Top 10 best hybrid and electric sports cars 2022
Future-proof your fun by choosing an electrified sports car. Here are our favourites
Usually when you think about hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric cars, it’s economy-focused models such as the Toyota Prius hybrid or all-electric Nissan Leaf. Yet that mindset is rapidly becoming outdated because pretty much everything is electrified in some way these days, and there are now many proper sports cars with electric power.
Advances in technology mean that today’s electric motors can be made hugely powerful, so acceleration off the line is often better than with a petrol engine that needs revs to get going. The heavy batteries mean electric sports cars sometimes aren’t as nimble as petrol models, but they have incredible performance to make up for it.
Some cars combine both old and new tech - like the recently-discontinued Honda NSX, which has a petrol V6 engine mated to a set of electric motors. Adding these motors means cars like these offer four-wheel drive without needing extra mechanical parts, improving traction and composure especially in the wet.
Sports cars of the past used to have big engines that inevitably cost a lot to run because they needed refuelling so often - but electric power in modern models means that they can prove surprisingly economical in the right circumstances.
Plug-in models in particular can be driven on electric power alone for short distances, saving lots of fuel in the process. Of course, purely electric sports cars have ultra-low running costs despite their incredible performance.
The rise of the electric sports car is in full swing, driven by regulations forcing car makers to lower their cars’ emissions – but it’s the advancements in technology that make new types of car possible. In this article, we’ve picked out the best models you can buy right now.
The list below includes sports cars, but also the best alternative-fuel saloon cars and SUVs for keen drivers who want excellent performance and rewarding handling.
Concerns were raised when it was revealed that Porsche were working on an electric car but the Taycan is as good as any other Porsche sports car. The range-topping Porsche Taycan Turbo S comes with a supercar price and the pace to match - it has 750bhp and a 2.8-second 0-62mph time - but even the base model reaches 62mph in a quick 5.4 seconds. There is now also an even more lightweight, driver-focused Taycan GTS model for those who care more about handling and lap times than straight-line speed.
Inside, it’s a mix of the sportiness you’ll find in the Porsche 911 and the very latest tech, which further enhances its futuristic feel. Part of its repertoire is super-fast charging, which allows the battery to be recharged to 80% in around 20 minutes. When the battery is fully topped up, you can travel up to 300 miles before needing to plug in again.
BMW’s first electric saloon earns its place on our list of hybrid and electric sports cars because it’s as great to drive as a BMW should be. The i4 is BMW’s long-awaited answer to the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2, and could end up being very popular because its price isn’t too far off that of a petrol-powered BMW 3 Series or 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Buyers keen on performance will be most interested in the M50 range-topper. Its two powerful electric motors produce 537bhp and get it from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds. That’s the same figure as a BMW M4, but the i4 is less expensive to buy and much less expensive to run. A full charge results in up to 316 miles of range. Plugging the car in will be the only reminder that the i4 is electric; otherwise it feels like any other BMW.
The latest Skoda Octavia vRS gains a plug-in hybrid engine for the first time, allowing hot hatch fans to drive up to 39 miles on zero-emission electric power. On paper, it’s the best of both worlds, because you can drive silently through town and then have the power available to make the most of a quiet back road.
The vRS iV is a little heavier than the petrol and diesel versions, but is still quite fun to drive. Acceleration is nippy at seven seconds, while the Octavia also impresses with its enormous boot and spacious cabin. The 242bhp plug-in hybrid engine is also fitted in the Cupra Leon and Volkswagen Golf GTE, plus other VW Group cars like the Cupra Formentor SUV.
The Cupra Born is arguably the first electric hot hatch to be mass-produced, and it’s off to a good start because it’s heavily based on the Volkswagen ID.3. Cupra has added plenty of sporty touches inside and out, though, including eye-catching copper trim and Alcantara suede trimmings.
First up is a 201bhp version with a 7.3-second 0-62mph time and a 260-mile range. Cheaper versions are coming, and we’re also due to get two hot e-Boost versions later in 2022. These will post faster 0-62mph times, and should make the Cupra Born even better to drive.
The Tesla Model S isn’t just a sports saloon. It’s a car that in its most potent guise will out-accelerate anything else you can buy new. With a 0-60mph time of just two seconds (yes, you read that right), the new 1,006bhp Model S Plaid outguns nearly all existing supercars - including the Bugatti Chiron. The standard car may have been on sale for a number of years now, but the Model S continues to be a game-changer.
