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Out With The Tortoise Hybrid – In With Fast And Sexy

Who says hybrid cars can’t be fast and sexy?  Certainly not Volkswagen, whose hybrid Jetta just set the world record at the Bonneville Salt Flats after hitting 185.394 miles per hour.  The previous record of 167 mph was held by Porsche’s Panamera S Hybrid.  Toyota also made a bid for the world record, but topped out at a top speed of 135 mph with the Prius.

The Jetta hybrid that broke the record has a 1.4 liter turbocharged engine with 150 horsepower.  It averages 45 miles per gallon during regular road driving. But don’t count on getting the kind of varoom speed out of the production model Jetta hybrid that hits showrooms soon.  It doesn’t have the kind of speed-inducing modifications that the record breaker boasts and averages 0 to 60 in a relatively tortoise-paced nine seconds.

The Jetta, by the way, doesn’t have the fastest acceleration record for a production model hybrid available to the general public.  If you have a need for speed, take note of the top three hybrids with the fastest specs:

2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7: 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds

2012 Infiniti M35h Hybrid: 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds

 The 2010 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid: 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds

When it comes to sports car-like looks and handling, hybrids are also pushing up against regular gas-powered models in the fun-to-drive department.  The Honda CR-Z isn’t the fastest of the hybrid pack, but what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in sportiness. The three-door hatchback boasts a futuristic cockpit with a multi-layered panel of instrument dials and great sports car handling, especially if you get the six-speed manual transmission.  If it’s not fast enough for you, you can soup it up with a turbo-charging system from Jackson Racing.  It boosts the engine power from 138 horsepower to 190 horsepower. 

The bottom line is that manufacturers are working hard to add speed and sexiness to their fleets of hybrid vehicles, giving buyers more and more choices in the eco-friendly driving department.