These luxury rides give new meaning to the phrase ‘clean driving record’.
With the launch of the original Prius, Toyota sent a message to the world: it was time for our automotive choices to take the environment into account. Hollywood responded, with many celebrities adopting the anonymous little eco-pod as a sort of anti-status symbol.
But that was then and this is now. No longer does green motoring require sacrifice; on the contrary, some of the best current choices for minimizing environmental impact come as well-equipped as the conspicuous consumption crowd.
If you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint while still leaving a memorable impression, here are three great choices that are both sustainable and memorable.
Tesla Model S P100D
If Tesla folded tomorrow, they’d still leave one of the most important game-changing legacies in the recent history of the automobile. Namely, they took the hair-shirt-and-Birkenstocks image of the pure electric vehicle and made it sexy. Suddenly, plugging a car into the wall no longer means it’s a glorified golf cart; suddenly, an electric car is the quickest four-wheeled machine in the world.
The latest party trick for Tesla’s mind-bending electric sedan comes by finding and selecting “Ludicrous” mode in the acceleration settings menu (yes, “Ludicrous,” like in the ’80s Sci-Fi flick Spaceballs). Doing so unleashes the P100D’s maximum performance from its dual motors, allowing a near-silent sprint to 100km/h in 2.7 seconds, and through the quarter-mile mark quicker than a Porsche 911 Turbo.
If the Model S is the electric age’s muscle car, then consider the BMW i8 to project the future for the hybrid sportscar. As BMW’s original mid-engine M1 supercar proved, maximum power isn’t everything—rather, balance is key.
To that end, BMW’s gorgeous, scissor-doored coupe is both a dagger-shaped statement of speed, but also a cohesive look at the future. Its 357hp drivetrain provides excellent thrust when needed, but it’s the carbon-fibre chassis and plug-in hybrid drivetrain that show us what BMW believes is the way forward.
In 1989, the original Acura NSX turned the automotive world on its head, sending Ferrari scrambling back to the drawing board. How had upstart Honda, best known for scrappy little front-wheel-drive cars, fielded a world-class supercar?
Time for Act II. After a long gestation period, Acura has a new NSX and it’s once again a world-beater. This time, it’s a hybrid, providing ferocious twin-turbocharged power, mid-engined balance, and whisper-quiet all-electric power to sneak out of town while the neighbours are still sleeping. Yes, it’s a Honda hybrid, but that doesn’t mean it can’t bring the thrills.