Lesser models are available, and all are capable of more than 350 miles on a charge; ‘Long Range’ models currently offer a range of 412 miles. Tesla also operates a network of super-fast chargers, called Superchargers, which we think are the best chargepoints around.
The Model S bristles with technology, most of which is operated through a huge touchscreen with an always-on internet connection, which means software updates are continually downloaded. There are masses of space inside, and there’s a second storage space under the bonnet because there’s no engine.
Although the Tesla Model X was arguably the first electric performance SUV, plenty of rivals are now lining up to take a slice of the same pie. The Jaguar I-Pace not only undercuts the Model X quite considerably, but it can also manage around 300 miles on a single charge.
It also lives up to Jaguar’s sporting heritage, thanks to a power output of 396bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 4.8 seconds. All this performance comes with a spacious interior and two boots, as well as the ability to glide silently past a traditional fuel station. The I-Pace is far from the only luxury electric SUV on sale but the Jaguar is still the best choice for keen drivers.
The Audi e-tron GT is a more relaxing alternative to the Porsche Taycan, designed to suit those who prefer to spend their days cruising down the Autobahn rather than hugging the apex on a race track. Both cars share the same underpinnings and have similarly striking exterior design, with the Porsche having more sports car cachet than the Audi. That’s not to say the Audi’s a slouch, however. The standard e-tron GT can manage 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds, while if you’re REALLY in a hurry, the high-performance RS e-tron GT cuts that time to a mind-boggling 3.3 seconds.
All Audi e-tron GT models come with Quattro all-wheel-drive, (one motor drives the front wheels and another powers the rears), which means the car grips much better than its two-tonne weight would suggest. The range is good too, with the standard car capable of 298 miles on a single charge. Starting from around £80,000, the e-tron GT costs about the same as four Audi A1 superminis. However, it justifies this price tag with an array of standard equipment such as 20-inch alloy wheels, leather sports seats and the brand’s slick 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster.
The Lexus LC is a stunning coupe that’s designed to cross continents with speed and style. In this respect, it rivals revered models like the Mercedes SL, Porsche 911 and Aston Martin DB11, but it’s also quite different for two striking reasons. Firstly, while the models mentioned above have styling influenced by heritage and past models, Lexus is a younger brand and the LC looks like a concept car you can buy.
Secondly, the LC is available either with a thirsty petrol V8, or as a hybrid – with the latter boasting a 3.5-litre petrol V6 combined with an electric motor. Badged LC 500h, the hybrid version manages around 34mpg and CO2 emissions of 184g/km. The acceleration backs up the arresting design, too, with 0-62mph taking five seconds, with a top speed of over 160mph.
The fabled Mustang badge on an electric SUV? Purists were up in arms, perhaps unsurprisingly, when Ford announced the Mach-E, which sits alongside the existing V8-powered Ford Mustang coupe and convertible. Ford has attempted to give it a coupe look, a bit like the Tesla Model Y, and the interior is clearly inspired by Tesla too. There’s a vast portrait touchscreen that controls most of the car’s functions but a few more buttons scattered around - so it should be fairly easy to operate the Mach-E.
The most efficient Ford Mustang Mach-E is the extended-range rear-drive model, capable of nearly 380 miles on a charge, while the all-wheel drive version trades some range for a five-second 0-62mph time. The GT model goes from 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds.
Porsche has truly embraced plug-in hybrid technology, as evidenced by the fact the Porsche Panamera Hybrid isn’t just one model, but an entire family within the model line-up. This spans from the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid all the way to the Turbo S E-Hybrid – the most powerful Porsche Panamera in history. Fitted with a 4.0-litre V8 and electric motors, the Turbo S E-Hybrid can hit 62mph from a standstill in 3.4 seconds and not stop accelerating until it reaches 192mph. Those are supercar figures and there’s a six-figure price tag to match.
Running costs should somewhat ease the burden though, because the 4 E-Hybrid can return 113mpg and emits 56g/km of CO2, while the faster model returns 97mpg and emits 66g/km. Head into the city and you can drive in all-electric mode for up to 31 miles.
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