Sometimes hybrid cars aren't all about fuel sipping, but using the power (and torque) electricity to dial up the performance of an automaker's hottest ride. We've rounded up a few of the best examples.
Infiniti's M Hybrid, for a while, had the distinction of being the "world's fastest-accelerating pure hybrid." According to the automaker, the 360 horsepower gas-electric hybrid will go from 0-100 in 11.54 seconds and run the quarter mile in 13.41 seconds. It was kind of a big deal. The car that Infiniti beat for its "world's fastest" claim was a Porsche Panamera S Hybrid, but the Germans were unfazed.
Porsche struck back with the 2014 Panamera S E-Hybrid. This new model is powered by a supercharged V-6 engine that is mated to an electric motor and boasts an enlarged battery pack with plug-in capabilities and increased electric-only range. It's also got cool green brake calipers. Total output of the hybrid system is an impressive 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque, which allows the E-Hybrid to hit 60 mph from naught in just 5.2 seconds.
Lexus did something decidedly "un-Lexus" with its 2013 LS 600h L flagship. The automaker fit the hybrid version of its LS sedan with an even larger engine than the nonhybrid in a bid for maximum power. With a 5.0-liter V-8 and its Hybrid Synergy Drive system working in tandem, total output is 438 horsepower and an unspecified amount of torque. (The gasoline engine is responsible for 385 pound-feet before the electric motor's torque is factored in, so the actual number's gotta be pretty lofty.) Those are nice numbers for bragging, but the Lexus' high weight and price keep it from being our favorite luxo-barge.
Porsche's Cayenne S Hybrid uses a variation on the theme established by the Panamera Hybrid. (Or maybe it's vice versa, I forget which came first.) It's got a 3.0-liter V-6 mated to an electric motor for a total output of 380 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque -- slightly less than the Panamera. Putting power through an all-wheel-drive system, the Cayenne S Hybrid hits 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, no small feat for a nearly 5,000-pound SUV.
Oh boy, another Porsche. Here's where we start to break from nice, white hybrids that happen to be fast and start to get into true hybrid supercars. The 918 Spyder is powered by a 608-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 engine and then adds two electric engines worth 127 hp on the front axle and 154 hp at the rear axle. Factor in the carbon-fiber chassis and body components, active suspension, PDK transmission, and performance-optimized Hybrid Race mode software and you've got a green car that will lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in an estimated 7 minutes and 26 seconds. Activate the Hot Lap mode that temporarily further hones the 918's edge to drop that estimate to less than 7 minutes and 22 seconds per lap. That's as fast as a C6 Corvette Z06.
Starting with a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine and adding a KERS electric motor, the McLaren P1 sends a total of 903 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque through its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Plus, well, it looks like that. Yum.
Its top speed is electronically limited to 217 mph and it will hit 60 mph in well under 3 seconds. Or you can plug in to recharge its electric motor in 2 hours and drive under full emissions-free electric power for up to 12 miles at speeds below 31 mph. I wouldn't, but you could.
The only thing more redundant than the Ferrari LaFerrari's name is its power train. Between the 6.3-liter V-12 engine and the 161-horsepower HY-KER electric motor, about 923 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque are being sent through this Enzo successor's seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Sometimes, a bit of redundancy can be good. Power flows to the rear wheels and propels this 2,767-pound chunk of carbon-fiber modern art to 62 mph in under 3 seconds, 120 mph in under 7 seconds, and onward to its top speed of over 220 mph.
I haven't even touched on the myriad aerodynamic and chassis innovations hiding in the LaFerrari's sculpted curves and angles. It's kind of a big deal.