Best luxury electric cars 2021
Our top picks for the best luxury electric cars in 2021, from Audi to Tesla
When the first truly modern electric cars were being released around a decade ago – such as the Tesla Model S in 2012 – manufacturers aimed their products mostly at wealthy buyers. This was because of the huge production and research costs of bringing out cars with the technology, which meant that high price tags were inevitable. Rather than cut back to offer cheaper cars, the models were tailored to the luxury market.
It proved to be a success, and while you can now buy many mainstream, cheaper cars with electric power, the market is now awash with luxury electric cars – and the benefits of electric power, such as the near-silent running and punchy performance, are well suited to luxury cars.
These models have a few things in common. Most luxury electric cars have stunning performance (a trend set by Tesla with outrageous 0-60mph times from most of its cars) and are very relaxing to drive. They're usually quite large, as they have big battery packs to allow for a long driving ranges. Rapid charging is common, as well as leather-clad interiors full of modern kit and huge touchscreen displays.
Read on for our picks for the top luxury electric cars for 2021, available now or coming very soon...
The e-tron was Audi’s first electric production car, and if it looks familiar, that’s because it’s closely based on the existing Q5 and Q7 SUVs. Inside, it’s unmistakably an Audi. Fusing the high-technology with the beautiful, it feels every inch a luxury SUV.
Power comes from electric motors on the front and rear axles, giving four-wheel drive and 302bhp – rising to 402bhp if you use the boost function that gives an eight-second burst of acceleration.This results in a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of around 125mph. The e-tron is capable of 150kW charging and has an official range of 248 miles. Read our Audi e-tron review.
Audi e-tron GT
The e-tron GT is only two letters away from the e-tron above, but it's a totally different car. For a start, it's not an SUV: rather it's a low-slung four-door coupe with a focus on performance and driver enjoyment. It has a lot in common with the Porsche Taycan (below), and thanks to its 295-mile range and maximum charging rate of 270kW, it can go from 10-80% charge in an incredible 21 minutes (where infrastructure allows).
The e-tron GT is great to drive, has a fantastic interior and is really comfortable – more relaxed than the Porsche, even. It's packed with technology and is one of the most exciting options in the luxury electric-car market. Read our review here.
The BMW X3 has been transformed into an electric car, and since that model was already a luxurious family SUV with a comfortable ride and plenty of space inside, the electric version is welcome. It's not the most exciting, nor the most powerful electric SUV around, but it's practical, well built and feel upmarket inside.
The iX3 uses a 282bhp electric motor fed by an 80kWh battery, driving the rear wheels. It has a range of 282 miles, which is on par with similar rivals, and can go from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, which should be punchy enough for most. Read our BMW iX3 review here.
The I-Pace's fun, dynamic driving experience has set the benchmark for luxury electric cars. It’s playful and agile, making it one of the most enjoyable electric cars to drive. Its styling, too, is a radical departure for the sporty SUV market, while the inside is every bit as slick as the exterior.
Performance is strong, with 396bhp from an electric motor on each axle. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 4.8 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 124mph. A 90kWh battery gives an official range of 292 miles, but expect closer to 230 miles in the real world. Read our Jaguar I-Pace review.
Lexus UX 300e
The Lexus UX was initially available only as a hybrid, called the UX 250h, but now there's an pure-electric version called the UX 300e. It has a range of 196 miles and a 201bhp electric motor drawing from a 54.3kWh battery.
It's good to drive and relaxing, with a high-quality cabin that's really well made. The powertrain is punchy but quiet, like the best electric cars, so this is a really good first EV from Lexus. It's also comfortable and spacious enough for a family, despite being on the small side for a luxury car. Read our Lexus UX 300e review.
The EQC is Mercedes’ first purpose-designed pure-electric car and one of its key selling points is its elegant interior, with a simple but sophisticated layout, a variety of tactile materials and a bonanza of technology.
The car's 80kWh battery gives it a range of 259 miles and with 110kW charging capability, it can go from a 20-80% charge in around 25 minutes. While it’s engineered more for comfort than fun (it’s supremely refined), with 402bhp and 765Nm of torque, it'll hit 62mph from rest in 5.1 seconds. Read our Mercedes EQC review.
Polestar, Volvo’s standalone electric performance brand, has launched the Polestar 2. It's a luxurious rival for the Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar I-Pace, and highlights include a vegan interior, phone-as-key functionality and an 11-inch touchscreen.
It uses two electric motors that combine to produce 402bhp and 660Nm of torque via four-wheel drive, giving a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds. An all-electric range of 292 miles is impressive, too. Read our Polestar 2 review here.
It may be expensive, but we reckon the Porsche Taycan is one of the best electric cars yet. Porsche’s first fully electric car features a 93kWh battery and is available in four guises: Taycan, 4S, Turbo and range-topping Turbo S. With 671bhp, the Turbo will hit 62mph in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 161mph. The Turbo S, with 751bhp, has the same limited top speed but will hit 62mph in just 2.8 seconds.
As you’d expect from a Porsche, the Taycan’s handling is sublime. As for range, it will hit between 256 and 279 miles depending on which model you choose. Like its Audi e-tron GT sister car, the Taycan is capable of 270kWh rapid charging, though you’ll struggle to achieve this in the UK. This allows it to charge from 10-80% full in 23 minutes. Read our Porsche Taycan review.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S has been around for a few years now, but it’s still the car to beat. The Model S Long Range has an incredible 400-plus-mile range, but there's a Plaid+ model that Tesla says can go over 500 miles and goes from 0-60mph in less than two seconds.
The Tesla Model S is spacious and luxurious, but we have a few concerns over the fit and finish - it's not up to the standard of some of the other brands here. Yet those performance and range figures are so good that it's impossible to overlook. Read our Tesla Model S review.
Tesla Model X
The Model X is Tesla’s luxurious sports SUV, but beneath the sci-fi styling is a car that’s very practical and spacious, with up to seven seats and both front and rear luggage compartments.
Yet despite its size and weight – the Model X weighs 2,300kg – it goes like a rocket. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes just 2.5 seconds in the Plaid version, which has a 340-mile range. The Long Range version has a range of 360 miles and can go from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds. Like the Model S, there are some quality issues, but the Model X is still a luxurious and desirable car. Read our Tesla Model X review.
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