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    Nissan has tweaked the 2.3 litre, four-cylinder diesel engine that powers its NP300 Navara pick-up. Output is still either 158 bhp (118 kW / 160 PS) in single turbo guise or 187 bhp (140 kW / 190 PS) with twin turbos, but reduced emissions now mean Euro 6 compliance.

    At best, the updated motor produces 159 g/km of carbon dioxide – a drop of almost 5% – while achieving 46.3 mpg (6.1 l/100km) on the combined cycle. Helping to attain those figures is the introduction of a stop-start system on manual-transmission versions.

    Nissan NP300 Navara Double Cab (2017) Front SideNissan NP300 Navara Double Cab (2017) Rear Side

    However, the most significant change is the addition of a selective catalytic reduction device, which uses AdBlue to convert toxic oxides of nitrogen into harmless water vapour and nitrogen. Consequently, an AdBlue tank has been fitted. A capacity of 17 litres (3.7 gallons) should be large enough for 7,150 miles (11,500 kilometres) of driving between refills.

    To complement the technical improvements, the Navara's standard specification list gains Bluetooth, cruise control and a multi-function steering wheel.

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    According to Cadillac, the Escala Concept offers a preview of how the brand's design language is going to evolve.

    Measuring 5,347 mm (17’ 6”) long, it's being described as “a larger, more elite and expressive companion” for the existing CT6.

    Cadillac Escala Concept (2016) Front

    A hatchback body style and 22” wheels dictate the proportions, although the former seems like a brave choice for a premium model that would have to appeal to American buyers.

    Among the notable styling cues is a subtler approach to Cadillac's customary vertical light clusters. Inside, the dashboard incorporates three curved OLED screens instead of traditional instruments, while the car's various functions can be controlled by voice, touch or gesture.

    The powertrain isn't particularly innovative though, as it comprises a 4.2 litre twin-turbo V8 plus rear-wheel drive.

    As for the prospect of a showroom version, Johan de Nysschen, President of Global Cadillac, commented: “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”

    Cadillac Escala Concept (2016) Rear SideCadillac Escala Concept (2016) Dashboard

    Cadillac Escala Concept (2016) Rear SeatsCadillac Escala Concept (2016) Front Side

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    Images © General Motors.

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    For this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, BMW has given its 2002 Hommage a fresh colour scheme.

    Striking orange and black paintwork recalls the Jägermeister-sponsored BMW racing saloons that were a common sight during the 1970s and 1980s. However, current sensibilities about linking alcoholic beverages to driving (or a reluctance to provide free advertising) mean the car wears contrived 'Turbomeister' logos.

    BMW 2002 Hommage (2016) Side

    BMW first presented the 2002 Hommage at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este back in May. As a modern interpretation of the original 2002, its retro styling features include a forward-leaning 'shark nose' front end, widened wheel arches and an unbroken 'waterline' that runs along the flanks.

    Among the other distinctive elements are two single headlights, a rear carbon fibre diffuser and a set of 20” lightweight multi-spoke alloy wheels.

    BMW 2002 Hommage (2016) Front SideBMW 2002 Hommage (2016) Rear Side

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    Buick has added a Sport Touring variant to its Cascada line-up.

    This special edition convertible gains numerous cosmetic features, including a unique metallic paint shade called True Blue. A black triple-layer fabric roof and five-spoke 20” wheels are also fitted.

    Buick Cascada Sport Touring (2017) Front

    Leather upholstery, Black Magic trim pieces, a flat-bottom steering wheel and sports pedals meanwhile constitute the cabin's upgraded specification.

    In the United States, the Cascada Sport Touring is priced at $37,885 (including destination charges). Deliveries are due to begin later this year.

    Buick Cascada Sport Touring (2017) DashboardBuick Cascada Sport Touring (2017) Front Side

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    Images © General Motors.

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    A credible concept car needs to combine spectacular styling with technical progress. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, which has appeared at the Monterey Car Week, fulfils both of those criteria.

    This 2+2 coupé measures 5,700 mm (18’ 8”) long, but it's just 1,328 mm (4’ 4”) tall. 24” wheels and a huge bonnet further contribute to the dramatic proportions, while access to the rear-set cabin is via a pair of gullwing doors.

    Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 (2016) Side

    Inside, the dashboard curves around, creating what Mercedes-Benz is calling a '360° lounge'. Chesterfield-style leather upholstery, rose gold accents and an elm wood floor covering are the key elements that establish an unusual yet luxurious ambience.

    Facing the Vision 6's driver are two traditional-looking circular instruments, but information can also be displayed on a strip screen, or on the windscreen.

