Luxury car brands are expanding hybrid options to drivers. The likes of Porsche, BMW, and Volvo now have plug-in hybrid cars that offer luxury in addition to the fuel-efficiency enjoyed by gas-electric powertrains. Edmunds ranked the five best luxury plug-in hybrid cars on the market. Here’s what you need to know about them.
1. Volvo S90 Recharge
Volvo’s S90 Recharge luxury plug-in hybrid sedan takes the top spot with an 8.1 out of 10 score. The Recharge T8 plug-in hybrid gives you a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder paired with an electric motor to produce at least 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. This plug-in hybrid car did get an upgrade in the middle of the year, though, and the Extended Range trims have more power – 455 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque – and 38 miles more range of all-electric power, up from 21 in the early models.
The S90 Recharge takes the top spot on Edmunds’ list for a host of reasons. Edmunds reviewers say the comfort inside the cabin is best-in-class and the impressive materials set it apart. The starting price is a lot less than others on the list; the top-level Inscription Extended Range trim is tens of thousands less than luxury plug-in hybrid options from the likes of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
A nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system pairs with premium Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins audio systems. A wireless smartphone charger, panoramic sunroof, integrated navigation system, and power window shades make the cabin comfortable for drivers and passengers. Volvo’s extensive list of driver safety aids come standard on every model, including road sign information, oncoming lane mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure mitigation systems.
The only knocks on the S90 Recharge are the ride, which can be firm, and the steering, which is a bit heavy. Reviewers note the touchscreen controls aren’t as user-friendly as other competitors, too.
2. Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid
Porsche’s Panamera offers a little something for everyone. There are wagon, hatchback sedans, or sedan options available. For the plug-in hybrid car segment, there’s 10 trims available:
- 4 E-Hybrid, 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
- 4 E-Hybrid Executive
- 4 E-Hybrid Platinum Edition
- 4S E-Hybrid
- 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
- 4S E-Hybrid Executive
- Turbo S E-Hybrid
- Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
- Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive.
Edmunds ranks the Panamera E-Hybrid just behind the S90 Recharge with a score of 8 out of 10.
All 4 E-Hybrid trims get 455 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged V6 engine paired with an electric motor. The 4S E-Hybrid trims have the same configuration but are tuned up to 552 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The Turbo S trims combine the hybrid technology with a turbocharged V8 to produce 690 horsepower and 641 lb-ft of torque.
Edmunds reviewers say the acceleration is brutally quick and despite the weight from the hybrid system, handling is impressive. All-wheel drive is standard, the interior styling and design are impressive, and the diversity in options makes it easy to find the most practical model for specific needs.
The price tag on the Panamera E-Hybrid trims is steep compared to many competitors Besides that, the only problem reviewers could find is space. There’s only two rear seats standard on models, with a middle seat an optional upgrade. The electric-only range is slightly less than competitors as well, ranging from 19 miles on the base 4 E-Hybrid to 17 on the top-level Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive.
3. BMW 5 Series Hybrid
BMW’s luxury plug-in hybrid offers a middle ground for plug-in hybrid car buyers in their fleet. It’s smaller than the 7 Series but bigger than the compact 3 Series. Edmunds rates it third on the list at 7.9 out of 10. There are two trims available: the base 530e and 530e xDrive. Both are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine paired with an electric motor to generate 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. All-electric range is 21 miles for the 530e and 19 for the 530e xDrive.
Edmunds reviewers say it drives like a standard gas-powered 530i with an impressive ride quality. Standard features include a sunroof, navigation, 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and driver safety aids like lane-departure warning and forward collision mitigation.
There’s plenty of packages available to upgrade the 5 Series Hybrid. The Premium package adds heated rear seats, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and a head-up display. The Executive package builds on that to offer sunshades in the rear and unique central console controls. The Driving Assistance Professional package is all about driver aids in adding lane keeping system, adaptive cruise control, and evasive steering assist. The M Sport package upgrades the styling with a sport steering wheel, a sporty exterior trim, and sport steering.
4. BMW 3 Series Hybrid
The compact sedan counterpart to the 5 Series, the 3 Series Hybrid offers luxury and fun behind the wheel in a smaller and less expensive package. It slots in just behind the 5 Series in Edmunds rankings with a 7.8 out of 10. There are two trims available in the base 330e and 330e xDrive. Both have the same powertrain as the 5 Series Hybrid model.
Inside the cabin, the 3 Series Hybrid offers a power sunroof, sport front seats, simulated leather upholstery, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system connected to 10 speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a navigation system. The only standard driver aid is forward collision mitigation.
Similar packages seen in the 5 Series Hybrid are also optional for the 3 Series Hybrid in the M Sport and Premium options. The Driving Assistance package offers blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and lane departure warning. The Dynamic Handling package has upgraded brakes and suspension as well as performance tires.
Though the driving dynamics are enjoyable and the engines are efficient, the lack of standard driving aids and subpar technology are why Edmunds reviewers knock the 3 Series down slightly.
5. Volvo S60 Recharge
Volvo’s S60 Recharge shares similar mechanics to the S90 Recharge. The same powertrains are available for the regular and extended range trims. The difference comes in the all-electric range. T8 Recharge models produced earlier in 2022 have 19 miles of range compared to 41 miles in the Extended Range models. There’s also more trim options in the Polestar Engineered and Polestar Engineered Extended Range. The former gets a boost in power with 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque and the latter has the same figures as the S90 Extended Range trims.
The luxury options mirror much of what’s available on the S90 luxury plug-in hybrid. Lots of standard safety features and plenty of comfort can make it a nice environment for passengers and drivers alike. But Edmunds reviewers do say the touchscreen interface can be frustrating and, like in the S90, the sport suspension can make for a slightly rough ride.
What are the best luxury plug-in hybrid cars on the market?
The luxury plug-in hybrid car segment is becoming more crowded as brands expand their offerings. Depending on what’s most important to you, there are great options to choose from.
If value is the top priority, the BMW 3 or 5 Series Hybrid is a great option. Though it’s down on power compared to others, it still offers plenty of fun and luxury at less than half the price of some high-end options. If performance is at a premium above all else, the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid takes the top spot. It’s hard to argue against a luxury plug-in hybrid producing nearly 700 horsepower. Both Volvo plug-in hybrid cars offer a great all-around choice with a price that isn’t steep but plenty of power and luxury to appeal to most drivers.