Mercedes-AMG E53 goes (mild) hybrid in search of more efficient performance

As the world waits for the Formula One-inspired Project One supercar, Mercedes-AMG is unveiling some less extreme hybrids. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 sedan and wagon will get the same mild hybrid powertrain first seen in coupe and convertible versions of the E53, as well as the CLS53, when those models debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 replaces the E43 as the lower-tier E-Class AMG model, sitting below the E63 in the hierarchy. Mercedes never passes up an opportunity to add a new variant, leading to a lineup as dense as the cast of Avengers: Infinity War. Amid that crowded lineup, the E53 and other AMG “53” models stand out by helping to advance Mercedes’ electrification plans.

The E53’s mild-hybrid powertrain sandwiches an electric motor between the engine and transmission, and adds a 48-volt electrical system and more powerful starter-alternator. This allows for a more aggressive engine start-stop system, and the electric motor provides a power boost at low engine speeds, improving acceleration. Electricity is harvested from the engine’s spinning turbocharger and regenerative braking, and is stored in a small battery pack. The system can’t drive the car solely on electric power, which is what separates mild hybrids like the E53 from conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

The Mercedes-AMG E53 should be faster than a Prius, though. A 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, which produces 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque on its own, is combined with an electric motor that adds 21 hp and 184 lb-ft when accelerating from a standstill, according to Mercedes. Power is sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes predicts 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. An optional AMG Driver’s Package will raise the limit to 167 mph.

In addition to the mild-hybrid powertrain, the Mercedes-AMG E53 gets AMG-tuned adaptive air suspension, and some subtle visual changes to distinguish it from less-sporty E-Class models. These include power bulges in the hood, prominent exhaust tips and rear diffuser, and an optional set of model-specific 20-inch wheels.

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 sedan and wagon will hit European showrooms in June, but Mercedes hasn’t discussed U.S. availability. We’ll likely get the sedan at some point over the next few months, but slow sales of wagons on this side of the Atlantic mean it’s less likely that we’ll get that model.

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