Monstrous Mercedes-AMG trio - new performance-tuned CLS, E-Class 53-Series in SA

Image: MotorPress
Image: MotorPress

 • New model designation

 • Improved power and technology 

 • CLS, E Class Coupé and E Class Cabriolet. 

Mercedes-Benz expands its range of performance cars with the launch of amazing AMG models sporting the automaker's new model designation - the 53-series models of the CLS, E-Class Coupe and E-Class Cabriolet.

The trio of powerful AMG-badged cars combines incredible performance with luxury. 

Visually, the new 53-series models have a distinctive design to set them apart from AMG stablemates.

A distinctive feature common to the models is the twin-blade radiator grille in silver chrome, previously reserved for the V8 Performance models. Instead of the diamond radiator grille with individual pins, the grille in front of the central radiator now features a black lattice pattern. 

The front apron in an A-wing design is equipped with black highlights and a front splitter in silver chrome.

The outer air intakes have two horizontal fins in silver chrome. AMG-specific side sill panels lend the 53-series models a more dynamic silhouette. At the rear, the round twin tailpipe trim elements are finished in high-gloss chrome.

The spoiler lip on the boot lid is painted in the body colour but is optionally also available in carbon-fibre. 

Overall, they are incredibly stylish vehicles with enough road-presence to make any enthusiast appreciate the staggering level of detail put into their design.


Powering the new models is a new, electrified 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder in-line engine capable of 320kW/520Nm.

Its EQ Boost starter-alternator momentarily provides an additional 16kW of output plus 250Nm of torque and furthermore feeds the 48V onboard electrical system.

Combined fuel consumption is 8.7 litres/100km; combined CO2 emissions: 200g/km. Other technical highlights include the AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission and the fully variable all-wheel-drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC+.

EQ Boost starter-alternator

The six-cylinder in-line engine benefits from EQ Boost starter-alternator which combines a starter motor and alternator in a powerful electric motor.

The CLS 53 4MATIC+ accelerates from zero to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds, and with the Driver's package, achieves a top speed of 270km/h.

The combined fuel consumption is 8.7 litres/100km and the combined CO2 emissions 200g/km.

The EQ Boost starter-alternator is a key component of the 48V system and not only serves as an alternator but is also responsible for hybrid functions.

This allows fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.

For the first time, the EQ Boost starter-alternator is also responsible for idle speed control. The hybrid functions include boost with 16kW of output and 250Nm of torque, recuperation, shifting of the load point, gliding mode and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function. 

What’s it like to drive

The E53 whether in a coupe and or cabriolet guise delivers incredible performance while still managing to reign in its beastly-instincts.

This isn't to say you can't cut loose on a track or mountain pass, but overall it remains a stately car (it's based on the E-Class after all) just one that's capable of keeping up with sports cars with ease.

At the touch of a button, its standard air-suspension is capable of seamlessly transitioning from circuit monster to comfortable highway cruiser. Likewise, the steering can be adapted to suit your needs providing accurate, responsive and well-balanced precision.

Whether it's tasked to perform at SA's seminal race track or taking on a twisty route through the Winelands, the E53 is luxurious, exceptionally sporty and an absolute pleasure to drive.

The CLS is an exquisite piece of engineering from AMG, mating stunning vehicle design and track-tuned performance into an incredible vehicle that's at home cruising along beach roads as it is rocketing around Kyalami.

Despite the power lurking behind the bonnet everything from dramatic pull away to powering through corners is delivered in a controlled manner with the vehicle systems doing their utmost to keep you on the tar.

The new CLS 53 can be less engaging than its forebears yet its more comfy and restrained AMG at least compared to the C63.

Enthusiasts will probably opt for a C- or E-badged AMG but CLS makes for a worthy choice for style-conscious buyers who crave power and a car to match their unique personality. There's nothing else quite like the CLS on the market and the new 53-variant is truly one of a kind.

Technology from the S-Class

The CLS 53 4MATIC+ features the latest driving assistance system generation from the S-Class.

The range of driving assistance and safety systems is modular in structure. Fitted as standard are Active Braking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST, Speed Limit Assist plus the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE.

New and also part of the standard specification is PRE-SAFE Sound (prepares human hearing for the anticipated accident noise when there is a risk of a collision).

The optional Driving Assistance Package consists of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Steering Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Braking Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE SAFE PLUS.

Active Distance Control DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer.

The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions. Active Lane Changing Assist has also been significantly improved (country-specific differences are possible for individual functions). In addition, the Driving Assistance Plus package includes the PRE-SAFE Impulse Side.

This system can brace the front occupants for a side impact by nudging them sideways to reduce the risk of injury.

In addition, the CLS 53 4MATIC+ adopts the enhanced camera and radar systems from the Mercedes-Benz CLS and thus has an ideal view of the traffic conditions.

For the first time, it also makes use of map and navigation data to calculate vehicle behaviour.

Exclusive Edition 1 

For the CLS 53 4MATIC+From the time of market launch, the exclusive Edition 1 will be available for the CLS 53 4MATIC+ which boasts the COPPER ART interior design. Numerous highlights in a fine copper colour help to ensure a particularly high-quality interior atmosphere.

The leather upholstery in black Nappa also features copper-coloured contrasting stitching, as do the instrument panel, armrests, centre console, door panels and piping on the floor mats.

Trim elements and the centre console in carbon fibre with copper stitching and the Performance steering wheel with Edition badge equally underscore the vehicle's exceptional position.

The luxurious character is furthermore reinforced by the ambient lighting with 64 colours, the Memory and Mirror package and the exclusive IWC analogue clock.  

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