    Power comes from four electric motors that between them send 740 bhp (550 kW / 750 PS) to all four wheels. Acceleration from standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) is estimated to take less than four seconds, although top speed is electronically restricted to 155 mph (250 km/h).

    An underfloor 80 kWh battery pack is reckoned to deliver an impressive range of over 310 miles (500 kilometres) according to the NEDC measure. In addition to plug-in and wireless recharging, 350 kW DC fast charging is supported that enables an extra 60 miles of driving after just five minutes.

    A production version of the Vision 6 seems highly unlikely. Nevertheless, some aspects will probably be used on future models to help build the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand.

    Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 (2016) FrontMercedes-Maybach Vision 6 (2016) Interior

    Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 (2016) RearMercedes-Maybach Vision 6 (2016) Front Side

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    Following the Vanquish Zagato coupé's launch in June, Aston Martin has announced the imminent arrival of a Volante convertible version.

    Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante (2017) Front Side

    Exclusivity will come as standard because, just like the hardtop model, only 99 examples are going to be built at Gaydon.

    Another similarity is the upgraded 6.0 litre V12 engine. Its increased output of 592 bhp (441 kW / 600 PS) is estimated to deliver a suitably rapid 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of just 3.7 seconds.

    Customer deliveries are due to start next year.

    Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante (2017) Rear SideAston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante (2017) Front

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    This year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon will see Mercedes-Benz unveil Edition versions of its Marco Polo and Marco Polo Activity camper vans.

    Extra equipment on the Marco Polo Edition includes 17” alloy wheels, metallic paint, adaptive headlights and the exterior sports package. Furthermore, 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission comes as standard.

    Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Edition (2017) Front SideMercedes-Benz Marco Polo Edition (2017) Rear Side

    Inside, Tempmatic semi-automatic air conditioning and a hot-air auxiliary heater are fitted, plus the driver's and front passenger's seats gain heating and lumbar support. A leather-covered multifunction steering wheel, a touchpad-controlled 'Audio 20' infotainment system, Garmin Map Pilot navigation and a rear reversing camera also appear on the enhanced kit list.

    Like the regular variant, the lack of a side-mounted kitchen unit in the Marco Polo Activity Edition means it's more of a day van. Nevertheless, front-seat heating, an auxiliary hot-air heater and Tempmatic have been added.

    Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity Edition (2017) Rear SideMercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity Edition (2017) Front Side

    An 'Audio 15' infotainment system and Becker Map Pilot are installed too, while metallic paint, body-colour bumpers, 17” alloy wheels, tinted rear glass and chrome interior trim create a distinctive look.

    The Marco Polo Edition and Marco Polo Activity Edition can be ordered in Germany now. Of course they're not cheap and, for similar money, there are plenty of van conversions or coachbuilt motorhomes that offer more space and facilities.

    Model Price (including 19% VAT)
    Marco Polo Activity Edition 180 d €44,625
    Marco Polo Activity Edition 220 d €48,195
    Marco Polo Activity Edition 250 d €51,765
    Marco Polo Edition 220 d €59,500
    Marco Polo Edition 250 d €61,702

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    October's Paris Motor Show is due to see the first public appearance of the Opel Ampera-e. This electric-powered five-door hatchback, which apparently will offer “a fun-to-drive experience”, is essentially a rebadged Chevrolet Bolt.

    Like its American counterpart, the Opel features a single electric motor that produces 201 bhp (150 kW / 204 PS) with 360 Nm (266 lb/ft) of peak torque. Although the usual 0-62 mph (100 km/h) benchmark isn't mentioned, acceleration from rest to 31 mph (50 km/h) is reckoned to take just 3.2 seconds.

    Opel Ampera-e (2017) Front SideOpel Ampera-e (2017) Rear Side

    A maximum cruising speed of 93 mph (150 km/h) is also quoted. Useful for some autobahn users perhaps, but most prospective customers are probably more interested in the need to recharge.

    According to Opel, the flat underfloor lithium-ion battery pack can deliver “a significantly longer range than most other electric cars”. However, a figure has yet to be divulged.

    If the Bolt and Ampera-e specifications are also similar in this regard, then 200 miles (320 kilometres) of driving should be possible courtesy of a 60 kWh capacity. Plugging in to a DC fast-charge facility for thirty minutes would extend that distance by 90 miles (145 kilometres).

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    Images © General Motors.

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    Since being launched last year, the Kia Optima saloon has only been offered in the UK with a 1.7 litre diesel engine. Now, though, there's a plug-in hybrid alternative.

