Hybrid Sports Cars (And Why They Rule)
Everyone who’s anyone knows hybrid sports cars are some of the highest performing cars you can buy. So, when you picture a hybrid car, why is the first thing that usually comes to mind a Toyota Prius?
You know the one. It’s like grey or silvery blue rocking both an Uber and a Lyft sticker in the windshield.
Ah yes, the Toyota Prius is a real piece of crap. It is the perfect car for people who view driving as nothing more than an inconvenience. Also, it’s really ugly. Like really ugly. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
The issue with this is that hybrids are a real step up in automotive performance that’s been ruined by Toyota. That’s right I said it. I mean it too.
I don’t mean that how it sounds though. I don’t mean Toyota makes bad hybrids. The fact is they have done much to bring hybrids to the average consumer and have been refining the hybrid platform for a long time.
In a lot of ways, if you want a good hybrid Toyota is probably at the top of your list.
Despite hybrid vehicles existing for almost 100 years prior to the Prius hitting the market in 2000, the Prius has remained the de-facto representative of hybrid vehicles topping sales consistently. It really does have a winning combination…it’s just really hard to look at…and drive.
Hybrid Cars Pros and Cons
Hybrid cars are pretty much offered across every automotive segment now ranging from extreme economy to extreme luxury. For good reason too, let’s take a look at some of them.
Hybrid Car Pros
- Good fuel economy – Obviously, hybrid cars get better gas mileage.
- Reduction of fuel dependency – with better fuel economy comes less dependency on oil and fossil fuels.
- Retain value better – Hybrids tend to stay in demand and hold their value better on average than their non-hybrid counterparts.
- Purchasing incentives – Federal tax credits still exist for plug-in hybrid cars and some states offer pretty valuable credits.
- More advanced construction – Hybrid vehicles often use lighter construction materials to increase efficiency as well as smaller, lighter, engines. In addition, some deploy some special technology like battery charging through energy created while braking.
Hybrid Car Cons
- More expensive – On average, hybrid variations are more expensive than their non-hybrid counterpart.
- Cost of ownership – Hybrids can be more expensive to repair and in some cases can be harder to get repaired outside of a qualified dealership.
- Lack of performance – Hybrid cars are usually focused more on fuel economy than driver engagement. This is one of the biggest issues facing hybrids today and one reason why electric vehicles are taking over hybrids in the market.
Let’s be honest, no one really wants to advertise that they drive a Prius, or any other hybrid for that matter. Right now, it’s all about electric vehicles and so the hybrids have taken somewhat of a backseat. But why?
Although hybrid sales have increased over time since 2014 they have been on the decline despite rising fuel costs. One argument you hear a lot is that companies like Tesla are producing sexier, better performing fully electric vehicles.
While that may be true, that alone doesn’t account for the steep decline in Hybrid sales the last few years.
The most obvious reason people don’t buy hybrids is that they suck. Auto manufacturers have long been so overly focused on the utility of squeezing out every last mile per gallon that they have overlooked the true potential of Hybrid technology.
It’s a shame too because as consumers we pay the price for that over-generalization. The fact is hybrid cars far outperform their petrol relatives and even their electric counterparts.
Hybrids are a true winner in performance, and if you don’t believe me just check out Formula 1; like the incredible Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid. But incredible hybrid technology isn’t just reserved for Formula 1 cars: It also has a growing place in some of the most incredible supercars. Here’s a list of some of the fastest hybrid sports cars on the market:
For those not in the know, Mclaren has a long history of racing pedigree. The British auto manufacturer was founded by Formula 1 driver Bruce McLaren. The team went on to win a ton of big deal races.
In 2012, they pulled the curtain off the McLaren P1, which basically left everyone in the room wondering why any of the other car companies bothered to show up.
The P1 is powered by a twin-turbo 3.8 L V8 petrol engine married to an electric motor. The result? A mind-bending combined 903 hp—That’s roughly the same amount of horsepower the space shuttle Voyager used to launch into orbit.
I’m not kidding you—this car bends time it’s so fast, with a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds and 0-124 mph time of 6.8 seconds. The car is so fast the company actually advertises a 0-186 mph in 16.5 seconds, giving Usain Bolt a run for his money.
Of course, speed isn’t the only factor here: The car is a true hypercar made of all the things you would expect, like carbon fiber and other space age material. The body is comprised of only 3 panels to reduce weight, and even the glass is thinner to reduce weight. All in all, it’s pretty sweet.
Porsche 918 Spyder
I remember when I first saw this car and had a deep, hard realization that I’m far too poor for my taste. The car is beautiful and pays homage to the Porsche Carrera GT in a way that really butters my egg roll.
Powered by a 4.6L V8 tied to two electric motors, the 918 pushes out a pretty refreshing 887 hp. That’s enough power to push the 3,600-pound car from dead ass stopped to 60 mph in a fairly decent 2.6 seconds. You read that correctly: 2.6 seconds.
That’s so fast that it qualifies as a spiritual experience.
