The best hybrid sports cars to buy

Want a car that combines strong power and performance with reduced running costs? These hybrid sports cars could fit the bill

James Allen
May 19, 2022

The main appeal of a hybrid setup in a car is that, thanks to the assistance of a battery pack and electric motor, it has the potential to be far more economical than a regular petrol or diesel equivalent. For makers of sporty performance cars, though, a hybrid powertrain brings with it a different sort of benefit: rather than using electric motors just to improve the fuel economy, they can instead make these already quick machines even faster than they were before.

One way they do this is by increasing the amount of power a car produces, which in turn means it has the potential to accelerate faster and reach a higher top speed than a similar car that only uses a combustion engine. Unlike a regular petrol or diesel engine, electric motors produce all of their power almost instantaneously, which means they can also give a helpful performance boost - especially when the car’s conventional engine is spinning at lower speeds.

While hybrid technology has been used in mainstream cars for decades, it’s a fairly recent addition to sports car models. One of the earliest modern hybrid sports cars was the Honda CR-Z in 2010, and in 2013 came three ultra-powerful hybrid supercars: the Porsche 918, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari. In the years since, though, hybrid power has found its way under the bonnets of more sporty cars, and a slew of new hybrid performance cars is expected ahead of the UK’s ban on petrol- and diesel-only new car sales in 2030.

A number of hybrid sports cars have also now found their way onto used car marketplaces such as BuyaCar, so you too can experience the electrified performance of these cars at a fraction of their original purchase prices. We’ve trawled through the listings to bring you our picks of the best hybrid sports cars and performance cars that you can buy now.

Best hybrid sports cars

1. BMW i8

Our pick BMW i8 Coupe
Power 357-369hp
Used deals Limited stock

Even without the hybrid powertrain, the BMW i8 already had quite an exotic recipe. The car made use of advanced technologies like a high-end supercar-style carbon fibre chassis, and the striking design meant it had the head-turning looks of a supercar, too. Factor in the plug-in hybrid setup, which was still quite a novel feature for a sports car at the time, and the BMW i8 ended up being one of the most standout cars on sale in the UK upon its launch in 2014.

All versions of the BMW i8 used the same hybrid setup: a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine assisted by an electric motor, which allowed the i8 to accelerate to 62mph from a standing start in 4.4 seconds and reach a 155mph top speed. Specs remained consistent across the BMW i8’s production run, though updated models from 2018 onwards are a bit more powerful than before (with 369hp vs 357hp) and have a bigger battery that allows a longer electric driving range - up to 34 miles compared with 23 miles in early i8s.

BMW I8 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Cupra Leon e-Hybrid

Our pick Cupra Leon 1.4 TSI e-Hybrid
Power 245hp
Used deals Limited stock

It’s not just sports cars that are starting to embrace plug-in hybrid power: hot hatchback models are also getting in on the act now. One of the more recent arrivals on the scene is the Cupra Leon, which first went on sale in the UK in November 2020 - meaning a selection of used and nearly new examples have begun filtering their way onto used car marketplaces such as BuyaCar.

While it admittedly isn’t as punchy as the flagship 300hp 2.0-litre petrol models, the plug-in hybrid Cupra Leon e-Hybrid hot hatch is nevertheless still pretty quick. Combined, its 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor produce up to 245hp, which is quite a lot for a five-door family hatchback and is enough for the Cupra Leon e-Hybrid to achieve a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds.

The car also offers impressively low on-paper running costs: make the most of the car’s electric-only driving range of 36 miles - by making sure to charge the car regularly - and Cupra claims you’ll be able to return up to an impressive 217mpg. This should dramatically cut your fuel costs compared to conventional petrol equivalents.

READ MORE ABOUT THE CUPRA LEON

3. Lexus LC 500h

Our pick Lexus LC 500h
Power 464hp
Used deals Limited stock

Lexus builds hybrid versions of all of its cars, at the time of writing, and the range-topping Lexus LC grand tourer is no exception to that rule. As a result, should buyers prefer something a bit more frugal and less raucous than the petrol V8-powered model, there’s also a self-charging hybrid variant that combines a pair of electric motors with a 3.5-litre petrol engine.

Performance-wise, the hybrid model doesn’t quite have the outright oomph of the larger-engined V8 version, though it's still pretty speedy. Because Lexus cars have historically held their value well, finding a used LC 500h at a bargain price may prove difficult, though upmarket cars such as this often still lose value relatively quickly from new, meaning that an example with a few years and miles under its belt should be noticeably more affordable to buy than a brand new version.