    The new arrival features a 154 bhp (115 kW / 156 PS) 2.0 litre direct-injection petrol engine, a 67 bhp (50 kW / 68 PS) electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. Total system output is rated at 202 bhp (150 kW / 204 PS), while peak torque is 372 Nm (274 lb/ft).

    Kia Optima PHEV (2017) Front Side

    Those figures allow the Optima PHEV to accelerate from rest to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 9.1 seconds before reaching a top speed of 119 mph (191 km/h). Fairly leisurely performance then, but 176.6 mpg (1.6 l/100km) and CO2 emissions of 37 g/km on the official combined cycle should be adequate compensation.

    Equally as important is the car's pure electric range which, thanks to a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, is a respectable 33 miles (53 kilometres).

    As well as contributing to improved aerodynamics, restyled bumpers and an active air flap grille help to identify the Optima PHEV. Other unique design elements include blue chrome trim and blue-tinted LED headlights.

    Standard equipment is generous, as 17” alloy wheels, parking sensors and a camera-based 270° around-view monitor all appear on the list. Also fitted are a wireless mobile phone charger, a ten-speaker Harman Kardon audio set-up and satellite navigation that's controlled via an 8” touchscreen.

    However, there is a premium to pay. Whereas prices for the diesel Optima vary between £21,495 and £28,895, the PHEV version costs £31,495 (after applying the government's £2,500 Plug-in Car Grant).

    Kia Optima PHEV (2017) DashboardKia Optima PHEV (2017) Rear Side

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    Next month is going to see the UK launch of Kia's Optima Sportswagon, a D-segment estate car that'll only be marketed in Europe.

    With a design inspired by 2015's Sportspace concept, its 4,855 mm (15’ 11”) length is the same as the saloon's. Of course the Sportswagon is more practical, as cargo space is 552 litres with the 40:20:40 split rear seats upright, or 1,686 litres when they're folded down.

    Kia Optima Sportswagon 3 (2017) Side

    Customers get to choose from three trim grades. As standard, all come with roof rails, 17” alloy wheels, cruise control, a reversing camera, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and satellite navigation.

    Additional items fitted to the mid-tier variant include lane-keeping assistance, rear privacy glass, rear electric windows, heated front seats, a Harman Kardon audio system, a larger 8” navigation screen and an 18” wheel upgrade.

    At the top of the range, the GT-Line S gains leather upholstery, a wireless mobile phone charger, an automatic powered tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, 360° around-view monitoring and smart parking assistance. Among its extra safety devices are blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and autonomous emergency braking.

    Power is provided by a 1.7 litre turbocharged diesel engine that produces 139 bhp (104 kW / 141 PS) with 340 Nm (250 lb/ft) of peak torque. This four-cylinder, common-rail unit can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    Model Transmission Price
    Optima Sportswagon 2 Manual £22,295
    Optima Sportswagon 3 Manual £24,495
    Optima Sportswagon 3 DCT £25,895
    Optima Sportswagon GT-Line S DCT £30,595

    Kia Optima Sportswagon GT-Line S (2017) Front SideKia Optima Sportswagon 3 (2017) Luggage Compartment

    Kia Optima Sportswagon 3 (2017) Rear SeatsKia Optima Sportswagon 3 (2017) Rear Side

    Kia Optima Sportswagon GT-Line S (2017) DashboardKia Optima Sportswagon GT-Line S (2017) Front

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    Chevrolet has confirmed that the 2017 Colorado mid-size pick-up will be offered with an all-new V6 gasoline powertrain.

    Like its predecessor, displacement is 3.6 litres, but modified variable valve timing and fuel injection systems mean output has been raised to 308 bhp (230 kW / 312 PS). Peak torque meanwhile is now 373 Nm (275 lb/ft).

    Chevrolet Colorado Shoreline Extended Cab (2017 North American Spec) Front Side

    To go with the change of engine, a segment-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission is being introduced that replaces the old six-speed gearbox.

    According to Chevrolet, this combination promises superior performance, a better towing experience and improved efficiency. Helping to achieve the last-mentioned benefit is Active Fuel Management, which deactivates two cylinders under light throttle loads.

    Deliveries of the 2017 Colorado are due to begin across North America during the fourth quarter of this year.

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    Image © General Motors.

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    Lotus is continuing its fifty-years-at-Hethel celebrations by introducing the Elise 250 Special Edition.

    Numerous carbon fibre components are fitted, including the front splitter, front access panel, rear wing, tailgate and sports seats. As a result, the car weighs just 899 kg (1,982 lbs).

    Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition (2016) Front Side

    Like the regular Elise Cup 250, the 250 Special Edition features a supercharged 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 243 bhp (181 kW / 246 PS) via a six-speed manual gearbox. The suspension and braking set-ups are identical, too.