In true Porsche fashion, there are a ton of awesome variants of the vehicle, all of which look amazing. At the end of the day, it’s a true plug-in Hybrid with an all-electric range of 12 miles and an EPA rated 67 miles per gallon (when you don’t have the pedal pressed to the floor). I know -It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Look I hate Ferrari, but this is technically a Hybrid. Unveiled in 2013, the LaFerrari boasts a pretty legit setup with a potent 6.3 L V12 tied to a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) for a combined output of roughly 950 hp. So I guess it’s pretty cool.
That much power is shoved to the ground pretty remarkably, and as such the car screams from 0-60 in 2.4 seconds. So you could legitimately have a fart that lasts longer than this car’s rush to 60 mph.
A claimed top speed of 217 mph and a host of track-ready equipment makes the car an amazing machine, unfortunately, built by the douchiest company since Ed Hardy.
The Koenigsegg Regara
The Swedish power plant did it again with Regara in 2015 with this plug-in Hybrid. It’s a limited production car—80 Units to be exact—because the last thing you want is this crazy ass machine in the hands of a bunch of rich kids.
I can’t make this up, so prepare yourself for the stats on this thing. The car utilizes a 5.0 L V8 developed in-house that produces 1,100 hp on its own.
Then, that motor is greeted by not one, not two, but three electric motors that diligently add power before sending it to the wheels to arrive at a combined output of 1,500 hp. That’s enough power to open a portal into another dimension.
The Swedes are good people though and electronically limit the car’s top speed to a sluggish 255 mph. Thank goodness they picked a reasonable speed and not something outrageous.
0-62 happens in 2.7 seconds, 0-186 in 10.9 seconds and 0-240 mph (you read that right) in 20 seconds. That means it takes this car less time to rocket to 240 mph than it does for you to text your mom you love her one last time.
Hybrid Sport Cars
Now I know these are all in the millions of dollars, but this is going somewhere I promise. This list doesn’t even touch on the attainable high-performance Hybrids like the BMW i8 or the Panamera S Hybrid.
The point is that hybrid technology is good. Not just for the environment, but also for the auto enthusiast.
So why aren’t there more hybrid sports cars?
Well, the truth is, there’s a ton of hybrids, but just that many hybrid sports cars.
The problem is that the majority of hybrids aren’t for people who are auto enthusiasts. But imagine the possibilities… what if Ford created a Mustang GT mated to an electric motor? What if the Corvette sported a KERS tied to its already insane power plant? What if the VW Jetta tied a diesel motor to an electric engine?
These types of cars would change the game.
So all of that leads to one question – why don’t manufacturers make more hybrid sports cars?
At the heart of that issue is consumer response. As consumers, we continue to buy hideous hybrids…and then complain about how hideous hybrids are.
We yearn for better gas mileage, but we rush to the dealership to buy SUVs and large trucks.
One issue we face as enthusiasts is that we are few and far between. Most people look at a car, kick the tires, and hope to hit 200,000 miles before getting an oil change.
The Best Hybrid Sports Car for Enthusiast
Currently, there isn’t really a true “hybrid sports car” platform for Motorsport enthusiast, but we are seeing an awesome trend perking up.
When I was 17, I had a Mustang GT with a 4.6 L V8 that put out 305 hp. Now they are putting down more than that with a 4-Cylinder motor that gets 30 mpg. This isn’t such a bad thing, but it feels so wrong.
One reason it feels bad is that these small displacement platforms are being put into vehicles that traditionally were known for the opposite. A 4-Cylinder, where a V8 used to be, feels sacrilegious.
This is where auto manufacturers have a totally untapped market. Put these small displacement motors into smaller, lighter, sporty cars and you have a nice recipe for some very cool, and very responsible cars.
The Scion FR-S almost achieved this, but the problem is that it was the same car that three other automakers produced. The exact same.
The other issue is that it was slow and really didn’t drive well. So in hindsight maybe it didn’t almost achieve this.
The Mazda MX-5 is right on the edge of greatness with an already winning platform for every day driving and track enthusiasts alike. Add in another 100 hp, and you might even get the attention of the Mustang crowd.
This should be the focus for the future of small displacement, forced-induction motors.
That still leaves a lot of amazing platforms on the market. If automakers provided a Hybrid variant of their already-good sports cars (rather than giving us a cheesy attempt at a “car of the future”) we would bite. I know I would.
No one would argue with a Hybrid BMW M3 or M2 variant. Imagine the power plant of the new Ford Coyote 5.0 V8 tied to an electric motor. Suddenly it’s a game changer for hybrids and auto manufacturers.
But automakers have a long history of making terrible cars that the public is either forced to buy or simply walks away from.
Remember the PT Cruiser?
This is a growing trend because by-and-large automakers are out of touch with their market.
When I bought my third Mustang GT, I learned from the salesmen that the number one reason people gave for shying away from a GT was fuel costs. You think Ford would learn something from that.
Their response? The 4-cylinder eco-boost. Yay.
We don’t want less performance: We want better fuel economy with the same performance. Hybrid technology can provide that for us, and we as consumers should embrace it (and auto manufacturers should create it).
Fortunately for us, there are solutions right now. The problem is they just aren’t well advertised.
So, for a list of the best performing hybrid cars check out this post: Best Hybrid Cars You Can Buy, and the next time someone talks crap on Hybrids, punch them in the face with this knowledge you just picked up.