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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - V-Class - V-ision e

Geneva show: Mercedes' 'sporty' V-Class van

V for velocity: With 245kW of hybrid power, wooden floors and a fat bodykit, the Mercedes V-ision e is the company's fastest accelerating, most luxurious and frugal V-Class.

Mercedes unveils 206km/h V-ision e plug-in hybrid luxury van

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Mercedes-Benz logo4 Mar 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

MERCEDES-Benz has applied its petrol-electric hybrid know-how and luxury sedan interior fit-out to a voluminous Geneva motor show concept, creating its most opulent, efficient and high-performance V-Class van to date.

Dubbed the Concept V-ision e, Mercedes' show-van borrows the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the C350 e and offers a combined electric/turbo 2.0-litre petrol output of 245kW and 600Nm, but uses just 3.0 litres of fuel per 100km.

With sportscar power, the V-Class-based concept can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 6.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 206km/h, but with a more sedate driving style can cover up to 50km on pure electric power thanks to its mains-rechargeable battery.

Like the C350, its turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine produces 155kW and 350Nm of torque, but an uprated electric motor adds 90kW, powered by a larger 13.5kWh battery versus the sedan's 6.2kWh unit.

That power output tops the most potent variant in the V-Class line-up by a sizable 105kW, but thanks to its hybrid technology, manages to better the fuel consumption of even the most frugal of the 2.1-litre diesel powered van range.

Four driving modes allow drivers of the V-ision e concept to select a Hybrid, E-Mode, E-Save or Charge setting for a choice of most efficient, pure electric or highest-performance motoring.

While the V-ision e might appear similar to a traditional V-Class from the outside, the cabin is designed for comfort not cargo and features just two lounge-like reclining leather thrones.

Occupants loaded into the back are treated to a huge panoramic sliding sunroof that covers more than 2.1 square meters, and massaging Nappa leather seats mounted on an English walnut floor.

The pair of seats can electrically recline to fully flat beds, have heating and ventilation, and the V-Class cargo area allows for the inclusion of additional seats or a more conventional bench.

Passengers have folding leather-clad tables, tablet holders in the front-row seat backs and USB, 220-volt and 12-volt charging sockets at their disposal.

On the outside, the V-ision e has aerodynamic body additions to smooth air-flow at its higher top speed and 20-inch wheels, while its 'titanium alubeam' paintwork completes the sporty treatments.

The German car-maker has not confirmed plans for a production version of the hybrid van but speaking at the unveiling of the concept, Mercedes senior product and corporate public relations manager David McCarthy told GoAuto the company was excited by the possibility of hybrid commercial vehicles.

"The possibility of being able to offer a plug-in hybrid version of the new V Class (Viano) is exciting,” he said. “With 3.0L/100km it would offer a compelling choice in the market. It will of course first have to make production and then it will depend on the business case and right-hand drive availability,” he said.

However Mr McCarthy could not confirm if any further hybrid vans were in the pipeline, including a smaller version.

"I do not know if a Vito version is planned,” he said.

While the V-ision e exists as a concept at this stage, demand from ultra-luxury hungry markets such as China could spur the van into limited production.

A production version would compete with another Mercedes-based luxury van, the Brabus-tuned Business Lounge, which accommodates four VIPs in a Sprinter-based surrounding.

In Australia, the Mercedes Viano currently sells with a 3.0-litre diesel engine from $78,990 before on-road costs.

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