    Buyers of the 250 Special Edition will have a choice of four paint finishes and two two-tone colour schemes for the standard leather upholstery. However, only fifty examples are going to be built.

    Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition (2016) Interior

    UK pricing starts at £47,900, an amount which represents a premium of £2,300 versus the cost of an Elise Cup 250.

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  • 09/01/16--12:26: 2017 Kia Rio first view
  • Kia has released some images of the fourth-generation Rio, ahead of its public debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month.

    The styling of this all-new supermini is a collaboration between studios in Korea, Germany and the United States. As is often the case when a design tries to appeal to many disparate markets, the end result is rather bland.

    Kia Rio (2017) Front Side

    Nevertheless, 2017's Rio is slightly longer, lower and wider than the previous version, which has helped to enhance the proportions. The most arresting visual element is undoubtedly a more purposeful-looking front grille and headlights arrangement.

    Inside, the highlight is a revamped dashboard that now features a centrally-mounted touchscreen to control the car's infotainment functions.

    UK deliveries are expected to begin at the end of the year, but detailed specifications and prices have yet to be announced.

    Kia Rio (2017) DashboardKia Rio (2017) Rear Side

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    Plenty of Volkswagen Transporter owners like to give their vans a custom look, so resurrecting the Sportline trim grade for the latest T6 version makes a lot of sense.

    As well as a set of 18” alloy wheels, the enhanced specification includes lowered suspension, LED headlights, carbon fibre door mirror caps, side styling bars and redesigned bumpers.

    Volkswagen Transporter Kombi Sportline (2017) Front Side

    Inside, leather upholstery and bespoke floor mats provide a more luxurious ambience. Also fitted are the Discover Media touchscreen-controlled navigation system and a heated windscreen.

    For the time being, the Sportline package is only being offered on T32 Kombi models equipped with a 177 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS) 2.0 litre diesel engine and a seven-speed DSG transmission. On-the-road prices start from £36,295 (excluding VAT).

    Next year is going to see Sportline availability extended to panel van variants, plus there’ll be a wider choice of powertrains.

    Volkswagen Transporter Kombi Sportline (2017) DashboardVolkswagen Transporter Kombi Sportline (2017) Rear Side

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    As every auto manufacturer seems to know, the quickest and simplest way to create a 'special' version of an existing model is to blacken various components.

    That's the approach taken by Ram for the new 1500 Night pick-up. Based on the existing 1500 Sport, its 20” wheels, front grille, light bezels and badges have all received a black finish.

    Ram 1500 Night Quad Cab 4x4 (2017) Side

    Opting for Brilliant Black paintwork would create a completely monochrome look. Alternatively, Granite Crystal Metallic, Flame Red, Bright Silver Metallic or Bright White colours are also available for anybody who wants some contrast.

    Inside the cab – which can be ordered in regular, quad or crew guises – standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, plus the pedals and heated front seats are power-adjustable.

    Like the 1500 Sport, the 1500 Night comes with either a 305 bhp (227 kW / 309 PS) 3.6 litre Pentastar V6 or a 395 bhp (295 kW / 400 PS) 5.7 litre Hemi V8 engine. Furthermore, there's a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive.

    Production of the 2017 Ram 1500 Night is due to begin next month. Prices haven't been confirmed yet, though.

    Ram 1500 Night Quad Cab 4x4 (2017) Front SideRam 1500 Night Quad Cab 4x4 (2017) Rear Side

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    Next year’s Dakar Rally entry list is going to include a special Hilux built by Toyota South Africa Motors and Toyota Gazoo Racing. Compared to the showroom model, it’s definitely very different.

    For starters, power is provided by a mid-mounted, normally-aspirated V8 engine that sends output to the rear wheels only. The absence of a four-wheel drive system is one factor that’s helping to keep the pick-up’s weight down to around 1,300 kg (2,866 lbs).

    Toyota Hilux Evo 2017 Front Side

    To cope with the challenging route that’ll run through Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, longer travel suspension is fitted. Furthermore the wheels and tyres are much larger than standard, plus they’re supported by an onboard inflation / deflation device.

    According to Glyn Hall, Team Principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, “Essentially, this is our take on what a two-wheel drive Dakar challenger should be.

    “We’ve taken all the testing and real-world experience we gained with the four-wheel drive Toyota Hilux over the past five years and repackaged it in the lighter, faster Toyota Hilux Evo.”

    Three examples of the Hilux Evo are due to participate in the 2017 Dakar, crewed by Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel, Leeroy Poulter / Rob Howie and Giniel de Villiers / Dirk von Zitzewitz. The event begins on the 2nd of January.

