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A new performance version of the next Mercedes C-Class has been spotted during hot weather testing. More specifically, it is the milder C53 AMG variant. The car has been spotted being tested under the Southern European sun. The C-Class has always been important for the Mercedes brand, even though it’s the E-Class that is the most sold sedan of the entire lineup. Nevertheless, the C-Class will, once again, need to improve upon the very capable platform it has always been. With this in mind, here’s what we can expect.

Drivetrain & Performance

2021 Mercedes-AMG C53 Exterior Spyshots
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The new C-Class will, as always, also come in AMG versions and this time the engines are said to be four-bangers. Even the hotter C63 is said to be a four-cylinder version this time but with hybrid technology, it should still have plenty of power. The engine for the C53 could be the same as found in the A45 S where it produces a healthy 416 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 369 pound-feet (500 Nm) at 5,000 – 5,250 rpm. In the top of the range A 45 S, these figures are enough for a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of just 3.7 seconds.

Engine 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder
Horsepower 416 HP @ 6,750 RPM
Torque 369 LB-FT @ 5,000 – 5,250 RPM
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds
2021 Mercedes-AMG C53 Exterior Spyshots
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The C53 AMG is a bigger car and as such will probably have a bump in power, which might come from either upgrades to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine or the addition of electric motors. We already know that the next C63 AMG will be a hybrid, but there is a good chance that the C53 might have a similar fate with regards to its drivetrain.

With this in mind, the new C53 AMG is expected to, at the very least, to match the performance of the A45 S. This would also mean that the new performance version of the C-Class will have one of the highest specific outputs for an internal combustion engine. In the A45 S, it’s 211.5 horsepower per liter.

Exterior

2021 Mercedes-AMG C53 Exterior Spyshots
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The camouflage is still the first stage as we saw on the first C-Class prototypes but then again the AMG version is still some year away. Despite the next C53 AMG being heavily camouflaged, some elements stand out. The front is very well masked, but the aero bits. The C53 AMG is meant to be more subtle than its C63 counterpart, so there is a good chance those aerodynamic bits might not make it, or will be part of a “performance” package. The radar cruise control will probably be standard as we can clearly see it in the middle of the grille. As with previous models, it will be integrated into the Mercedes badge.

From what can be seen, the side of the new C53 AMG is quite subtle, until you get to the massive brake discs peeking from behind the five-spoke AMG alloy wheels. The test car has two different rim styles on one side, which might be an indication that there will be a few options to choose from in terms of wheels or at the very least the wheel finish.

2021 Mercedes-AMG C53 Exterior Spyshots
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Most notable at the rear are the quad-exhaust tips, even though the next C53 will only have an inline-four engine. The taillights seem like they would adopt the design of the W223 S-Class, but unlike the executive sedan, they will not be flush with the exterior, but rather will protrude from the car’s bodywork. However, it is still not clear whether the actual car will retain this taillight design or not, as it might be a part of the camouflage.

Interior

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Interior
- image 932255

The interior is just as well camouflaged as the exterior, giving little information. We do know it will have a similar instrument cluster like the one in the W223 S-Class. In fact, the spy shots reveal that most of the interior design will be quite similar to the brand’s flagship sedan. The infotainment screen will be positioned on the center console, where it will be easier to operate, as opposed to when it was flush with the instrument cluster. That place is now occupied by three round vents. The similarities continue with the steering wheel, which seems to have the same design as the W223. We can expect wireless charging, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay to come as standard.

Price

2021 Mercedes-AMG C53 Exterior Spyshots
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As with other details regarding the upcoming C53 AMG, prices are not yet announced. Given the prices of the previous W204 generation, we can expect that the third most powerful AMG version of the car will have a starting price of $60,000 - $70,000. As before, the C-Class will be competitively priced against its main competitors.

Competition

BMW M340i

2019 BMW 3 Series
- image 800303

Mercedes and BMW, it seems, have been locked in an eternal battle for the best all-around luxury cars. The 3 Series is still the most successful model of the Bavarian brand. The M340i seems like the closest thing to the soon to be on sale C53 AMG. It shines with an incredible chassis and a very lively 3.0-liter, straight-six with a twin-scroll turbocharger, mated to an equally impressive eight-speed automatic. With 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet 500 Nm, it can do the 0 to 60 mph sprint in around 4.0 seconds. At the same time, the BMW is quite versatile, offering a near-perfect blend of comfort, performance, and daily usability. The M340i starts at $54,995, which despite its price jump of over $5,000 compared to the 2018 340i is still kind of a bargain in the premium segment.

Read our full review on the BMW M340i

Volvo S60 T8 Polestar

5 things Polestar Engineered did to make Volvo S60 the opposite of political correctness
- image 784470

Volvo is not a brand, often associated with performance, but the Polestar division has made some truly epic stuff over the years. The S60 T8 is one of their latest creations. Unlike most performance sedans in the segment, it’s a Plug-In Hybrid and is even able to travel up to 33 miles (53 km) only using the electric motors. The internal combustion engine may only be a 2.0-liter turbocharged, inline-four, but combined with the electric motors it makes 405 horsepower and 494 pound-feet (670 Nm). All this is good for a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.2 seconds. You also get one of the nicest interiors for its price range. The Polestar T8 version will set you back $65,795.

Read our full review on the Volvo S60 T8 Polestar

Conclusion

2021 Mercedes-AMG C53 Exterior Spyshots
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AMG has long been known as the craziest of the bunch, focusing not on lap times, but on pure driving satisfaction. That said, the ditching of the big V-8 and even the newly-developed inline-six engines raised more than a few eyebrows. With that being said, the craftsmen from Affalterbach have proven that they can extract enormous power figures even from a small four-banger, and reliably so. At the same time, the new C-Class adopts everything that makes the S-Class one of the best executive sedans in the industry and replicates it on a smaller scale, meaning that the next C53 AMG might be everything you need from a luxury performance sedan.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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