Johannesburg - The Mercedes-Benz CLS is one of those cars that's a rare sight on South Africa's roads, but over the first two generations of the model's lifespan Merc has sold more than 350 000 units worldwide. Now, with the third-generation CLS, the company is trying something a little different.

For the first time, the CLS won't come with a stonking V8 under its hood as a range-topper, instead, you'll have to 'make-do' with a 3.0-litre straight-six. Yes, that's right Merc's returned to the in-line six-pot recipe it became famous for in the 60s and 70s.

The latest 3.0-litre engine isn't an ordinary power unit at all, though, as AMG's engineers have thrown twin-scroll turbocharging, electric 'charging' and an overboost function at it. You're looking at 320kW and 520Nm from the car's petrol powerplant and an additional 16kW and 250Nm from the electric EQ Boost package. 

Overall, with all these systems engaged and thanks to a rear-bias all-wheel drive 4MATIC+ drivetrain and nine-speed gearbox, it can gallop from a standstill to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.

The CLS53 AMG is one of only two versions of the car you can get in SA (the other is a diesel, blegh). The CLS53 AMG is priced at R1.7 million in EDITION trim.

We'll bring you the full driving impression in Drive360 next week, but for now, you can take a quick spin in the car with me in the video below:

Drive360