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    Thanks to an upgraded 6.0 litre, turbocharged, twelve-cylinder engine, the new Flying Spur W12 S is being heralded as the first four-door Bentley that can exceed 200 mph.

    Power is up by 10 bhp (7 kW / 10 PS) to 626 bhp (467 kW / 635 PS), while peak torque – which usefully arrives at 2,000 rpm – has risen from 800 Nm (590 lb/ft) to 820 Nm (605 lb/ft).

    Bentley Flying Spur W12 S (2017) Front Side

    As a result, this all-wheel drive Flying Spur can reach 62 mph (100 km/h) from rest in 4.5 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h). By comparison, a regular W12 records 4.6 seconds and 199 mph (320 km/h) for the same benchmarks, so any performance gains appear to be negligible.

    Nevertheless, the W12 S should provide a more involving driving experience, since its damper and stability control calibrations are unique.

    A redesigned front bumper, seven-spoke 21” wheels, dark-tinted light clusters and a rear diffuser are intended to help establish a suitably sporty look. Completing the effect is a gloss black finish for the grille, door handle inserts and window surrounds.

    Flying Spur W12 S deliveries are due to begin towards the end of this year.

    Bentley Flying Spur W12 S (2017) InteriorBentley Flying Spur W12 S (2017) Rear Side

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    For Formula E, more manufacturer involvement is a key factor that's going to grow the stature of the series. Likewise, the 'alternative energy' credentials of participating brands should also be enhanced, which is one reason why Jaguar has decided to enter this all-electric championship.

    Jaguar Racing's new I-Type 1 is set to make its race debut at October's Hong Kong ePrix, the first round of the 2016-2017 season. Adam Carroll and Mitch Evans have been named as the team's drivers, while Ho-Pin Tung is in reserve.

    Jaguar I-Type 1 2016 Front

    Arguably, Jaguar Land Rover lags behind some rivals when it comes to offering electric or hybrid powertrains for road cars. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, involvement in Formula E is being touted as a means to address the situation.

    On that theme, Nick Rogers, the firm's Executive Director of Product Engineering, has said: “The championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions. We will apply this vital knowledge as part of our real world development.”

    Jaguar I-Type 1 2016 SideJaguar I-Type 1 2016 Rear Side

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    Next year marks sixty years of Seven production and, naturally, Caterham isn't going to let such a special birthday pass without commemoration. Indeed, the company is starting early with the launch of the extremely retro Seven Sprint.

    Various cosmetic touches are intended to give this new arrival a definite 1960s vibe. The chassis, for example, is grey powder-coated, while customers have a choice of Misty Blue, Cream, British Racing Green, Camberwick Green, Regency Red or Mellow Yellow paintwork.

    Caterham Seven Sprint (2016) Front Side

    Individual rear lights and flared front mudguards are fitted, plus the wheels have been embellished with old-fashioned polished hubcaps.

    In the cockpit, scarlet red Muirhead leather covers the seats (although prominent head restraints – a modern necessity – aren't really period-correct). Further adding to the evocative ambience are unique four-dial instruments and a wood-rimmed steering wheel.

    Like the entry-level Seven 160, the Seven Sprint is powered by a 660 cc, turbocharged, three-cylinder Suzuki engine that produces 80 bhp (60 kW / 81 PS). Prices start at £27,995 and it's available to order now, but just sixty examples are being built for the whole of Europe.

    Caterham Seven Sprint (2016) DashboardCaterham Seven Sprint (2016) Rear

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    Like the rest of the Up! range, the pure electric e-Up! city car has received some cosmetic changes.

    Only dedicated Volkswagen spotters will be able to detect the updates though, because they're very subtle. On the outside, the bumpers and rear light clusters have been redesigned, plus a blue stripe now runs between the headlights.

    Inside, the e-Up! gains a leather-trimmed steering wheel, some extra chrome trim and the 'Maps + More' smartphone docking system.

    Volkswagen e-Up! 5-Door (2017) Front Side

    All of the mechanical components are unaltered. So power is still provided by an 80 bhp (60 kW / 82 PS) electric motor which draws energy from a 204 cell, 18.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

    Maximum range remains a modest 93 miles (150 kilometres). A full recharge takes nine hours via a domestic socket, or six hours using an optional 3.6 kW wall box. Alternatively, a public fast-charging facility can replenish the battery to 80% capacity in around thirty minutes.

    As before, the e-Up! is only being offered in five-door form and, compared to petrol-engine versions, it's very expensive. Even after applying the £4,500 Plug-in Car Grant, on-the-road prices start at £20,780.

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