Mercedes-AMG wants to prove hybrids can be thrilling performance cars, and the latest evidence in this electrified endeavor is the new E53 sedan. Powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder, the E53 employs a 48-volt electrical system with an innovation called the EQ Boost starter-alternator, which eliminates turbo lag and provides extra power and torque when it’s needed.
The EQ Boost hardware is nestled between the engine and nine-speed transmission, which routes the engine’s 429 horsepower and 384 pounds-feet of torque to all four wheels. By adding an electrical boost to the motor’s turbocharger, Mercedes claims that turbo lag — the moment you step on the accelerator and wait for the exhaust-driven turbo to spool up — is officially a thing of the past.
Capable of adding an extra 21 hp and 184 pounds-feet of torque under full throttle, the EQ Boost system acts as a kind of turbocharger to a turbo itself. This clever bit of engineering is not simply there to burn rubber and race away from a red light, of course.
Then again, this being a high-performance German luxury sedan, it’s worth mentioning that the E53 sedan’s estimated zero-to-60-mph time of 4.4 seconds is nearly identical to the E53 coupe and cabriolet, both of which were unveiled earlier this year during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Top speed for all three cars is electronically limited to 130 mph.
The EQ Boost system adds a solid hit of horsepower, but it also powers the car during throttle-off highway cruising — when rolling off the gas pedal for an upcoming turn, for example — and helps smooth out the overall function of the car’s standard stop-start system.
We like the fuel-saving aspect of stop-start, though many applications provide a harsh and unnerving shutdown and restart in heavy traffic, or when stopped at a signal. It remains to be seen whether Mercedes’ EQ Boost finally helps to banish this inherent bugbear once and for all.
Power is always fun, but being able to bring things to a short and controlled stop is important, too. That’s why Mercedes added beefier brakes to cope with the extra performance. At the front are 14.2-inch vented disc brakes, clamped by four-piston calipers. The rear brakes are the same 14.2 inches in diameter, and are gripped by single-piston floating calipers.
This hefty stopping power is easily visible behind the E53’s optional AMG-branded 20-inch light-alloy wheels. If you don’t want to show off, 19-inch wheels come as standard. The E53 is also fitted with a multichamber air suspension developed by AMG. With its adjustable dampers, the system can be tuned for comfort or high-speed driving excitement via three selectable modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
Sporty Style, Advanced Safety
The exterior features a pair of “power bulges” (Mercedes’ term, not ours) on the hood, along with a modified rear diffuser and twin chrome tailpipes. It’s a subtle look, though it will likely be appreciated by the type of client considering a hot-rodded hybrid luxury car. Inside, the E53 is fitted with sport seats, a leather-wrapped AMG steering wheel, along with twin widescreen digital displays on the dashboard. This creates a clear, crisp, expansive format for the gauges and infotainment system.
Safety is another key aspect of the E53 and, in that regard, this new hybrid is available with features like active steering assist, active distance keeping, brake assist with cross-traffic function, blind spot monitors and lane-keeping assist, to name just a few.
Like its stablemates, the CLS53, E53 coupe and E53 cabriolet, expect the E53 sedan (replacing the outgoing E43 sedan) to arrive in dealerships toward the end of this year. Prices will be announced closer to the car’s official on-sale date.
By: Nick Kurczewski, Cars.com