The first of two kinds of AMG in an E-Class setting has just been revealed.
Old-school or new, eight-cylinder or six? That seems to be the proposition Mercedes’ performance associate seems set to lay down with its just-announced heated edition next-generation E-Class sedan.
The E43, a potent bi-turbo V6 version of the medium model unveiled today is properly to performance temperature – but it’s actually just the first half of a two-stage assault by AMG.
Using the same V6 revealed in the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe at the Geneva motor show but with an additional 25kW thanks to larger turbos and software reprogramming, it will in time run second fiddle to an even brawnier AMG-ised E.
Affalterbach is also thought to be prepping a full blown V8 E63, potentially running the 375kW/700Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the C63 and GT, as the full replacement for the previous shape E63, whose 5.5-litre V8 outputted 430kW and 800Nm in ultimate ‘S’ format.
In the meantime, though, the 295kW/520Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder model here is going to fulfill function as the family wild child.
The car is fully introduced at the upcoming New York motor show and comes into production later this year. It's confirmed for NZ sale here in early 2017.
General issue editions of the E-Class come on sale from July; the E200 petrol and E200 and E350 diesel models landing first with E300 and E400 4Matic to follow later in the year. These models all come initially in sedan format. MBNZ has yet to cite prices, but the current lineup runs from $114,000 to $150,700. The old E63 was a $215,000 proposition. So, conceivably, the E43 will site somewhere between those positions.
Why a performance V6 when there will also still be a V8? For the same reason that Audi has S models as alternates to the more hardened RS cars and BMW does Motorsport editions that site below its M models.
It would be a mistake to consider the E43 as a wuss. This 1765 kilogramme exec is claimed to reach 0-100kmh in just 4.6 seconds and on to an electrically limited top speed of 250kmh. Not bad for a car also claimed to return an optimum fuel consumption figure of 8.3 litres per 100km.
This sounds like a specialist engine, too. The maker has also coated the cylinder liners with a unique material derived from development of its Formula 1 V6 hybrid turbo engines to reduce friction and improve efficiency further.
Peak power comes on at 6100rpm while peak torque hits from 2500rpm, all delivered to all four wheels via a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission and a 4Matic drivetrain with a rear-bias torque split of 31:69.
Aggressive looks are naturally part of the package. The aero enhancements limit to a bootlip spoiler and a subtle diffuser between the tailpipes. The front bumper has three large air intakes to force airflow straight into the coolers, those five-spoke alloys are 19-inchers and it has quad tail-pipes.
Inside, the E43 gains a black roof liner alongside leather and microfibre sports seats with red highlight stitching, a motif which continues along the door trims, dashboard and flat-bottomed steering wheel, plus seatbelts coloured to match.
Behind the steering wheel sits a 4.5-inch multifunction colour display, able to display the vehicle instrumentation and different readouts including boost pressure and oil temperature.
Mercedes-AMG also offers five driving modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual – with each adjusting engine response, cylinder deactivation, throttle reaction, aggressiveness of gear shifts, suspension and steering.
To save petrol in Eco mode, the engine can be decoupled from the powertrain when coasting between 60kmh and 160kmh.
The suspension comprises a four-link front axle fitted with unique steering knuckles and load-bearing joints and a multi-link rear end. AMG has given the front axle race-style negative camber for more lateral grip in fast corners.
Stopping comes courtesy of perforated, four-piston 360mm front discs single-piston rears of the same dimension.