Introducing the new halfway house AMGs: the CLS 53 and E53 are here

Published: 15 January 2018

 New Mercedes-AMG 53 range shown
 Merc-AMG CLS 53 and E53 models
 News, pictures, specs from Detroit show

A new generation of straight six mild hybrid engines will power the new AMG 53 range launched by Mercedes-Benz at the 2018 Detroit motor show. It’s the new ‘starter AMG’ badge for the larger cars, akin to the 43 brand now well established in the C-class range.

The Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 and E53 Coupe and Cabriolet will pioneer this new name and UK right-hand drive deliveries are expected to start by autumn 2018. The order books open in April 2018, with UK pricing expected in this ballpark:

  • CLS 53 £74,000
  • E53 Coupe £65,000
  • E53 Cabriolet £70,000

Check out our full guide to the Detroit motor show here

Engines, specs of the new Mercedes-AMG 53 models

This is the long-mooted new inline six-cylinder engine range that CAR first scooped back in 2010. You can read a full tech explainer on the new engine family here.

The new AMG 53's 3.0-litre straight six breathed on by twin turbos and EQ Boost

It’s a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine, boosted by twin turbochargers (one a conventional turbo and one an electric auxiliary compressor) to create 429bhp and 384lb ft of torque, driving through a nine-speed AMG automatic gearbox and 4Matic all-wheel drive.

But the mild hybrid bit comes from the latest 48v electrical system, which allows for EQ Boost to be fitted. This starter-generator provides pulses of acceleration when required, adding a further 16kW of power equivalent to 21bhp and 184lb ft.

Check out our full detailed guide to the new Mercedes-Benz CLS range here

So how fast are the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 and E53?

Pretty rapid, without quite stepping on the toes of the 63 models (which continue unchanged, with their 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8s). The performance specs for the new AMG 53 range look something like this:

  • Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic  4.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph top speed, 200g/km CO2, 1980kg weight
  • Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupe  4.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph top speed, 200g/km CO2, 1970kg weight
  • Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet  4.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph top speed, 201g/km CO2, 2055kg weight

The new Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 shown at 2018 Detroit motor show NAIAS

You can spot the new 53 models by twin horizontal blades in the radiator grille (shown on the CLS 53 above), a bespoke toughened-but-not-quite-63 front spoiler, side sills and a rear apron with a diffuser look.

An Edition 1 early-bird collectors’ special will be available on the CLS, with special copper paint and interior finish plus a special IWC clock.

The 53 range will also be offered on the E-class two-door range, including the the E53 Cabriolet below.  

We’re living with a Mercedes-AMG C43: read our long-term review here

The E-class gets the AMG 53 treatment too: here's the new E53 Cabriolet

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet