Think hybrid or electric cars, and exciting sleek sports cars, powerful SUVs and fast saloons might not spring to mind – but they are out there.
That means you can buy a pure driver’s car without having to compromise on running costs or environmental values. Of course, you’ll pay a premium for some of these models, but don’t forget that others are eligible for the government’s Plug In Car Grant and could be exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
The list below covers sports cars in all their forms. We haven’t just covered the curvy coupes that might immediately spring to mind, but anything that’s capable of putting a smile on your face.
So read on for our top 10 best electric and hybrid sports cars, saloons, hot hatchbacks and SUVs.
BMW i8 coupe
If you’re after a car that provides near-supercar performance allied to styling that delivers a knockout punch, you simply can’t look past the BMW i8. With carbon-fibre construction under that stunning bodywork, which has been shaped to cut through to its gullwing doors, it’s exactly the kind of car the future always promised – yet it’s available here and now assuming you’ve got the £100,000-plus asking price. Under that sensational styling sits the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as you’ll find in a MINI. Yet here, it’s tuned to 225bhp and paired with a 129bhp electric motor. It’ll dispatch 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and really does thrill when you throw it into some corners. Because it’s a plug-in hybrid, though, it can travel 23 miles on electricity alone and 134.5mpg economy is possible. Carbon-dioxide emissions of just 49g/km mean it’s exempt from both road tax and the London Congestion Charge.
Tesla Model S hatchback
The Tesla Model S isn’t just a sports saloon. It’s a car that in its most potent guise will out-accelerate any other model you can buy new. With a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds (yes, you read that right), the Model S P100D is fractionally slower to 60mph than the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder hypercars (both of which are sold out), making it the third-fastest-accelerating car ever. Lesser models are available, and all are capable of more than 250 miles on a charge (the 75 and 90D models can muster 304 and 346 miles respectively). Tesla also operates a network of superfast chargers, which are free for most owners to use. 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 the boot is large enough to allow the installation of two optional, if very small, rear seats. That means the Model S is also the fastest seven-seater money can buy.
BMW 3 Series saloon
The BMW 3 Series is here on account of a single hybrid version. The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid that benefits from years of development to make the 3 Series one of the finest-handling saloon cars on sale. Under the bonnet sits a 249bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor. That delivers headline figures of 148.7mpg and CO2 emissions rated at a London Congestion Charge-exempt 44g/km. With a full battery charge, which takes as little as two hours using a BMW I Wallbox, it’s capable of travelling around 25 miles on electricity alone. Once the battery is depleted, the engine will kick in, meaning you can complete your journey using petrol as you would in any other car. On a favourite back road, you’ll have the same fun as you would in any other 3 Series, thanks to balance and poise from the steering and chassis. The fact the batteries eat into the 330e’s boot space is the only thing that counts against it.
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