More details have emerged surrounding Mercedes-Benz’s (Mercedes-AMG, more accurately) next generation of fast sedans, specifically the next - ostensibly 3rd generation - CLS; or CLE as it’s rumoured to possibly be named.
The car in question will be a continuation of the W218 CLS-Class that ceased production last year, a sleeker saloon of comparable size to the W213 E-Class, upon which it'll be based on. While that new model generation should be making an official debut at Los Angeles Motor Show in November, the AMG derivative should be pioneering a new kind of powertrain for the company.
It's established that Mercedes-Benz’s new turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine will feature heavily in the CLS’ imminent successor and will indeed be carried over to the higher performance variant, surely in a more powerful tune to kick off the entry AMG 43.
As is the current arrangement, the ’43 is followed up by the range-topping ’63 series, which previously were powered by some quite gloriously brawny naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8s. Previously, there were midway men that used a supercharged 5.5-litre version of that motor, but Affalterbach’s line-up has phased them out closer to the advent of their self-developed twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre M178 V8.
Now, though, it seems the AMG spread could again comprise of a trio, with the new AMG-modified CLS debuting the 53’ series variant that will pair that same new straight-six turbo 3.0-litre with a 50kW electric motor. It’s a naming convention that should soon spread to other AMG versions of existing Benz models such as the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class.
This ’53 will not only be more fuel efficient than the lower-tier ’43, but considerably faster in everyday situations thanks to its instant response electric motor, leading us to wonder how much the V8-powered model will need to compensate in order to remain top dog. Or will it be allowed to at all?
Over the base AMG variant, power should easily see a rise by at least 70kW while torque gains would likely be even more impressive. We could be looking at roughly 335kW and 600Nm. To help supplement the new electric powertrain, the CLS performance hybrid is expected to feature a 48v electric architecture.
It’s also probable - not just possible - that following the introduction of the new six-cylinder engines (and influenced by the upcoming four-door GT) that AMG will restructure their Benz-based offerings, axing the V8-powered ’63 series entirely starting with the next CLS.
This would mean that a potential hybrid Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 will be the range topping variant, and therefore would leave much more room for the AMG GT saloon - with its rumoured 600kW hybrid twin-turbo V8 - to entice new customers. It has also been reported that, despite sharing its name with the two-door AMG GT coupe, the four-door version would have more in common under the skin with the current E-Class, and consequently, the new CLS.
This positioning is also in accordance with parent company Daimler’s objective to offer as many electrified models as soon as possible, and allows both AMG and Mercedes-Benz to position hybrid models as more sought after, at least partially solving any marketing hurdle they might encounter to their desirability and rank.