The Most Powerful Non-Supercar Hybrids You Can Buy in 2023

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid 7 photos
Photo: Porsche AG
BMW XMBMW XM Label RedMercedes-AMG C 63 4Matic E-PerformanceMercedes-AMG S 63 E-PerformancePorsche Cayenne Turbo E-HybridPorsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
It's no secret that the automotive industry has embarked on a transformative era this decade, where traditional ICE-powered vehicles are going the way of the dodo in favor of electron-sipping electric cars.
The switch is already happening in most markets, helped and even pushed by government legislation, especially in Europe, and traditional carmakers have stopped investing in the development of all-new internal combustion engines for quite a few years.

Since electrifying entire car lineups cannot happen overnight, many automakers have decided to make the transition slightly smoother by introducing hybrids and plug-in hybrids, where traditional internal combustion engines are paired with electric motors instead of being replaced by them.

First, pioneers like the Honda Insight or the massively successful Toyota Prius were made to offer a more eco-friendly choice in the automotive landscape. Then, more and more carmakers jumped on the bandwagon of combining the performance of a combustion engine with the efficiency brought by electric propulsion.

As years went by, more hybrids and plug-in hybrids entered the scene, some more interesting than others. Then, just as premium and exotic car manufacturers got on the eco stage, it became apparent that the internal combustion engine still has life in it.

In 2023, gone are the days when the 'hybrid' or PHEV moniker automatically translates into a slow, weird-looking family car that almost everyone loves to mock. We're now living in an era where the horsepower war is reaching unprecedented heights, not because but thanks to the advent of powerful electric motors and batteries.

HEVs and PHEVs have transcended their once-niche status to become formidable contenders in the performance race. Initially designed to focus on fuel economy and reducing emissions, hybrid technology has matured to a point where it now stands as a symbol of power and innovation.

The intelligent mix between two power sources vouches to create a seamless and exhilarating driving experience, proving that electrification is not just about reducing carbon footprints but also enhancing driving pleasure.

About a decade after the 'Holy Hypercar Trinity' - in the shape of the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari, and McLaren P1 - gave us a taste of what hybrid technology can do on the performance side, things have indeed changed in the world.

With that in mind, let's see what the most powerful hybrid cars money can buy in 2023 are, but without breaking the bank and going for a multi-million supercar.

Strangely enough, all the vehicles on the following list are from German car brands, half of them are SUVs, and all of them are likely to be the last of their kind before the electric revolution truly kicks in in the performance niche.

6. 2024 BMW XM - 644 HP (653 PS)

Photo: BMW
The BMW XM is a full-size luxury crossover SUV that proudly bears the banner of BMW's M subsidiary as a plug-in hybrid electric leviathan. With a face only a mother would love, this oddball creation marks the second vehicle born entirely from the masterful hands of BMW M, the first being the legendary BMW M1 back in 1978.

People initially expected the XM to take the X8 moniker since the model is essentially a coupe-SUV version of the X7. Still, the marketing brains at M GmbH saw the untapped potential for a new niche, and they went for it with the first M-only SUV instead of a mid-engine supercar.

Powering the gargantuan BMW XM is a twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V8 with 469 HP (476 PS) and 480 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque, paired with an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox that produces 194 HP (197 PS) and 276 lb-ft (281 Nm) of torque.

The electric motor takes its electron juice from a 29.5 kWh (gross), 25.7 kWh (net/usable) lithium-ion battery, which gives the model an all-electric range of up to 82–88 km (51–55 miles) WLTP.

Combining the two means of propulsion delivers a total output of 644 HP (653 PS) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque, more than enough to propel the 2,749 kg (6,061 lb) SUV from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 4.1 seconds.

Does that make it a heresy on wheels or a groundbreaking offer from BMW M? It remains to be shown by its sales numbers, but we know it's definitely not your soccer mom hybrid SUV.

5. 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance - 671 HP (680 PS)

Mercedes\-AMG C 63 4Matic E\-Performance
Photo: Mercedes-AMG
When you peruse the spec sheet of the brand-new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S 4Matic E-Performance, it's hard not to feel a sense of exhilaration or the need to catch your breath after saying its full name in one go.

Yes, it no longer has a fire-breathing, twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood nor the accompanying soundtrack of such a powerplant. It has switched to a 2.0-liter four-banger plug-in hybrid setup with F1 technology.

A leap in peak power from 503 (510 PS) to a staggering 671 HP (680 PS), coupled with a torque peak that surges from the already impressive 516 lb-ft (700 Nm) to a staggering 752 lb-ft (1,020 Nm), is undeniably attention-grabbing.

The sprint from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph), dropping from 3.9 to a blistering 3.4 seconds thanks to the extra output and all-wheel-drive, is also a compelling testament to progress.

What are the numbers that the most powerful production C-Class ever isn't quite good at achieving, then? Well, one is the weight, as a bone-stock C 63 now weighs in at a hefty 4,644 pounds 2,111 kg) thanks in part to a specially cooled lithium-ion 6.1 kWh battery that eats into the trunk together with an electric motor and an extra two-speed gearbox. The other is the number of units sold - way less than its V8-powered predecessor so far.

