9. 2016 BMW i8
Base price $141,695
Forget Doc Brown’s DeLorean, this is your midengine, scissor-door, alternative-power time machine. It combines gas and electric propulsion, carbon-fiber-intensive construction, and Star Wars styling for a future-is-now experience. The equally forward-thinking leather-lined cabin extracts surprisingly few ergonomic compromises – even squeezing in a pair of tiny back seats. Performance is exhilarating, if short of the brutal effect you get with the fastest Ferraris or Lamborghinis. But the i8 costs a hundred grand less than the comparable 488 GTB or Huracan. And nothing this quick matches the 76 mpg-equivalent it earns when running in full-hybrid mode, when sensors determine the most efficient combination of gas and electric propulsion.
Engage Sport mode and the motor powering the front wheels combines with the turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder running the rears for 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Throttle response is immediate and 0-60-mph passes in as little as 3.6 seconds while a hot-rod-engine soundtrack pumps through the audio system. Top speed is 155 mph. Choose electric-only mode and the i8 runs emissions-free for up to 14 miles. Even at 129 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque in this setting, 60 mph arrives in 9.2 seconds and top speed is 75 mph, making this an effective daily commuter. Nestled in a center-of-gravity-friendly floorpan tunnel, the lithium-ion battery pack recharges on the move via regenerative braking or in 1.5 hours cabled to a 220-volt outlet. The transmission is a six-speed automatic, the fuel tank holds 11.1 gallons, and combined gas-electric range 330 miles.