The Mercedes-AMG C53 4Matic has been spotted undergoing its latest round of testing in what appears to be production-ready bodywork, less than a year before it's planned to head into UK showrooms alongside standard versions of the new, fifth-generation C-Class.
Set to rival the Audi S4 and BMW M340i xDrive, the four-wheel-drive C53 will replace today's C43 4Matic. It forms part of an extensive new C-Class line-up from AMG alongside successor models to today’s C63 and C63 S – each to be offered in saloon, estate, coupé and cabriolet body styles.
While it still wears non-standard alloy wheels that will evolve further before reaching production, these latest images give us our best look yet at the front and rear end of the upcoming saloon.
The C53 prototype pictured here is clearly differentiated from standard versions of the new C-Class we’ve already caught testing by a series of typical AMG styling elements, including a Panamericana grille with vertical louvres, a deeper front bumper assembly with new vertical ducting and so-called flics within the outer edges, wider sills and a bespoke rear bumper housing four round tailpipes.
Those exhausts single out the prototype as a C53, because all sightings of the top-end C63 have so far been with square-shaped exhaust tips. as well as a more aggressive front bumper and larger brakes.
It also sports large brake discs and what appear to be six-pot front brake calipers – a telltale sign that this is no ordinary C-Class. Further differentiation from previous Mk5 C-Class prototypes include 18in wheels.
The C53 had previously been spotted taking part in cold-weather testing with extensive visual camouflage, incuding heavily disguised front and rear lights and contrasting alloy wheel designs.
As first reported by Autocar last year, AMG has settled on a four-cylinder strategy for its new C-Class models.
The C53 is planned to eschew the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine of the existing C43 for a further developed version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine already used by the A35 and its more powerful A45 sibling.