While the C63 AMG is undoubtedly the most popular model amongst the tuners, the fact that the same basic bi-turbo V8 engine does duty in every RWD and 4WD AMG model from the GT to the S63 AMG means that the upgrade business for this engine has been brisk.
It would not be wrong to say that this focus on the charismatic 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 has largely overshadowed the tuning of other engines in the AMG range. Recognising this, we spoke to Lorinser who promptly offered us a test drive in their L50, based on the E43 AMG 4Matic saloon.
In the same way that we admire the E63 AMG as being the best everyday car powered by the 4.0 litre, V8 bi-turbo engine, we think that the E43 is the nicest and most balanced of AMG’s 43 range. In saloon, estate, coupe and cabriolet form it offers crisp handling thanks to its faster steering ratio, sporting 31/69% torque split, supreme 4WD traction, along with good ride comfort, and refined bi-turbo V6 performance. All this is nicely wrapped in relatively subtle dress for those who find the 63 models too much of a good thing.
The heart of every AMG car is its engine, so it is no surprise that this is the first stop for the Lorinser L50 conversion. Out of the box the E43 AMG 4Matic is powered by the AMG fettled variant of the M276 2,996cc twin-turbo V6, boosted, using larger turbochargers and appropriate software, to 401hp at 6,100rpm, and underpinned by 520Nm of torque between 2,500 and 5,000rpm. AMG claim 4.6 sec for the 0-100km/h sprint, and as usual top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
Lorinser’s engineers looked at the factory equation, taking into account mechanical headroom for long-term reliability and EU emissions compliance, and settled on a modest but useful increase to 440hp at 6,100rpm. Important for tractability is the 600Nm of torque between 1,250 and 4,950rpm, which makes everyday driving more relaxed with the added potential for better economy too.
If you happen to own an E350 CDI, whose factory fresh output is 258hp at 3,400rpm with 620Nm of torque between 1,600 and 2,400rpm, then the Lorinser engine upgrade takes this to 300hp at 3,500rpm, with 695Nm from 1,650 to 2,500rpm.
The 9G-Tronic automatic transmission shifts faster thanks to its AMG software application. It has multiple downshift function, which allows the car to react much faster to an instant demand for maximum acceleration. The driver centric AMG software has a Manual mode for full paddle shift control of the gears, which also disables the normal automatic upshift when the rev limiter is reached.
One of the reasons we like the E43 AMG over the smaller, lighter rear-drive C43 and the GLC43 is the superior combination of ride and handling engendered by its Air Body Control air suspension. This makes for a more cossetting ride in Comfort mode when you are just cruising, with the option of firming everything up and limiting body roll when you select Sport or Sport Plus.
In the past Lorinser was known for some pretty ostentatious body styling. However, they decided to go after a different clientele with the W213 E-Class and the result is a very attractive, almost understated aero kit that I found most appealing from the moment I laid eyes on it.
Okay, the black stripe along the bottom of the doors may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think the front lip and boot lid spoilers do just enough to give the E43 a more purposeful look, while helping to reduce lift at high speed. The side skirt additions also help to channel air around the rear arches to control the spilling airflow and so reduce drag. The new rear skirt add-on parts do a similar job.
These components are available either finished in black, or painted in body colour if you so wish. On the other hand if you have the AMG Optik Code P31, then the Lorinser parts can be ordered in matching carbon-fibre, as on my test car. The only parts that have no performance value as such are the matching door mirror covers, which do look good in carbon-fibre.
The rear bumper insert design offers a choice of styles. One has cut outs for the Lorinser four outlet sports exhaust as fitted to the test car, while the other is specifically for the diesel.