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.
Top 10 Best hybrid and electric sports cars:
1 – 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.
2 – 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.
3 – 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.
4 – Honda NSX coupe
Despite its £130,000 price tag and immense performance, the Honda NSX has been conceived as the everyday supercar. That means it’s easy to drive when you want a relaxed commute, while its petrol-electric hybrid powerplant is rated at 565bhp, offering the potential to accelerate from 0-62mph in around three seconds. Like most cars of its ilk, the NSX allows you to tweak various settings to make the drive sportier or more comfortable. But whatever the setting, the four-wheel-drive system provides a huge amount of grip and the steering is wonderfully direct. If you’re looking for a commuter car and a weekend track toy, the Honda NSX will fit the bill with its Jekyll-and-Hyde character.
5 – Porsche Panamera hatchback
We’re between Panamera hybrids at the moment. The new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid will be hitting showrooms in April, armed with 462bhp. That’ll make the petrol-electric Panamera capable of 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds when using the car’s launch-control system. Official fuel consumption is rated at 113mpg, and because it’s a plug-in hybrid, it can manage between 15 and 31 miles on electricity alone. And because it’s a Porsche, you can bet on sublime handling as standard. If you can’t wait that long, then consider a nearly-new example of the old car. Called Panamera S E-Hybrid, it’s capable of 22 miles of electric-only motoring and Porsche claims 91mpg is possible. Like the new car, the old S E-Hybrid is London Congestion Charge exempt. Nevertheless, whether you choose the old car or wait for the new one, it certainly won’t come cheap – the latest model starts at almost £80,000.
6 – Volkswagen Golf GTE hatchback
The Golf GTE is positioned as the eco-friendly alternative to the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI. While it’s not quite as much fun as a GTI (because the extra weight of the batteries dulls the handling) a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds means it’s no slouch. The connection between the GTI and GTE is clear, with very similar bodystyling, and the same tartan interior and ‘golf ball’ gearknob. Mechanically, things are very different, of course: a 1.4-litre petrol engine combines with electric motors to produce 201bhp. The car’s electric-only range is rated at 32 miles and VW claims average fuel consumption of 166mpg and CO2 emissions of just 39g/km – securing road-tax and congestion-charge exemption.
7 – Porsche Cayenne SUV
To describe a two-tonne-plus SUV as a sports car might seem like a bit of a stretch, but the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid is fast enough and good enough to drive that it more than warrants inclusion on this list. Power comes from a 3.0-litre supercharged petrol engine and an electric motor, which produce 410bhp between them and get the S E-Hybrid from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds. Like many of the models here, the hybrid Cayenne can be almost any car you want it to be: in electric-only mode it’ll cover up to 23 fuel-free miles, while pressing the ‘Sport’ button unleashes maximum power to provide maximum enjoyment. Factor in four-wheel drive, a beautiful interior and SUV practicality and you’re left with a car that leaves few boxes unticked. CO2 emissions of 75g/km mean the Cayenne S E-Hybrid just sneaks into London Congestion Charge exemption, too.
8 – Lexus RC coupe
The Lexus RC is a luxury coupe for people after something different. It’s not as obvious a choice as the BMW 4 Series or the latest Audi A5, and nor is it as good to drive. Go for the RC, however, and you’ll have a genuinely distinctive-looking four-seater coupe with one of the nicest interiors around – another aspect that helps it stand out from its more staid rivals. There’s a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine available, but the petrol-electric hybrid 300h is a better choice thanks to its reasonably palatable 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 113g/km; these ensure low road tax and company-car obligations, if not exemption from the congestion charge. While the RC is a little underwhelming on the road in terms of both speed and involvement, it’s undoubtedly a sleek and hugely capable cruiser.
9 – Mercedes C-Class saloon
Although it’s the most economical model in the Mercedes C-Class range (officially returning 134.5mpg), the plug-in hybrid 350e is also one of the fastest. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor produce 275bhp between them, meaning 0-62mph can be seen off in under six seconds. With air suspension as standard, the 350e is also genuinely comfortable on any road; it’s ultimately a better cruiser than it is a driver’s car, but the 350e provides more than enough thrills for most. Low CO2 emissions mean you won’t pay a penny in road tax or the London Congestion Charge, while company car tax will be as low as it can possibly be.
10 – Infiniti Q50 saloon
If you’re in the market for an executive saloon and the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class seem too obvious, consider the Infiniti Q50. It’s handsome, well built and feels bang up-to-date thanks to its twin infotainment screens, while on the motorway and around town the Q50 impresses with a relaxed and quiet nature. Things are less rosy on country backroads though, as the steering feels inert and artificial. There are a few engine options with the Q50, but the hybrid is perhaps the most interesting. It sits at the top of the range, and can be ordered with rear or four-wheel drive; power comes from a 3.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, which produce 359bhp between them to dispatch with 0-62mph in just over five seconds. That means the Q50 hybrid focuses on performance rather than economy, so it’s curiously positioned compared to most petrol-electric cars – another reason why it’s a great choice if you’re after something unconventional.