6. BMW iX3
It’s hard to believe it was way back in 2013 when BMW first launched its i3 electric model followed by the awesome-looking i8. It has been quite a wait, but finally the Bavarian carmaker has caught up with the pack by developing its first fully-electrified SUV.
We tested the iX3 Premier Edition Pro model and this car can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds and maxes out at an electronically-limited 112mph. But perhaps the most important figure with any electric vehicle is the driving range between charges. Under WLTP testing, the iX3 can deliver up to 279 miles.
The car was launched last year with a choice of trim levels called Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro, but these have recently been modified slightly to incorporate some mid-life changes to the latest X3. As a result, the new iX3 on sale from September 2021 is available in trims called M Sport and M Sport Pro.
5. Mercedes C 220 d AMG
The compact executive sector is awash with fabulous cars with the BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and Audi A4 being some of the big guns, along with the G70 from newcomer Genesis. But now the latest Mercedes C Class has proved it is more than capable of making its own mark.
We opted for the AMG Line Premium model powered by a 2.0-litre mild hybrid diesel engine with 48-volt technology and integrated starter motor to recoup energy under braking.
With a power output of 200hp and 440Nm of torque, the car can complete the 0-62mph dash in 7.3 seconds and maxes out at 152mph.
The Mercedes C Class will be facing off against tough rivals in the sector, but with its new looks and wealth of high-end technology, it could be the one to watch when the going gets tough.
4. Audi A5 Coupe
The Audi A5 line-up is extensive with coupes, cabriolets and sportback versions, as well as the powerhouse S5 and RS5 high-performance models.
We opted for the entry-level Sport version powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine delivering 150ps and 270Nm of torque. This car, which is the least powerful in the line-up, can reach 62mph from a standstill in 8.9 seconds and maxes out at 130.5mph.
The acceleration out the blocks is not blisteringly fast, but its certainly decent enough and the all-round performance also impressed. The seven-speed automatic S tronic gearbox is perfectly timed with steering wheel paddles so you can change gears manually.
3. BMW i4 M50
The i4 is BMW’s first fully electric performance model aimed at buyers searching in the midsize car sector. With gran coupe body styling, along with the company’s fifth-generation eDrive technology, it’s a car that boasts performance to match its dynamic appearance. The all-new BMW i4 line-up consists of the rear-wheel drive i4 eDrive40 with 340hp and 430Nm of torque. Both the Sport and M Sport can complete the 0-62mph dash in 5.7 seconds and the top speed is 118mph with a driving range of 367 miles. The pace out the starting blocks is blisteringly quick and this i4 M50 is the perfect example that electric driving can be just as much fun as traditionally-powered cars. In fact, with instant torque it is even more exhilarating.
2. Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo
Take the stunning Taycan coupe-styled saloon model and announcing you are going to bulk it up to sports estate proportions could be viewed as a risky move. But Porsche have got this car’s design spot on.
While the Taycan is still, in our opinion, the better looking of the two models, anyone with families or needing a little more practicality in their day-to-day vehicle, will be delighted with the versatility the Taycan Cross Turismo brings to the mix.
It’s also competitively priced until you start venturing into the options list by which time the cost can easily creep above the £100k mark.
1. Audi Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e S tronic Vorsprung
The Q3 TFSI e is Audi’s first plug-in hybrid model in the compact SUV sector and it is available in two body styles – standard SUV or Sportback which adds coupe styling to the mix.
There is a good selection of trim levels for each style and customers can also select from a number of optional extras that will see the price-tag rise quite steeply.
With an electric-only driving range of between 45 and 50 miles, this plug-in model is ideal for anyone with a short daily commute who may need to travel extra miles at short notice.
We opted for the range-topping Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e S tronic in Vorsprung trim level powered by a 1.4-litre 150PS petrol engine and an 85kW electric motor to generate an output of 245PS and 400Nm of torque.
This hybrid combination results in some impressive performance stats with the vehicle completing the 0-62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds and boasting a top speed that is limited to 130mph.