The new Mercedes CLS 53 AMG is not really a hybrid

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Cabriolet, A238, 2018

Bold new design

Hey, Y'all new car launches are sprouting out all over the place over at The Detroit Auto Show. Today we are talking Mercedes again because today the German car maker has given its new, curiously styled CLS baby the AMG makeover. But hold onto your horses for a second before you start salivating about the E63’s infamous Drift Mode in a swoopier, sexier four-door body. More about that later.

Pop the hood

So how much power is the CLS 53 AMG packing?

Here goes, the base engine is a twin-turbo straight six 3 litre petrol. Did someone just say that is very BMW? Well, it sort of is. Those who know know what I mean.

The straight six 3.0 litre power plant unleashes a respectable 429bhp and 384lb ft of deliciously thick torque goodness, which when pushed through the 4 wheel-drive system means you’ll be seeing 60 in less than 5secs, just 4.5secs to be exact. Bloody quick, but some will say a bit disappointing at sub-four mark, making this less vicious in terms of your wheels screaming in puffs of thick smoke, some say this is not very AMG, these sort of people are called greedy. 

If the whispers are to be believed a more brawny tyre shredding fully muscled more beast CLS 63 will come in the not too distant future.


What I haven’t told you is those power and engine figures aren’t the final word because the petrol engine isn’t working alone, it turns out Mr Petrol engine made friends with something called electricity and some other clever hocus Pocus stuff under the hood. So that would be an electric motor or two on the wheels then? well you’d be way off the mark, it turns out the big brains at Mercedes decided a proper hybrid setup was a waste of time, instead, they went for something called an  ‘EQ Boost’ starter-alternator motor between the engine and transmission. Another example of very clever Germans just showing off as usual.


So what does that mean in power terms?  well, how about an extra 21bhp and a more substantial 184lb ft? To you and I this means that annoying thing called turbo lag was dealt with, no lag means a smoother and improved performance, while keeping those green fingered tree huggers happy by cutting fuel consumption. Mercedes quotes 33.6mpg and 200g/km of CO2 emissions. Not bad for an almost two-tonne car.

The gearbox is a nine-speed automatic, while the four-wheel-drive system is naturally rear-drive biased, with the front axle assisting whenever Mr clever clogs computer decides it helpful or necessary. But while the system can frequently be rear-drive only, there’s no cheat button Drift Mode included. If you feel the need to BBQ your tyres you’ll have to do it yourself like a proper man, or woman stig. 

The unleashing of yet another AMG car is also the dawn of a new AMG number. 53 has joined the familiar range that includes 43s, 45s and 63s… Even numbers are banished.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Coupé, C238, 2018

Other nice bits include ‘AMG Ride Control+’ air suspension trickery which can lift the car up over universally hated speed bumps then drop the car back down when you want to slam your foot down a bit, and a wealth of semi-self-driving tech and wellness functions are included to keep you happy and relaxed inside.

The CLS 53 AMG comes with 19in wheels out of the box, if you wanna go larger then  20s are an option you can spec.  Also If you look carefully there is definitely a hint of body kit-ness to ensure you’ll be able to tell your new purchase apart from less cool diesel versions. 

A little something for the nerd in you, the front air curtains are so subtly worked into the front bumper and designed to reduce lift on the front wheels. Save that for car bragging rights at the pub. 

Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Coupé, C238, 2018

Don’t want a four-door? 

The 53 powertrain simultaneously goes into the E-Class coupe and convertible. Merc boasts that the 53 AMG treatment is a bit more grown up and comes with more colour and trim choices than the 43 AMG, which you get on E-Class saloons and estates. The coupe and convertible weigh almost the same as the CLS, so offer pretty much the same performance and economy numbers.

All three body styles were revealed at the Detroit motor show, with prices to follow. Like what you see? Or are you patiently hoping for a proper rubber shredding smoke machine disguised as a CLS 63?

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