The writing has been on the wall for some time now, gasoline engines either need to get cleaner or bolster their power delivery with battery technology, hybrids are gaining ground fast regarding both popularity and performance.
Supercars are exploiting battery/motor technology to better effect than every other segment, but that's not to say every day cars with a trunk full of batteries are going to be dull, far from it. It's just that going faster excites us more, call it a primitive instinct — speed equals danger, in turn releasing more adrenalin.
However, hybrid technology does more than just add power without increasing emissions, power delivery and torque curves are wider and flatter, turbo-lag has been virtually eliminated, and we still get a decent soundtrack to accompany V8s or V12s. It's a win-win scenario for gearheads and manufacturers.
10 Koenigsegg Gemera
At Swedish-based Koenigsegg, design, engineering, and manufacturing takes on a whole new level of can do. If there is a problem or reason why four-seater GT cars cannot be brutally fast and comfortable, you can be sure they will find a solution. Take the Gemera, touted as a luxury four-seater, rear seat passengers, too, get their own recliners.
Surprisingly, under the hood, there's nothing more worrying than a highly efficient 2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder motor sending 590 hp to the front axle. However, what you don't see are three electric motors, one per rear wheel and a third mated to the internal combustion engines' crankshaft, in all producing up to 1700 hp with a claimed top speed of 249 mph.
9 McLaren P1
Hot on the heels of McLaren's comeback 12C supercar, designer Peter Stephenson created the awesome P1. Under the skin, both share a carbon fiber monocoque chassis and engine set-up, albeit in the P1 running a higher boost and using a mild hybrid system.
The similarities end there, in place of the 12Cs almost boring driving experience, the P1 is a full on hypercar, demanding total concentration to extract the most of its 903 hp 3.8-liter turbocharged V8. Boosting output, McLarens proprietary E-motor can be operated manually by its driver or left to its own devices, eliminating turbo lag.
8 Acura NSX Type S
Dead and buried for a second time, Acura's stunningly competent NSX, despite remedying its predecessors faults, has been killed off prematurely. At its core, a die-hard mid-engined supercar utilizing a hybrid power train capable of holding its own against anything the Europeans build.
Badge prestige more than likely has a say in the NSXs dwindling sales, gearheads are not easily fooled by a Honda/Acura badging exercise. At a lower price point, using the Type S as the sole model would undoubtedly have been more successful, going out with a bang, Acura tuned the NSX's 3.5-liter hybrid powertrain to 600 hp.
7 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4
It seems the Countach is making a comeback thirty years after production ended, unsurprisingly there have been some modern tweaks. Gone is the folded-edge Bertone-styled wedge that adorned many a teenage gearhead's bedroom walls, Lamborghini using a revised Sian FKP 37 as a starting point, grafting on styling cues from the original.
The Sian's hybrid 6.5-liter V12 is also retained, detuned to a mere 803 hp, all-wheel-drive is standard, naturally, as is Lamborghini's 7-speed semi-automatic transmission. Mixing things up a little in the engine stakes, the return of Lamborghini's in-house designed supercapacitor replaces conventional batteries, adding the benefits of less weight and faster charging times.
6 Ferrari 296 GTB
Gearheads would have to look back to the late '60s to find another V6 powered Ferrari, the 296 GTB like the SF90 moving to smaller more efficient engines and hybrid battery/motor set-ups. Defining where the 296 GTB fits in the current line-up, V6s aimed at the lower end, leaving premium Ferraris for the time being equipped with eight and twelve cylinders.
Crazily, moving to a smaller engine displaces Ferrari's outgoing F8 as the best entry level supercar, the 296 GTB with fewer cylinders, less weight, and 819 hp lapped Fiorano 1.5-seconds quicker than its predecessor.
5 Hongqi S9
China is a manufacturing powerhouse, the chances are you're reading this now on a phone, laptop or tablet built at one of Foxconn's massive factories. Cars are a different matter, for years Chinese carmakers merely copied foreign brands, dodging copyright claims left right and center, home-grown designs never making it off the drawing board.
Until now, the unfortunately named Hongqi S9 promises to deliver supercar performance that should have Ferrari worried. Under the hood, a 4-liter twin turbocharged hybridized V8 pushes out 1391 hp, with Hongqi claiming a top speed of 250 mph. And in case you're thinking it's just a concept, we wouldn't be so sure, plans to assemble the S9 are well advanced with a factory in northern Italy the most likely setting.
4 Mercedes-AMG One
Quite simply, taking a world championship winning Mercedes F1 car's drive train and energy recovery parts and cramming it all into a two-seater super coupe resulted in the eagerly anticipated Mercedes-AMG One. One could easily be a nod to its F1 origins, or simply the German carmaker referencing its status among other supercars.
What you get, aside from a fantastically styled, aerodynamically tweaked body, is the full Brixton AMG-based engine and transmission set-up comprising four electric motors, six cylinders and around 1000 hp. Unlike its F1 relative, the One is also a PHEV, although we'd expect the engine's energy recovery systems to be more than capable of keeping the batteries topped up.
3 Polestar 1
Moving upmarket with a premium brand name doesn't always work, Honda tried and failed with Acura, but in the case of Volvo and Polestar the results speak for themselves.
Polestar's success was near guaranteed, already well-established as Volvo's in-house tuning division, making the transition to high-end luxury hybrids was easy. Managing to be both discreet and beautiful is an achievement in itself, but It's how it drives that makes the Polestar 1 standout. Luxury coupe meets super-sedan, combining triple electric motors and a turbocharged 2-liter engine to produce 619 hp in a Volvo capable of sixty in under 4-seconds.
2 Land Rover Defender P400e
The day Land Rover announced the Defender was no more caused a bit of an upset, in production since 1948, coveted by farmers, armed forces and gearheads who like to get off the beaten track, Defenders have been used on every continent in some remote cases the first automobile locals had ever seen.
In 2020 the Defender was back, more Range Rover like in appearances backed up with a new ground-busting chassis and powertrain set-up. Usually adding a hybrid option is purely for fuel efficiency, in the Defender more torque boosting off-road capabilities.
1 Toyota Prius
Millions of Uber drivers can't be wrong, the Toyota Prius the might be a little dull in the looks department, but it's the best-selling hybrid of all time. Introduced back in 1997 utilizing a 1.5-liter gasoline engine backed up by a single electric motor, both paired to a common CVT transmission. Widely accepted as the first mass-produced hybrid, but is it?
If Ferdinand Porsche was still with us, he might beg to differ. Pre-dating the Prius by nearly a century, Lohner-Porsche's Mixed Hybrid was the first recorded production ready hybrid using two electric motors with a gasoline motor recharging its power cells. Unfortunately, the arrival of Ford's model T killed sales after 300 deliveries.