Electric sports cars

Think electric cars can't be sporty? Think again, as electric cars are becoming increasingly fast and engaging to drive

Andrew Goodwin
Jan 31, 2021

When most people think of an electric car, they imagine a sluggish eco-box ambling from one charger to the next, but the reality is a new breed of EVs that offer sports car performance without the pollution.

Consider that new petrol and diesel car sales will be banned in the UK from 2030 and you can expect plenty more electric sports cars over the coming decade. As sensible plug-in cars like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are converting more and more drivers to electric power, a different type of electric car is encouraging keen drivers after something more sporty to make the switch.

Electricity is a wickedly potent means of propulsion. While a petrol engine needs to suck, squeeze, bang, and blow to produce its power - offering different amounts of shove at differing engine speeds - an electric motor can create its maximum power in an instant.

The most powerful and expensive version of Tesla’s Model S can get from 0 to 60mph in well under 3 seconds, despite it having four doors and a large boot. For a bit of context, that’s faster than a similarly sized BMW M5, and it’s actually a bit quicker than a McLaren 570S supercar.

While electric motors and high-voltage batteries enable astonishing acceleration, they make a car heavy too. This can blunt how a car drives, and fast electric cars are often criticised for feeling weighty and not as agile as other fast cars. This is all changing rapidly, however, as manufacturers race to find innovative ways to make electric sports cars the bedroom poster cars for a future generation.

1. Porsche Taycan

Best electric sports car for real-world performance

Porsche Taycan list price from £72,850*
Used deals Limited stock
0-62 mph 2.8 seconds
Official range 300 miles

There haven't been many bigger stories in recent years than the launch of the Porsche Taycan - the esteemed sports car manufacturer's first electric model. As controversial as its first SUV, Porsche's Taycan has proved nay-sayers every bit as wrong as its Cayenne did years ago.

For a start, the Taycan offers up to 750hp in the Turbo S, giving it overtaking punch that feels like teleportation compared with combustion-engined rivals. But, it's not just impressive in a straight line, because Porsche has managed to give the two-tonne Taycan communicative steering and the feeling it's welded to the tarmac in corners.

As you'd expect, its interior is also incredibly well done, with a low seating position and a novel curved instrument display boasting crisp graphics. If you need more space, there's even the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo estate, with a bigger boot and a more rugged look.

2. Tesla Model 3

Best electric sports car for company-car drivers

Tesla Model 3 list price from £42,990*
Used deals from £46,850
Monthly finance from £0*
0-62 mph 3.1 seconds
Official range 360 miles

Tesla has become the world's most famous EV manufacturer, and its Model 3 broke pre-order records when it was announced. Following on from the hype created by the Roadster, Model S and Model X, the Model 3 was the first affordable Tesla most buyers could afford.

And in Tesla world, affordable doesn't mean slow or boring. Even the entry-level Standard Range Plus version has a 5.3-second 0-60mph time that blows away most petrol and diesel rivals. Upgrade to the Performance model and its 3.1-second acceleration benchmark is enough to see most supercar owners shy away from a drag race. Simply push the accelerator down to the carpet - at a safe test track of course - and all-wheel drive means the Model 3 will launch itself towards the horizon with almost no fuss.

So many company-car and private buyers are being won over by its charms, that it even spent some time at the top of European sales charts in 2021. Zero tailpipe emissions means it won't cost business drivers as much tax as traditional rivals.

3. Jaguar I-Pace

Best electric sports car for SUV lovers

Jaguar I-Pace list price from £65,195*
Used deals from £41,999
Monthly finance from £0*
0-62mph 4.8 seconds
Official range 292 miles

If you'd rather sit with your derriere a little higher off the tarmac, the Jaguar I-Pace ticks all the boxes. It's electric, feels more like a sports saloon to drive than an SUV, and looks fantastically stylish too.

