Monday, August 18, 2014


Did you know that Hybrid cars haven't always been cool?  it's true, in fact, there was a time when the 'hybrid' tag described a fairly dull-to-drive segment of the industry. That's no longer the case, as there are now a fair number of cool hybrid cars, vehicles that offer intriguing driving dynamics, outstanding performance, or at the very least attractive styling that places them above more pedestrian options. You'll still usually have to spend more than you would on a Prius to get behind the wheel of a cool hybrid car, and most of these models aren't focused exclusively on efficiency, but each shows how the hybrid market has expanded since those dark early. 

The 2015 BMW i8 is a game-changing plug-in hybrid that manages to strike a near-perfect balance between performance and efficiency. This sports car offers a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a single electric motor that split their output to the rear and front wheels, respectively. The all-wheel drive BMW i8 is shifted via a six-speed automatic transmission that manages its 357 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque output to allow it to hit 60-mph in 4.2 seconds. It also offers 22 miles of electric-only range and the kind of futuristic styling that wouldn't look out of place in the next Tron sequel. 

The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder takes the i8 concept to the next extreme, elevating itself to supercar status by way of its 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque when its hybrid drive system is being used to maximum capacity. The Porsche 918 Spyder features a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that's attached to the rear wheels, but there are also two electric motors that can kick in on each axle to up the ante to the near-1,000 lb-ft of torque plateau. A top speed of 214-mph is possible with the 918, and the car can even drive at 93-mph for almost 20 miles on battery power alone. When the car's lithium-ion battery pack is empty it can be plugged in to the wall and charged in as little as two hours. 

The two-seat 2014 Honda CR-Z hatchback is the only hybrid car you can get with a manual transmission, which scores it major cool points right off the bat. Designed to provide a sporty drive at an affordable price, the Honda CR-Z manages to land somewhere in the middle of frugal and fun with a chassis that is willing to twist and turn with the road ahead but an engine that isn't quite as responsive as it should be. 

The CR-Z is motivated by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that works together with a single electric motor to produce 130 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. A continuously-variable automatic transmission is available for those who don't want to shift the car themselves.

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