Fastest hybrid cars
Not so long ago, if you mentioned the words ‘hybrid’ and ‘car’ in the same sentence, you’d have conjured up images of many sedate, unremarkable vehicles you’d never look twice at on the motorway.
These days however, hybrids are at the cutting edge of car technology and the elite models are among the fastest cars in the world.
Thanks in part to the efforts of Formula One – which has pioneered hybrid and energy-recovery systems for several years now – engineers have worked out how to make performance cars even faster using hybrid technology.
So now, many of the quickest supercars and hypercars on the planet are often hybrid vehicles, using on-board batteries and regenerative braking in order to achieve their mind-boggling performance figures.
So which are the fastest hybrid cars we’ve ever seen? Take a look at these…
Lexus LC 500h: 155mph
Featuring a 3.5-litre petrol engine that produces 296bhp and an electric motor that churns out 177bhp, the LC 500h combines the two for a maximum output of 354bhp. This means 0-62mph takes 4.7 seconds, en route to a top speed of 155mph. And thanks to its concept-car looks (as well as its thrilling performance figures), the LC 500h is one of the best GT cars on the market.
BMW i8: 155mph
When it arrived on the scene, the BMW i8 defined its class, and in many ways it still does. Now available in drop-top Roadster form as well as in standard Coupe guise, it’s powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor for a total of 369bhp. 0-62mph takes just 4.4 seconds, while the 155mph top speed matches that of the Lexus LC 500h. Arguably it’s the economy that grabs the headlines, though: officially, the i8 can do 158.9mpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 42g/km.
Honda NSX: 191mph
The Honda NSX looks incredibly futuristic, and beneath the bodywork it certainly lives up to expectations: a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine delivers 573bhp, enabling a 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed just shy of 200mph. And with supercar performance comes a supercar price: a hefty £149,950.
Aston Martin Valkyrie: 200mph+ (not on sale yet)
The Aston Martin Valkyrie hasn’t actually hit the road yet, but when it does it won’t go unnoticed: the Adrian Newey-designed hypercar will house a 6.5-litre Cosworth V12 engine, with reports claiming it’ll produce an astonishing 1,130bhp. Aston Martin is aiming for a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1, meaning the kerbweight shouldn’t be much more than a tonne, and as a result the top speed should is expected to be well in excess of 200mph. Where exactly it’ll rank against the other fast hybrids in this list isn’t clear, but as one of the most advanced road cars of its generation, it’ll surely contest the top spot…
Porsche 918 Spyder: 214mph
Famed for its rivalry with the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder was considered a masterpiece of engineering when it was launched in 2013. Five years on, it still is: a 4.6-litre V8 engine (combined with two electric motors) produces a whopping 875bhp, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 2.6 seconds. The 214mph top speed is just behind the LaFerrari and the P1, but that counts for little in the real world. In fact, the 918 Spyder (kitted out with Porsche’s Weissach Pack) set the lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 6 minutes 57 seconds; it now lies fourth in the all-time production-car list.
McLaren P1: 217mph
McLaren might not have the pedigree of Ferrari or Porsche, but the British carmaker has established itself as one of the world’s elite performance-car manufacturers in a very short space of time. For a while, the P1 was the jewel in its crown: 903bhp from a 3.8-litre V8 engine, 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 217mph. It has rarity on its side, too: just 375 examples were built, compared to the LaFerrari’s 499-unit run and the 918 Spyder’s 918-strong production total.
Ferrari LaFerrari: 217mph+
Priced at £1 million, the Ferrari LaFerrari needed to deliver performance worthy of a seven-figure sum, and that’s exactly what it did. A 6.3-litre V12 engine assisted by Ferrari’s HY-KERS hybrid system produces 950bhp, as well as 970Nm of torque. The sprint from 0-62mph is achieved in 2.9 seconds, however top speed is technically not known: Ferrari would only confirm it’s in excess of 217mph; it’s thought that the real figure is much higher.
Mercedes-AMG One: 217mph+
Like the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the Mercedes-AMG One is another fast hybrid that’s still in the pipeline. It’ll be with us next year, though, bringing with it a 986bhp, 1.6-litre V6 hybrid engine derived from Mercedes’ Formula One programme. And no, that’s not a typo: one of the most advanced F1 engines ever really will be available in a road car. While it won’t quite be quick enough to win a Grand Prix, it won’t be far off, with a 0-124mph time in the region of under six seconds and a top speed in excess of 217mph. It’s not yet clear if the Valkyrie will be faster when it eventually joins the One on UK roads, but we’ll be all too happy to facilitate the twin test when the time comes…
McLaren Speedtail: 250mph
The McLaren Speedtail is set to arrive at the end of 2019, and when it does it'll push the benchmark for hybrid cars to new realms. The successor to the McLaren F1 will boast a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine producing 1,036bhp, with 0-186mph taken care of in a mind-blowing 12.8 seconds; a full four seconds faster than the P1. A total of 106 Speedtails will be built, priced at over £2 million apiece, and remarkably all have already been sold. Those lucky buyers will receive one of the few road cars in history capable of breaking the 250mph barrier, and McLaren has assured them that their exclusivity will be preserved by promising no convertible or GTR variants will follow.