Detroit Motor Show: Mercedes-AMG launches '53' range

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Affalterbach - Mercedes-AMG is aiming to broaden its audience with a new "53" series that's presumably aimed at those who want a less extreme, and more affordable, alternative to the wild "63" models.

Also helping aid off-the-line response is the EQ Boost electric motor-alternator. The cream of the crop in the CLS lineup is expected to feature a turbocharged inline-six 3.0-liter engine teamed up with an electric motor delivering a combined output of well over 400 hp, which will be a nice upgrade over the 362-hp CLS 450 model.

All three cars use combine Mercedes's new 3.0L straight-six engine with a 48-volt starter-alternator. It's not a traditional type of hybridization, but it is a potent one. It features a conventional turbocharger in addition to an electric auxiliary compressor, for quicker, lag-free pull-offs. It's a combination that puts the new engine's power to the road efficiently, with 0-62mph times of 4.5 seconds for the CLS 53 and E53 Cabriolet and 4.4 seconds for the E53 Coupe.

Power for the 48 V on-board electrical system is generated by the EQ Boost starter-alternator says AMG tech wizards. It recovers energy during deceleration for recuperative battery charging. While the 53 Series cars never operate in a strictly EV mode, the EQ Boost does let the auto roll from a stop under electric power before starting the engine, and a "glide" function will shut off the engine at light throttle under certain conditions.

The 48V system is also responsible for the 12V network, using a DC/DC convertor. Infotainment system functions can also be operated via the touchpad and by voice control.

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The new engine is paired with the AMG Speedshift TCT 9-speed automatic transmission we've already enjoyed in numerous company's 43-Series AMG models. The front bumper has a silver chrome front splitter, while the outer air intakes get matching horizontal fins.

Styling tweaks for the 53 cars include a twin-blade radiator grille, front apron in A-wing design, AMG-specific side sill panels, a diffuser insert in the rear bumper and exhaust tailpipes in high-gloss chrome. The lip spoiler can be had in body color or carbon fiber.

The four-door CLS53 rolls on 19-inch light-alloy wheels, and optional 20-inch wheels are available.

Inside, dual 12.3-inch high-resolution screens under one shared glass cover merge to form a widescreen cockpit display that places virtual instruments before the driver and extends to the center of the console. The theme of sportiness and luxury continues with the suspension, which is an AMG Ride Control air suspension system with adaptive dampening. This four-door coupe oozes class, but it's not for those obsessed over engine displacement. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the 2019 AMG CLS 53's release, later in 2018.

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