SPORTS Hybrid cars
Best SPORT Hybrid cars...
1. Honda NSX
Price£148,135 Fuel TypeHybrid
- Looks spectacular
- Hi-tech throughout
- Unintimidating yet stupidly fast
The Honda NSX is a direct rival to the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 Coupe and other less eco-conscious sports cars like the Audi R8, McLaren 570S and Porsche 911 Turbo. There’s no mistaking it for anything other than a top-end sports car, or some might even say a supercar, given the 3.3-second 0-62mph time and rather punchy near-£145,000 price tag.
The low roof, precise creases, aggressive stance and gaping air intakes all declare the NSX’s performance very clearly, and make it look appealingly futuristic, too. The interior styling flair also doesn’t disappoint.
Power is in plentiful supply, with 573bhp streaming from a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine (which accounts for 500bhp on its own) and three electric motors – one on each front wheel and one on the rear axle – to provide four-wheel drive.
2. Lexus LC 500h
...With stunning concept-car looks and thrilling performance, the LC proves ‘hybrid’ needn’t mean dull.
Price £78,150 - £90,385
Fuel Type Hybrid
- Good fun to drive
- Much more efficient than V8
- Best-yet Lexus CVT gearbox
The Lexus LC 500h coupe first saw the light of day as the stunning LF-LC concept car back in 2012, when it was one of the stars of the Detroit Motor Show. Although created at the company’s California design centre, the concept was part of the Japanese premium brand's project to inject a bit more fun and passion into its line-up.
Overwhelmingly positive response to the concept resulted in this LC coupe production version a couple of years later, and it now sits at the top of the Lexus line-up as a successor to the old Lexus SC. Under the spectacularly swoopy styling, it’s a traditional front-engined, rear-drive 2+2 seat coupe, and as such a potential rival for a range of conventional GTs including the Aston Martin Vantage and Porsche 911.
3. BMW i8 Coupe
Fuel Type Plug-in hybrid
The BMW i8 defined the plug-in hybrid sports-car class for several years, delivering striking looks and a thrilling drive.
- Efficient and fun
- Thrilling to drive
- Futuristic looks and style
The i8 highlights just how early BMW was to the plug-in hybrid performance-car market; it was launched in 2014 and yet there are still no directly comparable plug-in hybrid or electric alternatives. It remained in production until April 2020, with a few tweaks and improvements along the way, but was not directly replaced.
4. Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet
...Merc’s newest, most advanced gas powertrain, wrapped in a posh drop top.
After mulling through the details, it becomes apparent the E53 Cabriolet doesn’t have any direct competitors, especially now that the BMW 6-Series Convertible has gone the way of the dodo. And while it's hard to declare any car at this price point a value proposition, spending time behind the wheel of this sophisticated red hot rod is a joyous enough experience to warrant this car's high sticker price.
The E53 Cabriolet starts at $80,350
Thankfully, the days of expensive performance vehicles skimping on the safety tech is (mostly) behind us. The downside, as one may expect, is that most of the good kit is still optional. Standard fare includes the blind spot monitoring, LED headlights and taillights, and parking assist.
This may be a luxurious convertible, but remember, you’re buying this car for the performance first, and the upmarket comfort second. Think of the bigger 63 V8 as Thor’s hammer: tons of power, delivered in thumping booms. Meanwhile, the 53 is more like Ironman’s suit: sleek, futuristic, and controllable.
5. Peugeot 308 CC e-HDi
...Anyone expecting the new 308 CC to be a radical departure from the current model will be disappointed, but the revisions are generally pleasing and for the best. The CC looks better, and costs less than ever before, and although not the quickest, the e-HDi micro-hybrid engine offers impressive economy and efficiency savings. It also suits the 308's relaxed set-up, which is starting to feel a little dated compared to its rivals.
The visual tweaks to the front are particularly striking on the drop-top, and the slim new grille, redesigned headlights and the now obligatory LEDs all help smarten things up.
Inside it's much the same as before, but the real news is to be found under the bonnet, with the introduction of the firm's e-HDi micro-hybrid technology. Using a 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine and a super efficient stop & start system, the drop-top 308 CC can achieve 60.1mpg on the combined cycle, while emitting only 123g/km of C02.
The system has two super capacitors to give the main battery a helping hand when firing up the engine after a stop, and the net result is an incredibly smooth restart that's noticeably quicker and quieter than any other diesel we've tried.
6. GOLF GTE PLUG-IN HYBRID
..THE DIESEL cheating scandal has so far cost Volkswagen £18bn, and the bill could be three times that by the time all fines and compensation are paid. Yet today VW’s share price is approaching what it was before the revelation in 2015 that it had rigged its emissions figures. Sales of VW cars have overtaken those of Toyota and General Motors, and the company’s net cash pile is higher than it was before the crisis. Why? One reason is that the company’s deep pockets enabled it to weather a storm that would have killed off most rivals.
- ENGINE: 1395cc 4-cylinder, turbo petrol plus electric motor
- POWER: 201bhp
- TORQUE: 258Ib ft
- TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic
- ACCELERATION: 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
- TOP SPEED: 138mph
- FUEL: 156.9mpg
- CO2: 40g/km
- ROAD TAX BAND:Free in first year; £130 a year from second year
- DIMENSIONS:4270mm x 1799mm x 1457mm
- RELEASE DATE: On sale now
Another is that it repented early on and promised customers it would mend its ways. It embraced clean engine technology with the zeal of a reformed alcoholic, announcing 50 new electric models by 2025 from its main VW brand and its subsidiaries Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda.
7. Toyota Prius C
- One of the best real-world frugal runarounds
- Consumption claim is matchable in urban driving
- Decent comfort in different situations
- $1000 cheaper than before
- Well equipped
- Excellent fuel efficiency
- Improved ride comfort and steering
- Good interior packaging
- Cheap servicing
Our key criticisms of the Japanese brand’s smallest and best-selling dedicated hybrid were that it was too expensive and had a flimsy interior, average steering, a harsh ride, a coarse and noisy engine, and a hybrid powertrain that was only slightly more fuel efficient than its most frugal petrol rivals.
Price: $22,990 and $25,990
8. Mazda MX-5 Miata
...Mazda has just revealed the details of its 2020 MX-5 Miata refresh for the European market, which - among other things - will make the company's i-ELOOP regenerative braking system standard across all models. The system has been around since 2012, using electricity generated under braking to boost fuel economy and free up engine horsepower, but as Road & Track notes, this marks its first-ever inclusion in the MX-5 Miata.
Mazda's decision to roll the feature out across the MX-5 model range in Europe reflects the realities of that market's sharply rising corporate average fuel economy and emissions standards.
Mazda said on Wednesday that the 2020 MX-5 Miata will now come with the automaker's i-ELoop system as standard. It's a neat twist on regenerative braking often found in hybrid, plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric cars. ... Beyond the 2020 model year, the MX-5 Miata remains in very good hands