember, a motor can both output energy and also regenerate it. The special motor not only helps to recharge the car’s electrical system and battery, it also enables the engine’s turbocharger to work actively. For instance, the turbocharger can utilize electricity produced by EQ Boost to prime and build pressure for the turbocharger, essentially eliminating turbo lag.
The EQ Boost also provides electricity to the special motor for slight propulsion when setting off from a standstill, essentially acting like a hybrid gas-electric vehicle would (like a Toyota Prius). This smooths out the function of the engine’s automatic stop/start system, which Mercedes-AMG says makes its operation completely imperceptible. It can also provide an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque for the motor for when one puts the pedal to the metal.
To compensate for the extra power over the outgoing E 43 AMG sedan, the E 53 benefits from larger and more powerful brakes.
New styling cues inside and out
Rounding out the package of the E 53 AMG sedan, coupe, and cabriolet are model-specific equipment features and material upgrades, along with a revised instrument display. AMG Performance Seats and AMG Carbon Fiber trim bits were redesigned and optional to spice up the cabin, while a new AMG Performance steering wheel updates the design and modifies the button layout for easier use of the COMAND infotainment system.
On the outside, the aggressive and sportier AMG body kit benefits from a redesign, along with revised rear bumper that integrates a new rear lower diffuser and new exhaust tailpipe design. Complementing the look are new optional 20-inch lightweight alloy AMG wheels.