BMW iPerformance Series
📸: Photo courtesy TopGear.com
We haven't really provided a specific criteria for our Hot Hybrid category, other than the drivetrain, but what we're really talking about are cars that are fast (this is The Design of Speed, after all). And by fast, we should probably list a mph cutoff... let's say top speeds of at least 140 mph. The fact is, there are a surprising amount of vehicles available with hybrid drivetrains that can achieve these velocities... and some of them (unlike the supercars already covered) are actually affordable.
BMW deserves kudos for developing what may be the world's most extensive line of hybrids in their iPerformance series, which covers the 3, 5 and 7 series sedans as well as the X5 SUV. All of them, with the exception of the X5, are capable of top speeds of at least 140 mph (the 3 series must equipped with optional performance tires and a modified speed limiter to achieve this).
The 740e xDrive iPerformance shown above is equipped with a 2 liter twin-turbo inline 4 cylinder ICE mated with a electric motor, producing a combined total of 322 horsepower. It can hit a electronically-limited 155 mph.
📸: Photo courtesy AutoEvolution.com
The 2 liter twin-turbo 4 in the 530e iPerformance sedan is slightly less powerful than the 7 series engine; combined with its electric motor, it has a total output of 248 horsepower, and an electronically limited top speed of 146 mph.
📸: Photo courtesy DriversMagazine.com
The 330e iPerformance sedan shares the same powertrain with the 530e sedan, but it's top speed is limited to 140 mph (with the options noted above).
Combine these fine hybrids with the i8, the all electric i3 and the X5 iPerformance hybrid, and it is clear that BMW is taking electrical propulsion very seriously.