A new type of muscle car headed for Oz

An insane new performance car will land in Australia next year and it is the natural successor to one of the wildest cars on the market.

Is the EQE 53 a silent killer? This new electric sedan from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG high-performance division is the EV equivalent of the company’s E 63 S, known for the thumping acceleration and thunderous sound of its V8.

Powered by a pair of near-silent electric motors, the aerodynamically shaped five-seat EQE 53 doesn’t advertise its speed with a wall of noise. Yet this is a more powerful and cheaper car than the E 63 S. The electric car is not only quieter, but also faster.

The time to accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h is an important measure of a car’s credibility. Mercedes-AMG claims that the EQE 53 can do it in 3.3 seconds, while the E 63 S takes a tenth of a second longer.

It’s just the blink of an eye, but reputations are made or lost by such margins in this world. The EQE 53 puts an end to the E 63 S’s claim to dominance, and you have to wonder what Mercedes-AMG’s loyal and vociferous public will feel about this.

Especially since the faster EQE 53 will carry a lower price tag than the E63 S when it arrives in Australia. Nearly $200,000 is what Mercedes-Benz Australia is aiming for with the EV, about $50,000 less than the E63 S.

Production of the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 will begin in August at the Bremen plant in northern Germany, where it will join the Mercedes-EQ versions of the EQE already produced there.

The full EQE lineup for Australia is planned for the end of this year. It will probably consist of three models. The Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 will certainly be at the top of the range. Following are two less powerful Mercedes-EQ variants, one with two engines and four-wheel drive, another with a single engine and rear-wheel drive.

The combined maximum power and torque of the engines of the EQE 53 is no less than 505 kW and 1020 Nm, with the optional AMG Dynamic Plus package. That is 55 kW more than the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 of the E 63 S.

Mercedes-AMG engineers have made changes to increase the power, torque and speed of the electric motors used in normal EQE. Stator windings were changed and the inverters that convert DC from the battery to AC for the motors were upgraded.

The motors draw from a 91 kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the floor. While the official WLTP-rated range of the EQE 53 is over 500km, the true mixed range will be slightly less. The authoritative European website EV Database estimates 465km.

Charging speeds are fast. The EQE 53 can hit a high 170 kW from a DC fast charger and comes with a built-in 11 kW AC charger for home charging.

Because of that large battery pack, the EQE 53 is very hefty for an almost five-meter long sedan. At about 2600 kg, it is more than 500 kg heavier than the E 63 S.

This explains why the EV is a 53 badge and not a 63, even though the linear acceleration is comparable. Mercedes-AMG technical chief Jochen Hermann says anything with a 63 badge should be fit for racing and the EQE 53 isn’t.

The acceleration of the EQE 53 is both amazing and addictive. Pressing the accelerator pedal to the ground creates an instant, neck-tensioning wave of silent thrust. There is never a trace of wheelspin, of the car struggling to reduce its power.

It rained hard during part of the international launch test drive on winding roads through the Vosges on the border between France and Germany. The way the EQE 53 could swing out of tight corners was just incredible.

But the weight was apparent when slowing corners and turning them in. While the regenerative braking of the EV’s motors does some of the work in reducing speed, the large disc brakes still have a lot to do. And convincing 2600 kg to change direction clearly strains the grip of the front tires.

Driven a little more slowly, the EQE 53 is very easy to admire. While the headroom in the rear isn’t great, the cabin is an inviting, well-crafted, beautifully designed and tech-filled environment. The standard air-sprung and adaptive damper suspension is smooth and the steering provides a sense of connection to the road.

Mercedes-AMG has developed several synthetic soundscapes for the EQE 53 audio system, with the aim of adding a sonic dimension to driving. Some are more subtle than others, and you can leave them off to enjoy the pace and silence.

MERCEDES-AMG EQE 53 VITALS

PRICE $200,000 (estimated)

ENGINE Twin engine 505kW/1020Nm (with AMG Dynamic Plus package)

TRANSMISSION Single-speed; AWD

RANGE 518km

ENERGY CONSUMPTION 17.5-23.2 kWh/100 km

0-100 KM/H 3.3 sec (with AMG Dynamic Plus package)

#type #muscle #car #headed

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