With 400hp and a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds, it's plenty fast enough for virtually any driver, and while a few SUV's like the Tesla Model X Plaid are even faster off the marks, none can match the all-round driving feel of the Jag. The British manufacturer is masterful at making its models steer and handle beautifully, even on pothole-strewn UK roads.

As a result, the I-Pace feels smaller and lighter than it really is. Yet, thanks to its increased ground clearance, it can even partake in some mild off-roading across fields and through surprisingly deep water - with no fear of electric shocks.

4. Audi e-tron GT

Best electric sports car for technology

Audi e-tron GT list price from £81,200*
Used deals Limited stock
0-62 mph 4.1 seconds
Official range 298 miles

Not only is it an all-electric muscle car killer, the Audi e-tron GT is also achingly attractive. Taut lines, cutting-edge LED lighting and a wide nose all give the impression of propelling the German brand into the future.

The fact it's also based on the same technology as the Porsche Taycan should also tell you all you need to know about its performance. The range-topping RS e-tron GT has 640hp with 'overboost' - a temporary surge in power to make acceleration even more potent.

Few mere mortals will approach the limits of its grip, and technology like four-wheel steering makes the five-metre-long Audi feel like a smaller sports car from behind the wheel.

5. Mini Electric

Best electric sports car for hot hatch fans

Mini Electric list price from £26,000*
Used deals Limited stock
0-62 mph 7.3 seconds
Official range 145 miles

It might take double the time of some cars on this list to get to 62mph, but tell that to the grin on your face. For fans of cheeky performance hot hatchbacks, the Mini Electric is a riot. Not only does the instant response of the 184hp electric motor give it snappy acceleration around town and on your favourite B roads, it also has Mini's famous go-kart handling.

Wheels pushed out to each corner, taut suspension and a low-slung battery pack all add up to a car that barely leans in corners, instead gripping like a slot car. It's as much fun as the petrol Cooper S, and serves up electric thrills in a familiar package.

A range of 145 miles might not seem like too much, but this is a car designed for a short commute and fun blasts, rather than sitting on the motorway. We reckon most Mini Electric owners will also have another car, or possibly an SUV, sitting on the drive - but they could end up grabbing the Mini keys more often than they anticipated.

6. Tesla Model S

Best electric sports car for super-saloon drivers

Tesla Model S list price from £74,000*
Used deals from £0
Monthly finance from £0*
0-62 mph 2.3 seconds
Official range 405 miles

Tesla's first model might be advancing in years, but it shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, most rivals still haven't caught up with its incredible performance or range figures. With a huge 100kWh battery pack, the Long Range Plus model can travel up to 405 miles on a single charge.

Its capacity also means the Performance version can get from 0-60mph in 2.3 seconds in 'Ludicrous Mode' without draining the battery too quickly. In 2020, an update added the aptly named 'Cheetah Stance', which puts the car and suspension into the best setting for a quick getaway.

Not content to stop there, Elon Musk's carmaker is launching an even-faster Tesla Model S Plaid. With three electric motors adding up to 1,020hp it promises a two-second 0-60mph time and 200mph top speed. Ludicrous indeed.

7. BMW i3

Best electric sports car for urban driving enthusiasts

BMW i3 list price from £33,805*
Used deals Limited stock
0-62 mph 6.9 seconds
Official range 190 miles

It's hard to believe the BMW i3 was first launched in 2013, because it still has a unique and somewhat futuristic design. It was also so far ahead of its time, and has been updated enough times, that its age shouldn't be of any concern. The i3 is a great choice for EV motoring, especially in cities and suburban areas.

Seek out the BMW i3 S, and it's also surprisingly sporty. Its electric motor is upgraded, cutting its 0-62mph time to a lively 6.9 seconds, and it's worth noting the i3 is rear-wheel drive, so you don't have to worry about the front wheels spinning away power.

Further upgrades for the S version include wider tyres that are more performance focussed, along with rear wheels pushed a bit further apart to help stability in corners.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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