Best hybrid and electric sports cars 2021
The best hybrid and electric sports cars can be just as thrilling as pure-petrol supercars. These are the most exciting you can buy
Hybrid and electric sports cars are becoming increasingly common, as developments in technology allow manufacturers to harness more power and speed to entertain drivers. Hybrid technology especially is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible from performance cars: the addition of things like batteries, electric motors and regenerative braking is making desirable cars quicker, more economical and cleaner.
The latter point is perhaps the most important, ensuring that eye-catching sports cars can remain a feature on our roads as CO2 emissions become more of a concern. Electric cars are also challenging the benchmarks traditionally set by the supercar elite. Gone are the days of milk floats trundling along at walking pace: modern electric cars are naturally fast off the line, and the best equipped models are more than a match for combustion-engined Ferraris and Lamborghinis from a standing start.
So, which hybrid and electric sports cars are the pick of the bunch? Scroll down to see a handful of our favourites, including established models and cars that are due to arrive in the very near future...
Ferrari SF90 Stradale
The SF90 Stradale is the Italian brand's first-ever plug-in hybrid, sitting at the top of the range as a halo model with staggering performance and a hefty £375,000 price tag. It uses a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and three electric motors, plus an 8kWh battery; total power is an astonishing 987bhp, all put to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
As you'd expect, this massive power output equates to serious performance: 0-62mph takes just 2.5 seconds, with 0-124mph taken care of in 6.7 seconds. It's the most powerful V8-engined Ferrari ever, so it's fitting that it's best enjoyed on a race track. Read our full review here and check out news of the upcoming Spider convertible version.
The Porsche Taycan is the German manufacturer's first pure-electric car, and it's fair to say that it's hit the ground running: in its most powerful form – the top-spec Turbo S – the Taycan can hit 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds on its way to a dizzying top speed of 161mph. How? Two electric motors that combine to produce 751bhp in 'overboost' mode, that's how.
The performance is especially impressive given that the Taycan weighs in excess of two tonnes. It's so impressive, in fact, that in the 2021 Driving Electric Awards, we named the Taycan 'Best Electrified Performance Car'. Read our full review here.
As Volvo’s sporty, upmarket cousin, Polestar is building a reputation for producing exciting cars. The first of these was the Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid grand tourer with all the boxes ticked: handsome styling, huge performance and fantastic all-electric range from its 34kWh battery.
The 0-62mph sprint is over in just 4.2 seconds thanks to there being 601bhp and 1,000Nm of torque on tap, while a keen chassis helps to disguise the 1’s considerable weight. Polestar claims a 77-mile all-electric range for its first and only hybrid – the most of any plug-in hybrid currently on sale. However, with production numbers limited and prices starting at just under £140,000, you’ll have to be pretty lucky to get your hands on one. Read our full review here.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S isn’t a true sports car, but it’s still about as fast as anything else on the road today. Using Tesla’s fabled ‘Ludicrous Mode’ setting, the Model S is capable of 0-60mph in a savage 2.4 seconds, en route to a top speed of 155mph.
Its two electric motors – one of which is a ‘high-performance’ unit – combine to produce 751bhp; the same as you get in the Taycan and more than you get from most supercars. True, it's not especially agile around a corner, but in a straight it's line nothing short of astonishing. Read our full review here.
The hybrid Honda NSX produces 573bhp, the majority of which comes from its 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine. The rest is developed by three electric motors: one for each front wheel and a third for the rear axle, giving the NSX four-wheel drive.
This helps the handling enormously, providing lots of grip and making the NSX extremely fun to drive. It’s massively fast too, with a punchy 0-62mph figure of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 191mph. As a hybrid alternative to the supercar mainstream, it doesn't get much better. Read our full review here.
Lexus LC 500h
The hybrid version of the Lexus LC is slightly less of a dinosaur than its gas-guzzling, non-hybrid sibling: while the latter will return 24.4mpg from its 5.0-litre V8 engine, the former sees a much more reasonable 43.5mpg thanks to its 3.5-litre unit.
In conjunction with the electric motor, the LC 500h produces 354bhp, which translates into a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds. A cutting-edge platform and low centre of gravity make for superb handling, while the interior is one of the most luxurious and attractive on the market. Read our full review here.
Porsche Panamera Hybrid
Like the pure-electric Porsche Taycan above, the Panamera hybrid is a four-door 'supersaloon' rather than a pure sports car, but its still delivers monstrous performance, particularly in range topping Turbo S E-Hybrid guise. It produces 690bhp, thanks to the pairing of a twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine with a 134bhp electric motor. That gives the range-topper a 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed just 4mph shy of 200mph.
The mid-range 4S E-Hybrid puts out 552bhp and even the entry-level 4 E-Hybrid makes 456bhp, giving it a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 174mph. Read our full reviews of the standard Panamera hybrid and Sport Turismo 'shooting brake' estate version.
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