Gas vs Hybrid vs Electric Performance Car Showdown: Which One Wins in 2020?
When all three are so darn good, it ain’t easy to choose.
Now that electric vehicles (EVs) are capable of driving several hundred miles on a single charge and hybrid systems are being used to not only bump fuel economy but also make performance vehicles even faster, it’s a good time to look at how they each stack up against the good ol’ internal combustion engine. For the sake of the test, some of the greatest examples from each should be used for representation: why not the Mercedes-AMG GT63 S, a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, and a Polestar 1?
Luckily, that’s the exact lineup Autocar used to measure the performance, and potential, of each powertrain type.
The Mercedes is massively quick, sounds incredible, and has room for five people with all of their gear. That’s a solid equation, so what’s the problem? With a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 as the only source of power, the AMG GT 63 S is about as future-proof as a Diner’s Club card (they do still exist). Pair that with the AMG’s 17 mpg combined fuel economy rating and it simply thumbs its nose at all of the next-gen efficiency standards.
Porsche made big waves in the automotive world when it announced the Taycan super EV last year, claiming a zero-to-60 time of just 2.6 seconds in top-trim Turbo S spec thanks to 750 battery-sourced horsepower. Those are big numbers, all achieved on electric power, but the Taycan’s range suffers from its focus on all-out speed, only totaling 192 miles—admittedly, that number does fluctuate a bit depending on who’s testing it. Even so, the car's performance is breathtaking and makes almost everything else on the road look like a horse and buggy.
Finally, Polestar incorporates the strengths from ICE and EV methods with its beautiful touring car, the Polestar 1. It’s slower than both the Porsche and the Mercedes, but it’s more flexible than the other two because it can operate on fuel, battery, or both, which massively increases its range. Its hybrid powertrain includes a turbo- and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder which, when combined with two electric motors, is good for 600 hp and 737 pound-feet of torque. It might not win in a no-holds-barred drag race, but it’s an all-around player that takes a bit from both to create a more complete package.
In many ways, any of the cars and their respective approaches to everyday performance would be more than enough for a big chunk of the enthusiast population. That said, there’s little room for a gas-only V8 Mercedes-AMG brawler in the (hopefully) cleaner, gentler future. The Taycan’s range may be its biggest hurdle to cross, which could turn off buyers that aren’t steadfastly in the market for a Porsche EV, and the Polestar may be too much money for too little flash. All three are too expensive for the vast majority of car buyers, but that’s a given when you’re talking this level of luxury and speed.
We want to know: Which one would you choose? Do you want all-out power that rules now, future be damned, or do you want something that will look at home amongst the coming wave of EVs?
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