Prestige hybrids: Luxury cars with electric boost

Not every hybrid has to be a Prius. These five luxury cars boast advanced hybrid power trains for excellent fuel economy, and in some cases, plenty of power.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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The inherent frugality of a hybrid car might make you think of a no-frills driving experience. But luxury automakers have learned the win-win nature of an electric-assisted power train.

Infiniti, Porsche, and BMW devised their own takes on the hybrid car, fitting these fuel-efficient systems into full-size sedans and SUVs. Lincoln borrowed a hybrid system from sister brand Ford for its own midsize sedan, the MKZ. And Lexus even transferred the Prius hybrid power train into a luxury hatchback.

BMW ActiveHybrid 7
With its 7 Series hybrid, BMW did not bother to downsize the engine, instead adding an electric-drive system. The result? About 50 extra horsepower and yet fuel economy in the low 20s, which is an impressive figure for such a big and powerful car. Read the full review of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7.

Infiniti M35h
When Infiniti turned its flagship sedan into a luxury hybrid, it angled for better fuel economy. The car uses a V-6 instead of the V-8 of the M56, but the electric drive system pushes its horsepower to 360, while keeping fuel economy in the high 20s. Read the full review of the Infiniti M35h.

Lexus CT 200h
With a 1.8-liter engine and electric hybrid system, the same as used in the Prius, the CT 200h is probably the least powerful luxury car you can find. Its 0-to-60 mph time may be slow, but over 40 mpg is nothing to sneeze at. Read the full review of the Lexus CT 200h.

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Based on the Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid may stretch the notion of luxury, but its hybrid power train delivers excellent fuel economy and drivability. Touches such as a THX audio system add to the pleasure of driving. Read the full review of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Porsche Cayenne Hybrid
Porsche chose its SUV for its hybrid, benefiting from the same electrically assisted power train used in the Volkswagen Touareg. This supercharged V-6 and electric motor combine for 380 horsepower, while getting fuel economy in the low 20s. Read the full review of the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these luxury hybrid cars head-to-head.