Automakers have steadily been capitalizing on the green movement by introducing hybrid and electric vehicles into their lineups that break the mold when it comes to performance and amenities. When people think of fuel-saving, they often think of stripped-down, boring econoboxes that shun driver enjoyment in favor of practicality and fuel-saving. However, all that has changed.
There are now cars that can break into as low as the 3s range for 0-60mph times, while returning fuel-economy as high as 100mpg. However, none of this advanced technology comes cheap. There’s still a little ways to go before hybrid and electric vehicles are considered mainstream, and economies of scale will allow automakers to pass these savings along to consumers, but there’s no denying that progress is slowly being made.
In this gallery, we look at 15 fast, fuel-sipping vehicles that provide the thrills along with the thrift. There’s something here for everyone whether you’re a single driver looking for ultimate performance, or whether you need something practical to tote the family around during the week, but still want to have your fun on the weekend.
Green Machines don’t have to be boring. You can save at the pump, save the fun and still save the environment. Enjoy our list of 15 Fast Green Machines.
BMW i3The i3 is BMW’s first dedicated electric vehicle. It’s standout styling is the first thing to grab your attention. It’s composed of lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum with a low center of gravity for excellent ride dynamics. Power comes from a 170hp electric motor which reaches full charge in just 3hrs and gets 75-100 miles per charge. The i3 will hit 60mph in just 7.2s. You could add the range-extending gas engine option, but the extra weight hampers performance. A fun and sporty city driver.
Range Rover HybridThe Range Rover Hybrid deserves a special place on this list. SUVs and Fuel effeciency don’t exactly go together like peas and rice, but we’ll give credit where it’s due. Here’s a 335hp, gargantuan SUV that gets to 60mph in 6.9s, but at the same time, acheives a combined fuel economy of 44mpg. It’s everything that’s great about a Range Rover with none of the guilt.
KarmaThe sexy Fisker Karma has been a favorite of celebrities for a few years now. Leonardo DiCaprio picked one up in 2012 and Justin Bieber got one as a gift from his manager on his 18th birthday. What was all the fuss about? Well, for starters, there’s the 403hp hybrid setup with electric-only, gas-only, and hybrid modes. Then there’s the 6.3s 0-60 time with a combined fuel economy of 52mpg. Oh, and it has a range of 230miles. Did I mention the Karma’s sexy good looks?
BMW ActiveHybrid 7BMW completely revamped their ActiveHybrid 7 for the 2013 model year. The new powertrain uses BMWs latest inline-6 twin-scroll turbo paired with an electric motor. The gas engine contributes 315hp, while the electric motor adds 55hp and a heap of torque. The result is a 7 series that gets to 60mph in just 5.5s and travels on electric power alone up to 37hp if you step gingerly on the gas. It can also get up to 30mpg on the highway. Not bad for a luxury living room on 4 wheels.
Porsche Panamera S E-HybridPorsche’s Panamera S E-Hybrid combines the balls out performance of a 911 with the people moving practicality of a station wagon and adds in the fuel effiency of a Prius for good measure. Stomp on the gas and 60mph will come up in just 5.5s. There are several different driving modes for you to choose from, based on your mood. You can even drive it for 22 miles in pure electric mode, or go all gas if you’re not feeling particularly green. With it’s tree-hugging nature and 168mph top-speed, there’s something here for everyone.
Infiniti M35hInfiniti calls it’s M35h, “The Fastest Accelerating full-hybrid on the planet”. It’s a lofty claim and we’re not entirely sure that it’s still true. However, we are 100% sure that this is one great performer. The 3.5 liter V6 engine blended with a 50kWh lithium battery pack, generates 360hp, gets the M35h to 60mph in 5.2s, and delivers up to 32mpg on the highway. Add to that a modest price and generous luxury appointments and Infiniti has a winner.
