The only M Performance version currently available from BMW for the 5 Series is the fully electric i5 M60 that goes up against the AMG EQE. Archrival Mercedes is now introducing a sporty derivative of its traditional E-Class Sedan with an inline-six engine and an electric motor. Meet the new AMG E53, a spicy plug-in hybrid that won’t have to worry about competition from BMW. Well, at least not at first.

Although there have been reports about a potential M560e with a plug-in hybrid system based around an inline-six engine, BMW has yet to launch a hybrid M Performance 5 Series. That said, it could still come around the middle of the year if our sources are accurate. Meanwhile, this new E53 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine like its predecessor, but with an electric twist. It now boasts an e-motor built into the nine-speed auto gearbox, while sitting underneath the trunk floor is a battery pack with a net energy content of 21.2 kWh.

Without using launch control, the potent electrified athlete from Affalterbach puts out a meaty 577 hp while enabling Race Start lifts the total output to 604 hp. The six-cylinder engine and electric motor work together to deliver a respectable 750 Newton meters (553 pound-feet) of torque. The AMG E53 can hit 60 mph from a standstill in as little as 3.7 seconds with launch control or in 3.9 seconds without it. Flat out, it does 155 mph (250 km/h) but going for the extra AMG Driver’s Package unlocks 174 mph (280 km/h).

Because this is a plug-in hybrid at the end of the day, efficiency is also a selling point. Mercedes claims a fully charged battery lasts more than 62 miles (100 kilometers), albeit that’s in the optimistic WLTP cycle. Expect the EPA range to be lower. The new AMG E53 can reach 87 mph (140 km/h) without having to turn on the combustion engine. To replenish the battery, DC fast charging at 60 kW is supported, in which case it takes about 20 minutes to go from 10% to 80%.

Mercedes will sell the AMG E53 as a more practical wagon as well, with both body styles getting a quad exhaust system, 19-inch wheels (up to 21 inches available), and a meaner front grille design. Because this new generation is a PHEV, there’s a charging port on the driver-side rear fender, mirrored by the gas cap on the other side. As expected, the lesser of the two AMG E-Class models has standard all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, variable suspension with adjustable damping, extra struts for increased body stiffness, and chunkier brakes.

With no M560e just yet and BMW refusing to make another M550i, the new AMG E53 will have one less rival to worry about, at least initially. Elsewhere, we know for a fact that Audi is working on a new S6/S7 that’s likely to be electrified as well. It appears the Munich-based marque is willing to leave money on the table for its domestic competitors to grab. The closest thing right now to these rival cars is the new 550e but the plug-in hybrid emphasizes efficiency over outright performance.

An M5 with a plug-in hybrid V8 is on the way but BMW’s main rivals are also plotting a new AMG E63 and RS6/RS7.

Source: Mercedes-AMG