LEXUS LC BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Peugeot 508 PSE

Our pick Peugeot 508 PSE
Power 360hp
Used deals Limited stock

In years gone by, Peugeot’s sportiest models traditionally wore the GTi tag. However, that’s now changed: going forward, these performance Peugeots will be branded Peugeot Sport Engineered (or PSE) models, and the first out of the box is the Peugeot 508 PSE family car, which is another petrol-electric model.

Essentially, the 508 PSE uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that you’ll find on the regular plug-in hybrid Peugeot 208, albeit with a little bit more power. Factor in the punchy electric motors, and the end result is a substantial 360hp power output, a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds and up to 26 miles of electric range. Because the Peugeot 508 doesn’t have especially strong resale values, it means even nearly new examples can be bought for a significant saving over their original £52,000+ starting prices.

PEUGEOT 508 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid

Our pick Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
Power 462-700hp
Used deals Limited stock

While Porsche has only recently begun making fully electric cars such as the Taycan, it’s had quite a lot of experience with hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars. It begun making hybrids with the launch of the Cayenne S Hybrid in 2010, and has since rolled out petrol-electric power across its Cayenne, Macan and Panamera ranges.

While the Macan and Cayenne are pretty sporty by higher-riding SUV standards, the lower-slung Panamera large, upmarket five-door hatchback is the one to go for if you want the most fun-to-drive hybrid Porsche. The 462hp Panamera 4 makes the most sense if you’re after a plug-in Porsche to use everyday, though drivers who crave even more power will be better catered for by the 560hp Panamera 4S and the ludicrously powerful 700hp Panamera Turbo S variants.

PORSCHE PANAMERA BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Skoda Octavia vRS iV

Our pick Skoda Octavia vRS 1.4 TSI iV
Power 245hp
Used deals Limited stock

In its regular guise, the Skoda Octavia makes a good choice if you’re after a versatile, roomy and good value family car. Should performance be a priority for you, however, you’ll be pleased to know a couple of sporty versions currently feature on the Skoda Octavia price lists - one of them being the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid Skoda Octavia vRS iV.

It uses a near-identical hybrid system to the one found in the previously mentioned Cupra Leon e-Hybrid (both Cupra and Skoda are sister companies in the wider Volkswagen Group), which means the Skoda Octavia vRS iV has a combined power output of 245hp and a swift 0-62mph acceleration time of 7.3 seconds. When you’re not in the mood to use all that performance, Skoda claims the Octavia vRS iV can achieve fuel economy of up to 235mpg and cover up to 37 miles of electric-only driving on a full battery charge.

SKODA OCTAVIA BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Golf GTE

Our pick Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI GTE
Power 245hp
Used deals Limited stock

For a very long time, the sportiest version of the Volkswagen Golf family car was the GTI hot hatch version, though things are a little bit different nowadays. Today’s portfolio of performance-oriented VW Golfs has grown to include a number of GTI-complementing derivatives, including a plug-in hybrid version called the GTE.

Volkswagen has been building the Golf GTE for a number of years now, so you’ll likely see two different versions when browsing used listings: one based on the now-discontinued seventh-generation VW Golf; the other derived from the eighth-gen model that’s currently in production.

The newer Golf GTE promises more power (245hp vs 204hp), better fuel economy and comes with more up-to-date technology, though the previous iteration is still a pretty brisk car and should be significantly less expensive to buy than examples of the latest Golf GTE. As a result, both versions can be good choices, depending upon how much you have to spend.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volvo V60 Polestar Engineered

Our pick Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered
Power 405hp
Used deals Limited stock

Before it became a standalone car company in 2017, Polestar was the in-house performance division of Volvo. Due to these close ties, Polestar has over the years prepared a number of sportier Volvo cars, with one of the most recent examples being the Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered.

Perhaps surprisingly, this Polestar Engineered model doesn’t bring to the table a huge power hike over the car upon which it’s based. At 405hp, the car’s plug-in hybrid setup is only 15hp more potent than the similar setup you’ll find on the regular Volvo V60 T8 - though both have a huge amount of power for a car of this size and weight.

Instead, Polestar has opted to focus on improving the car’s handling by fitting sportier suspension and lightweight wheels to improve cornering, and more powerful brakes that allow the car to slow down more effectively. If that sounds like your ideal spec, do bear in mind Volvo didn’t make many V60 Polestar Engineered cars, so they may not be the easiest to find on the used market.

VOLVO V60 BUYERS' GUIDE

*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.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Cars with top tethers for child seats

  2. Best cars for four car seats

  3. Cheapest five-door cars