Mercedes has facelifted its GLE for 2015 and added a plug-in hybrid model. New headlamps with daytime driving lights form the brand's 'hallmark eyebrows' while at the rear, new LED lamps join redesigned tailpipes. The new GLE 500 e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid is powered by a 333bhp V6 petrol engine and a 116 horse power electric motor – resulting in a total system output of 650 Nm of torque. Mercedes's first ever plug-in hybrid SUV produces 78g/km of CO2 emissions and returns 85.6 mpg. Pricing and specification have yet to be announced.
Rinspeed has revealed its latest autonomous car – the BMW i3-based Budii. The new concept features technology from the Swiss company’s 'idea factory' – including a robotic arm that literally hands over the steering wheel to the occupants when they fancy some fun at the wheel. Other quirky features include a function enabling the car to follow you when you go for a jog – and then you can switch on the taps to run a bath so it’s ready when you get home. The Rinspeed Budii will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3.
Nissan has applied special glow-in-the-dark paint to an all-electric LEAF. The spray-applied coating – which absorbs UV energy during the day so that it glows for up 10 hours when the sun goes down – was invented by Hamish Scott, creator of the STARPATH glow-in-the-dark pathway. Using a secret formula made up of entirely organic materials, Nissan says the LEAF's unique paint-job would last for 25 years if made commercially available.
Kia has reveal its Trail'ster e-AWD concept at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Soul EV-based show car features a bold design with a fully retractable canvas roof and LED lighting. Powered by a 188 PS 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, an electric motor is housed on the rear axle offering the option of all-wheel drive for enhanced launch acceleration, improved off-road traction and electric-only low speed driving.
The BMW i3 will make its US debut during Super Bowl 49 in a 60-second TV commercial. The ad - entitled 'Newfangled Idea' - will air during the first quarter of the season-defining match on February 1 and features renowned US TV anchors Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel spoofing their own TV blunder from 1994 when they failed to grasp the Internet. This time the duo struggle with the ‘newfangled idea’ of the all-electric i3 – which is already on sale in the UK, priced from £25,680 including the £5,000 Government grant.
Mercedes has added hybrid technology to the C-Class range. The C350 Plug-In Hybrid, unveiled in Detroit, is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine in conjunction with an electric motor, for a total system output of 279 bhp and 600 Nm of torque. With a 0-62 mph time of 5.9 seconds, Mercedes says the new C-Class Hybrid delivers sportscar-like performance, despite returning fuel consumption of 134mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 48 g/km. It can also cover a distance of 19 miles in emission-free, electric-only mode.
Order books have opened for Volkswagen's all-electric e-Golf. VW says the battery-powered hatch drives and handles as well as the petrol version -- yet costs less than 4 and a half pence per mile to run. The electric motor delivers 115 PS for a 0-62 time of 10.4 seconds and a range of 80-120 miles. The e-Golf features aerodynamic alloy wheels and full LED headlights for the first time on a Volkswagen. UK prices start at £25,845 OTR - including the £5,000 Government grant.