Lexus LS 600hThe Lexus LS 600h should probably have an asterisk beside its entry on this list. While it is “technically” a hybrid, you wouldn’t know it by it’s lackluster 20mpg fuel economy. However, what it lacks in fuel efficiency, it makes up for in performance with a 438hp 5liter V8 and a 0-60mph time of 4.6s. Not to mention, it has the best interior this side of Rolls-Royce. Yeah, we’ll give it a free pass.
Audi R8 e-TronAudi’s R8 e-tron has been a long-time in the making, and unfortunately it’s still not ready yet. There are 10 fully-built, road-legal prototypes for the purpose of gathering data on electronics and battery performance. It’s got two motors, one, 190hp motor powers each wheel for a total of 380hp. The R8 e-tron gets to 60mph in 4.2s and it’ll get a range of 100 miles or so from each 14hr charge. Here’s hoping it’ll be ready soon.
Venturi FétishHave you never heard of the Venturi Fetish before? You wouldn’t be the first, but here are some quick stats. It was developed in Monaco and has a 300hp 220kW electric motor that’ll get the Fetish to 60mph in 4s flat. The battery accounts for one-third of the Fetish’s 1225kgs. The huge battery gives it a range of up to 210miles. Are you sold? One more thing – it costs about $400k. Not exactly the special of the day.
Mercedes Benz SLS AMG E-CellIf the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell is any indication of what an electric car future would look like, then sign us up. You get a 525hp, 649lb-ft of torque SLS that can hit 60mph in 4s, gives you multi-variable driving programs, and up to 130 miles of range. Enough said, we want one! What’s that you say? I need to pay a $50-$100k premium over the regular SLS and I also must be handpicked to buy one? Uh, we’ll just take the poster for now. Thanks.
Tesla Model STesla’s Model S picks up where the Roadster left off. It offers the same supercar performance, but adds 4-doors and an easier-to-swallow price tag. If you want 0-60mph in just 3.9s while achieving 300miles per charge, then look no further than the Model S. The first thing you notice is the non-existent torque curve. You literally get 100% of the shove right from 0 rpm. There’s no other feeling like it, but 416hp and 443lb-ft of torque will do that. Choose the P85+ version for ultimate sports car performance complete with luxury sedan amenities.
BMW i8BMW’s revolutionary plug-in hybrid goes by the name of i8. It comes with a gorgeous exterior complete with swan-wing doors and an aggressive supercar stance. The i8’s luxurious interior lets you ride in style. Meanwhile the 357hp gas + electric motor combo can catapult this car to 60mph in a smoking fast 3.8s, all while pulling out a highly amazing 94mpg. Color us impressed.
Tesla RoadsterTesla’s original electric vehicle. The Roadster was the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first to travel more than 200miles per charge. It currently gets 244 miles per charge, can accelerate to 60ph in 3.7s, and has won a slew of design and breakthrough awards since it’s introduction. The Roadster is no longer in production, but fear not…another Tesla is here to carry the torch.
Jaguar C-X75One of the saddest days in 2012 was when Jaguar announced the cancellation of its C-X75 supercar. The world will never see, in full production, Jaguar’s 890hp hybrid super car that could compete with the best from McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche. The C-X75 is estimated to hit 60mph in 3.3s, the quarter-mile in 11.2s, and on to a top speed of 220mph. Fast company indeed. The silver-lining in this dark cloud is that Jaguars of the future will almost assuredly benefit from the technology and design derived from this hypercar beast.
Porsche 918 SpyderThe absolutely stunning 918 is the king of hybrids. This mid-engined plug-in hybrid is powered by a 4.6 liter V8 engine that develops 608hp, and 2 additional electric motors that bring it’s total output to 887hp. Performance is astonishing. The 918 will canon itself to 60mph in just 2.2s and head on to a top speed of 214mph. Range is 420 miles on a single charge. The 918 recently became the first series production street-legal automobile to break the 7 minute barrier for lapping the Nurburgring…wow!