The electric car segment is growing thick and fast with new models being added all the time. In fact, with this rapid rate of expansion, there are more options than eve...
The first electric or hybrid vehicles to spring to most people’s minds are likely the Nissan Leaf or the Renault Zoe, or perhaps a Tesla model. But believe it or not, some models can reach 0-60mph in times that will leave your jaw hanging on the floor. Also – not only can hybrid and electric sports cars deliver on the speed-front, but they’re better for the environment, too.
It seems something of a misnomer, the idea of an eco-friendly sports car. Yet engineers are finding clever ways to improve the technology of electric motors, as well as the output of hybrids. In years to come, we’ll certainly be seeing more electric and hybrid sports cars on the market. After all:
If high-performance sports cars aren’t your bag, but environmentally-conscious electric cars are, check out our list of The Best Electric Cars in the UK. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a sophisticated motor, see our pick of The Best Luxury Electric Cars.
Stylish? Check. Hybrids and electrics? Check. High-performing? Absolutely. Now read on for our top 10 eco-friendly sports cars.
Also known as the Acura NSX in America, the Honda NSX is a high-performing hybrid super-sports car that’s seriously powerful. It runs on a 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo engine generating around 500bhp. On top of that, it’s also backed up by three electric motors that help produce an acceleration of 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds and a blistering top speed of 191mph. Its total output as a hybrid is 573bhp, which gives you a picture of the kind of animal you’re dealing with. Surprisingly, the car’s easy to drive and well-balanced, as you’d want from a sports car. It’s also pretty comfortable for this type of vehicle, too.
The Tesla Model S in its regular guise would still make this list, with its quick 0-60mph in just 4.2 seconds. It also has a top speed of 140mph. Those numbers are incredible for an all-electric car, yet they get even better with the high-performance P100D. This range-topping model boosts acceleration to the eye-watering level of 0-60mph in a mere 2.5 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph. Add to that 381 miles of driving range and you have an incredible car that handles nicely and drives with bite. It only loses out to the Honda NSX because of that car’s ridiculous fun factor, but make no mistake – the Model S P100D is just as impressive.
One of the neatest-looking cars on this list, the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid astonishes with its futuristic curves and sleek body. It impresses even more with the power it squeezes out of a souped-up 1.5-litre three cylinder Mini Cooper engine. You get a quick 0-60mph time of just 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph. It’s a four-wheel drive as well, providing extra security when you need it. The ride is everything you’d want from a sports car – it’s balanced, the handling is responsive with good feedback and the brakes are solid. Overall, it’s a great car to drive. Soon, it’ll get even better with the upcoming BMW i8 Roadster model.
Like the BMW i8, the Lexus LC-500h is a very stylish car. Under its hood it also hides a hybrid engine and an advanced, innovative CVT gearbox. You get 295bhp from a 3.5-litre V6 engine and 177bhp from the electric motor, though the two working together only produce a combined 354bhp. Still, it’s plenty of power, rocketing the Lexus from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 155mph. Whilst the standard LC500 model and its gas-guzzling 5.0-litre V8 engine is certainly more impressive, the hybrid LC-500h is still a great car.
You get a choice of two models with the Porsche Panamera Hybrid: the entry-level 4 E-Hybrid with its twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine, and the higher-spec Turbo S E-Hybrid model that boosts performance with a 4.0-litre V8 engine. The E-Hybrid offers a remarkable performance, going 0-60mph in just 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 172mph. Unsurprisingly, the Turbo-S smashes that out of the park, going 0-60mph in a mere 3.4 seconds with a track-worthy top speed of 192mph. As you’d expect from a Porsche, both are joyous to drive. From the agile handling to the refined interior, the car really delivers.
Similar to the Lexus LC-500, the Lexus RC is available as the RC 200t petrol model or the RC300h hybrid. Again, like the LC-500, the petrol model offers the better performance, yet the hybrid still impresses. It comes with a 2.5-litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor and a CVT gearbox, which together produce 220bhp. It’s certainly not the quickest off the mark on this list, with its 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 118mph. However, it does provide a smooth ride and, typical of Lexus, the interior is refined and comfortable.
Production of the CR-Z ceased in 2016, so you’ll need to opt for a used model if you decide to buy one. The Honda CR-Z remains one of the most fun hybrid sports cars out there. Unlike other hybrids that plump for a CVT gearbox, the CR-Z is a rarity, opting for a manual one – this provides an extra layer of involvement. Under the bonnet, an electric motor assists the 1.5-litre VTEC engine for a combined 135bhp. Together, they provide 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds. That might not sound too amazing, but the car’s low-slung suspension makes it feel as though you’re gliding on the tarmac, and its nimble handling makes cornering a real joy.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is a hot hatchback hybrid version of the standard A3. It promises 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds, with low CO2 emissions of 37g/km, and excellent fuel economy at 166.2mpg. Like the A3, the Sportback e-tron features the same excellent build quality you’d expect from Audi and comes well-equipped as standard. As a five-door hatchback, it’s practical too, unlike some other cars on this list (such as the two-seater Honda NSX). Compared to the standard model, the hybrid also has softer suspension for a more comfortable ride. Whilst the handling isn’t as swift as it could be, the Sportback e-tron is still a top quality car.
You could well argue that the Tesla Model X is an SUV and not a sports car, so it shouldn’t be on this list. And yet, the P100D model boosts Tesla’s star vehicle into the stratosphere, with a 0-60mph speed of just 2.9 seconds. Plus, this power is all-electric. There are few cars out there that can deliver such a performance on an electric, hybrid or even a fossil fuel platform. The Model X’s top speed of 155mph isn’t bad either.
That’s right, the Tesla Model X was placed in front of the P1, but only because McLaren’s stunner is rather rare thanks to a limited build of units and a short selling window before selling out and being discontinued. To pick one up today will cost you around six figures, easily. Also, the McLaren P1’s still a bit of a cheat considering it’s a hypercar. Nevertheless, it shows you what a plug-in hybrid sports car can do – 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, a quarter of a mile in 9.8 seconds, and an electronically limited top speed of 217mph with an unlocked theoretical speed of 249mph!