We’ve previously seen a number of Mercedes-Benz CLE coupe and convertible models, and most recently the range-topping AMG 63 plug-in hybrid variant, but this time our spy photographers captured what’s believed to be the tamer AMG 53.
This prototype is still covered in camouflage but appears to be production-ready, which points toward a potential reveal next year.
It features a set of rounded quad exhaust outlets – a design feature of tamer AMG models for years – instead of the squared-off units that are on flagship AMG 63 models.
A development of the engine that debuted in the AMG A45 S hot hatch, the 2.0-litre unit in the C43 pumps out 300kW of power and 500Nm of torque.
The turbocharger is still driven by the engine’s exhaust gases, but it can be electrically boosted by the 48V mild-hybrid system to free up a further 10kW when the driver buries their right roof.
It’s sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed multi-clutch transmission. The 100km/h sprint in the AMG C43 takes just 4.6 seconds, and flat out you’ll be doing 265km/h.
Previous reports have indicated Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to leave the luxury coupe and convertible market, but is consolidating its offerings. The latest S-Class, for example, won’t be offered in two-door guise, and the SLC has been axed.
Mercedes-Benz research and development head, Marcus Schafer, recently told Auto Express it effectively had three convertibles – the SLC, and the C-Class and E-Class Cabriolets – occupying a part of the market that isn’t particularly profitable.
He conceded, however, it’s important for a luxury car brand to continue to offer coupe and convertible models.
As Mercedes-Benz expands its range of electric vehicles (EVs) to include models like the EQE and EQS built on a dedicated EV architecture, it’s aware its model line-up can’t get too large and unwieldy.
Merging the two-door C-Class and E-Class ranges is reminiscent of the days of the CLK.
Sold for two generations from 1997 to 2010, the CLK used the C-Class’ platform but with E-Class styling cues, and was available with a range of engines ranging from four- to eight-cylinder configurations.
In 2017, Mercedes-Benz finally returned a coupe and convertible to the E-Class line-up. These have been sold concurrently with the C-Class coupe and convertible.
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