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Mercedes-AMG’s E43 is a 396-hp wolf in sheep’s clothing

Mercedes-AMG is expanding its entry-level lineup with a hot-rodded version of the brand new 2017 E-Class. Dubbed E43, the sedan will be presented to the public later this month at the New York Auto Show.

Power for the first-ever E43 is provided by a 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 396 horsepower at 6,100 rpm, and 384 pound-feet of torque from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm thanks to the use of two large turbochargers that each provide 16 psi of boost. Bolted to a nine-speed automatic transmission, the six-cylinder sends the E43 from zero to 60 mph in a brisk 4.5 seconds — about a second slower than the outgoing 2016 E63 — and on to a top speed that remains electronically limited to 155 mph.

An air suspension strikes an even middle ground between comfort and performance, and the E43’s handling is markedly improved by a rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel drive system that sends 31 percent of the engine’s torque to the front axle and the rest out back. The driver can choose from five driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual. Sport Plus mode makes the throttle more responsive and reduces the gearbox’s shift times, while Eco mode promises to boost efficiency by switching on a gliding function that decouples the engine from the rest of the drivetrain when the car is coasting.

Mercedes-AMG E 43 4MATIC

Visually, the E43 adopts a more muscular look than the regular E-Class without going over the top. The front end gets a specific grille with chromed pins in lieu of horizontal slats, and three large air dams punched into the bumper. Nineteen-inch alloys wrapped by low-profile tires come standard, while the rear end receives a small, body-colored spoiler on the trunk lid, a new diffuser, and a pair of chrome-plated exhaust pipes. All told, the E43 goes for a discreet, wolf-in-sheep’s clothing appearance.

Related: Mercedes-AMG to expand lineup, absorb AMG Sport models

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 is scheduled to land in showrooms early next year. Pricing information won’t be published until the weeks leading up to the sedan’s on-sale date.

What’s next?

Speed aficionados who want an even more powerful E will need to patiently wait until AMG releases the full-blown E63. The company is remaining tight-lipped about its next sports sedan, but earlier rumors claim the 2018 E63 will receive with an evolution of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 found between the fenders of the C63 and 911-fighting GT S coupe. It will allegedly make about 600 horsepower in its most basic state of tune, and it will spin all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission.