By on June 30, 2017


While we knew Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand had plans to dabble in electrification for upcoming performance models, details of what that could mean for the sub-brand’s products remained pretty thin on the ground.

Daimler R&D head Ola Källenius explained back in January that future AMG-badged vehicles will gradually become “more and more electric.” Never mind the limited-production Project One hypercar that’s in the works — that model is just a plaything for the Dubai set. Well, now we know exactly what AMG has planned for the new rung in its model range, and it indeed makes use of charged particles to lend some extra grunt to the overall package.

It also brings a very sweet inline-six to the table. Baby steps, people.

Speaking to Wheels, a company source has stated the electrification revolution will begin next spring with the unveiling of the next-generation Mercedes-AMG CLS53. Yes, you read that right. The number “43” isn’t long for this world, nor is the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 found in models carrying the designation.

Under the upcoming CLS53’s hood is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six assisted by a 48-volt mild hybrid setup. With the motor’s Inline Starter Generator sending juice to the water pump, AC compressor, and auxiliary compressor for low-rpm boost — as well as adding power to the drive wheels — the new mill has no need for an accessory belt drive. This makes the six-pot far easier to shoehorn into an engine bay.

The automaker’s chatty Cathy employee also let slip power figures — details that should brighten the weekend of anyone planning a Mercedes-AMG purchase in the next couple of years. The inline-six will generate 429 horsepower with another 67 horsepower on tap from the electric motor-generator. That’s a healthy increase over the 396-hp V6 found in AMG models bearing the number 43.

Next up after the CLS53 appears in the fall of 2018 is an E53 sedan, coupe and convertible (the only high-output choice for the droptop), followed by an S-Class model. The M256 engine debuts in the S-Class this fall minus the AMG badge and green power bump. The new engine could also trickle down to the C-Series at some point, perhaps minus the mild hybrid aspect, and it’s a given you’ll find it in the brand’s SUV lineup.

As this is early days for Mercedes-AMG’s conversion to electric power, plug-in hybrids — or even systems providing a measure of independent, gas-free propulsion — remain a medium-term prospect.

[Image: Daimler AG]

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14 Comments on “Mercedes-AMG Fans Need to Learn a New Number – ’53’...”

  • avatar

    I have always been particular about numbering in auto models. My favorite number is probably 565. In any case, of all the two digit numbers to choose, since there’s zero correlation between the number on the trunk and the engine under the hood, 53 might be the worst one I’ve heard yet. It conjures up thoughts of a forgotten 20HP/L flat head V8 from the late 40s… not exactly what I’d associate with rip roaring performance. They should have just went up to 55

    • 0 avatar

      “55” is already an AMG motor from the W210/211, though.

      This “53” has … slightly less power than the old ML55 “55”.

      Their naming logic makes sense, it’s just not cubic dislacement anymore.

      (Pure marketing – who’d want to spend CLA45 money on a “CL200 AMG”? I mean, if they were daft enough to want a CLA45 anyway?)

      • 0 avatar

        How does it make sense? “53” is somehow a power-level name relative to an arbitrary scale based on a displacement moniker from the early 2000s?

        I don’t see why they can’t just do “200”, “300” and “400”. In the past they were able to go from “560” to “500” without customers having a heart attack.

        • 0 avatar

          They’re using 53 because they hope that some of that “63” magic rubs off.

          Obviously nothing will touch the 63, which ironically is a ”
          62″ but as I see it, its more AMG filling gaps.

          There’s a 43 for the aspiring and the 53 for the truly hooked?

          • 0 avatar

            I highly doubt there’ll be an AMG43 with a twin turbo 3.0L V6 and an AMG53 with a twin turbo 3.0L I6 simultaneously. And I doubt the majority of applications of the I6 will have 429hp plus a hybrid boost, unless they’re planning on dropping the AMG63 and it’s 4.0L twin turbo V8 from most vehicles.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Shouldn’t the next CLS-Class be called a CLE-Class, since it’s the “CL” or four-door-coupe version of the E-Class?

  • avatar

    I’ve been looking for a 2017 article on the M256 engine for a while. Nice to finally see a definitive (and impressive) power output. Wonder what these will cost as a crate engine? I’d love to drop one into a Mark X and make a proper Inline-6 powered successor to the Toyota Chaser. Smaller and lighter than a 2J…

  • avatar

    Another nail in the V-8 coffin.

  • avatar

    Only automotive thing ’53’ brings to mind at the mo… is Herbie, the Love Bug.

    Let’s hope there aren’t too many AMG customers that remember the ’70s WWof Disney reruns.

    Oh, whoops… :D

  • avatar

    At this point I am OK with it. If 53 means the power of a 5.3 liter V8, 500HP is good enough.

  • avatar

    My question is what does this do for efficiency? They’re going to be harvesting a decent amount of regen power from braking and slowing. And using electric power judiciously can allow the gas engine to be run for better efficiency.

    Wonder what the sum of those – regen + efficiency – will mean a 500 hp sedan that’ll get 25/20 on the EPA scale? That seems realistic to me.

    And i like that.

  • avatar

    I love a straight engine. Got triples on my Z.

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