Owning a car from a premium brand is an aspiration of many, and why not? There are many brands that have cultivated a rich heritage over the years, some even more than a century old, making them highly desirable. However, while there are many who would like to acquire a new vehicle from an iconic or cherished brand, there is also the question of environment-friendliness. Many new car buyers are more conscious about what sort of car they’d like to buy and how efficient it really is. They’re ready to put down good money for something from a brand they aspire to buy into, but it simply needs to be a more environmentally-responsible vehicle. Hybrid cars are just the answer.
Why Choose Hybrid?
There are several new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, that offer not just zero-emission mobility but also a conventional engine and the ability to fill up a fuel tank to tackle any range anxiety that may present itself. Particularly, PHEVs make sense for those not ready to take the all-electric plunge. They allow a fair amount of pure electric driving as well as a hybrid operation where the combustion engine supports the battery pack by acting as a generator. What’s different is that the battery pack is of a lower capacity – just about 10-15 kWh with about 20 miles of range – as opposed to fully electric cars that easily pack thrice that capacity to offer more range.
Other Hybrid Benefits
That also makes PHEVs lighter than a fully electric car, but with the added range from the combustion engine kicking in whenever needed. They’re effectively two powertrains in one car, and that makes life easier in more ways than one: by allowing it to be a zero-emission vehicle in city limits and restricted zones as well as a long-range hybrid for longer distances or inter-city trips. There are also additional possibilities. One is saving battery range for later. The other: use both, the electric motor and combustion engine, together for maximum performance should the situation demand; and it’s a significant amount, more often than not.
10 Plug-In Hybrid Models from Luxury Brands
A lot of people aspire to own premium brands but are also very environment-conscious. Now, nearly all the biggest names offer a plug-in hybrid version of their popular luxury models which are a compelling proposition for someone looking for a solution that’s both powerful as well as efficient. This article is an overview of 10 of the most outstanding plug-in hybrid models from top luxury brands.
Audi Q5 55 TFSIe Quattro
The four rings have a capable plug-in hybrid mid-size SUV in the Q5 with the 55 TFSIe Quattro all-wheel powertrain. The PHEV Q5 packs a 2.0L four-cylinder TFSI turbo-gas engine with an electric motor powered by a 14.1-kWh battery pack. The combined output is 362 hp with 369 lb-ft of peak torque. With that output harnessed by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that drives the all-wheel-drive system, it’s enough for a 0-60 mph sprint of just five seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. The Q5 55 TFSIe Quattro offers a credible mix of sporty performance and refined luxury with everyday functionality. There is a selection of trims available, too, starting with the Premium that’s priced from $52,900.
Audi A8 L 60 TFSIe Quattro
Few luxury saloons can match the refinement and performance of a specially-engineered Quattro-drive Audi A8 long-wheelbase. Space, comfort, and technology are complemented by an effortless performance that can see cross-country miles dismissed with ease. Powering the A8 L 60 TFSIe is a combination of a 3.0L V6 TFSI turbocharged gasoline engine and an electric motor with a 14.1-kWh battery backing up the system. A combined 443 hp and 516 lb-ft are on offer, distributed to all four wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission. That’s good for a 4.9-second dash from 0-60 and a top speed of 130 mph. The all-electric drive is also possible at speeds of up to 84 mph. This PHEV A8 L starts from $94,000.
BMW X3 xDrive30e
A compact crossover, or Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW’s terms, makes sense for the demands of an active urban lifestyle every day. The X3 combines compact proportions with a sporty, aggressive design language and an efficient but potent plug-in hybrid driveline. A 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine with 184 hp is paired with an 80-kW (109-hp) e-motor, powered by a 12-kWh battery pack, and drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The maximum combined output is 292 hp and 310 lb-ft/420 Nm of torque. The X3 xDrive30e is rated at 60 mpge, but it can also sprint from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and get up to 130 mph when needed. The asking price is $48,550.
Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
A signature American luxury brand, Lincoln has evolved to incorporate a plug-in hybrid full-size SUV in its ranks, providing a serious choice to those seeking a seven-seat luxury vehicle that is more considerate of the environment. The Aviator Grand Touring combines a battery-powered electric motor with a 400-hp 3.0L twin-turbocharged gas engine for a combined 494 hp and a hefty 630 lb-ft. Power is delivered to the road through a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Even so, this Aviator is rated at up to 58 mpge and starts at $68,800. Air Glide Suspension with adaptive damping and Road Preview are also available as an option. A more exclusive Grand Touring Black Label trim is also on offer from $87,800.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 350 e
The mid-size SUV from the three-pointed star brand combines all their virtues of prestige, style, and refinement in a package that doesn’t mind any sort of road surface and yet offers incredible efficiency. The GLC packs peak combined output of 315 hp and 516 lb-ft, thanks to the powertrain using a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder gas engine paired with a potent electric motor hosted between the engine and the nine-speed automatic transmission. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system ensures maximum grip and stability in the most challenging situations. It can get from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Hybrid driving sees a fuel efficiency of up to 70 mpge. The electric motor and 13.5-kWh battery pack allow for pure-electric, zero-emission driving. The GLE 350 e starts from $51,900.
Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
The Cayenne is now in its third generation and has evolved into a proper modern-day all-road ready SUV that balances luxury and sportiness. Another ace up Porsche’s sleeve is the Cayenne E-Hybrid variant with one of the most potent yet efficient drivelines on offer. With 455 hp and 516 lb-ft of peak torque thanks to a 3.0L V6 turbocharged gasoline engine and 100-kW e-motor combo, the Cayenne can go from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds and on to a 157 mph top whack. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic driving a four-wheel-drive system. It can also deliver as much as 46 mpge and travel for up to 13 miles on electricity alone. Even as a plug-in hybrid, it’s quick, and it’s available from $81,800.
Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid
Want a Porsche but not an SUV body style? The Panamera may be just the answer. The all-new, four-door, executive sports saloon model brings an even more efficient and powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain. The 2.9L twin-turbo V6 engine is paired with the 100-kW e-motor to deliver a combined 552 hp and 553 lb-ft – among the most powerful PHEV drivelines on sale today. That sort of output sees a dash from 0-60 dismissed in a supercar-like 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 185 mph. The eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission drives a fast-acting four-wheel-drive system. It’s available from about $110,000. Long-wheelbase and Sport Turismo estate body-styles are also on offer.
Range Rover Sport P400e
In terms of refined capability, few do it as well as Land Rover. The Range Rover Sport is a slightly tauter version of the Range Rover but compromises on its abilities. The Sport P400e powertrain combines a 296-hp 2.0L four-cylinder gas engine and a powerful 103-kW e-motor for a peak of 398 hp and 472 lb-ft. It can go from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and get up to 137 mph if needed. It can travel for up to 19 miles on electricity alone. Moreover, the low-down torque from the e-motor and its inherent capabilities make it formidable off-road. The Terrain Response system actively adapts it to deal with snow or slippery surfaces, mud, and ruts, or gravel as required. The price of the P400e Sport starts from $83,000.
Volvo S60 T8 eAWD
The Swedish major is another brand with a focus on an electric future and a growing electrified line-up. Volvo’s sport-luxury sedan is as efficient as it is quick and comfortable. The S60 plug-in hybrid packs a potent turbocharged 2.0L gasoline engine that’s paired with a 65-kW e-motor. The combined 385 hp and 472 lb-ft allow a dash from 0-60 mph of just 4.3 seconds. The onboard battery pack is good for an electric-only drive range of up to 22 miles. The drive modes on offer – Pure, Hybrid, Power, AWD, and Off-Road – tailor the car to effectively tackle all road conditions. The S60 T8 eAWD is available in a sporty R-Design trim or a luxurious Inscription trim, both priced from $56,045. A more potent 400-hp Polestar Engineered version with high-performance components is also available.
Volvo XC60 T8 eAWD
Yes, another Volvo, there’s a lot more of them in this hybrid space too. The XC60 is a mid-size SUV that adds a more ready-for-anything character to the package. The refinement and attention-to-detail are all present and the well-finished interior with a slew of driver assistance features are available. The XC60 T8 combines a powerful turbocharged 2.0L gasoline engine with a 65-kW e-motor. The combined 385 hp and 472 lb-ft make for brisk performance and the intelligent drive system allows for a good economy too. The XC60 T8 eAWD can deliver up to 57 mpge, while getting up to 19 miles of pure-electric range. The drive modes actively adapt their character to suit the driving situation. Furthermore, several variants and packages are on offer starting from $54,595.
With concerns for the environment growing, one sure way to reduce our consumption is to literally reduce fossil fuel consumption. Using plug-in hybrids by charging them every now and then, or even overnight, ensures that they travel mostly on electric power and reduce fuel consumption by half in some cases. Clean power generation and reduced gas usage are small steps to a cleaner future.