While the way it delivers its grunt is not as flamboyant as its forerunner, the latest C 63 remains the quickest and most powerful C-Class in history, and it's all thanks to a crazy intelligent hybrid system.

4. 2024 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid - 690 HP (700 PS)

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E\-Hybrid
Photo: Porsche
Now heading toward the end of this second generation's life-cycle, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid was until recently the most powerful ICE-powered Porsche in production.

Porsche's attention-grabbing four-door model has been the groundbreaking Taycan electric sedan in the last couple of years. It's hardly surprising, especially considering the awe-inspiring performance of the 750-horsepower Taycan Turbo S, which currently reigns as Porsche's most potent offering in the lineup.

With that in mind, the Taycan achieves those numbers using the instant torque of two electric motors. The older Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid achieves 690 HP (700 PS) and 671 lb-ft (870 Nm) of torque by combining the might of a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 with one electric motor nestled between the engine and the gearbox.

Those numbers are enough to accelerate the longest production Porsche from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 3.2 seconds, quite a feat for a 2.3-ton sedan, and onward to a top speed of 196 mph (315 kph).

If that sounds impressive, keep in mind the current facelift Panamera has offered this performance since 2021, so you can expect even more from its replacement, set to arrive sometime in 2024.

Until then, the Panamera in Turbo S E-Hybrid guise still stands tall as one of the most potent hybrid sedans on the planet, and its thunderous V8 is not only kept alive but improved thanks to the added electric power.

3. 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo e-Hybrid (739 PS)

Porsche Cayenne Turbo E\-Hybrid
Photo: Porsche
In April 2023, the Cayenne underwent a mid-cycle rejuvenation in preparation for the 2024 model year. Among the prominent updates is a redesigned dashboard closely resembling the Taycan. Additionally, Porsche has introduced a fully digital 12.6-inch gauge cluster, accompanied by subtle exterior refinements, such as revisions to the hood, headlights, bumpers, fenders, and trunk.

We are essentially looking at a brand new car for next year, and part of those revisions include a rather massive upgrade to the powertrain lineup, which now includes the Turbo E-Hybrid.

The 2024 Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid thus replaces the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid as the most powerful ICE-powered Porsche in production.

The model pairs an extensively reworked, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, which now delivers 591 HP (599 PS) on its own, with a more powerful 174 HP (176 PS) electric motor.

The total output is 729 HP (739 PS) and 701 lb-ft (950 Nm) of torque, making it not only the most powerful Porsche but the second most powerful ICE-powered SUV on the planet - at least until the Lamborghini Urus PHEV arrives, which will probably make it third.

Thanks to a much larger 25.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, the Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid can also be driven with zero emissions for up to 51 miles (82 km).

Those numbers are probably less critical than a 3.7-second run from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) or the 183 mph (295 kph) top speed, which is massively impressive for a large family SUV with tons of luxury features and space for up to five adults and their luggage.

Its replacement has been confirmed to be 100 percent electric, so like most other cars on this list, it is part of a dying breed.

2. 2024 BMW XM Label Red - 737 HP (748 PS)

BMW XM Label Red
Photo: BMW
Why is it called the 'Label Red' and not vice versa, you ask? You should probably cross-examen Johnny Walker, not BMW, for that answer. What BMW knows is that the XM Label Red is a special edition of the range-topping M model limited to just 500 units and featuring an exterior paint finish in Individual Frozen Carbon Black metallic.

Did I say range-topping? It is more like range-crushing, at least until the 2025 BMW M5 arrives, as the XM Label Red is not only the most potent SUV but the most powerful Bavarian production car in history.

Using an extensively reworked version of the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 as the 'regular' XM, the hybrid Super SUV delivers a combined 737 HP (748 PS) and 737 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque to all four wheels.

The supplementing electric motor inside the gearbox is identical to the one on the standard XM, but the 4.4-liter V8 has been tuned to 577 HP (585 PS), almost 100 HP more than the normal one.

As incredible as those numbers are, performance is less impressive than the lighter and less powerful Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid, as the XM Label Red weighs in at a hefty 6,161 pounds (2,795 kg).

To put things into perspective, the first-ever BMW M car, the M1, weighed only 2,866 pounds (1,300 kg). Then again, the M1 couldn't go from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds, nor could it carry 5 passengers and their luggage.

1. 2024 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E-Performance 791 HP (802 PS)

Mercedes\-AMG S 63 E\-Performance
Photo: Mercedes-AMG
The most powerful non-supercar hybrid for the foreseeable future (likely ever) could have only been an AMG model. The 2024 Mercedes-AMG S 63 4Matic E-Performance is truly the daddy of all AMG sedans and a modern reiteration of the sledgehammer sedans wearing a three-pointed star of yesteryear.

Thanks to the addition of a 13.1-kWh liquid-cooled battery pack and a 188 HP (190 PS) electric motor with a dedicated two-speed gearbox, there is only room in the trunk for two golf bags. That doesn't mean the latest S 63 doesn't impress in all the other areas.

The electric motor above supplements the mighty twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 developed by AMG, bringing the total output to a massive 791 HP (802 PS) and a truck-like 1,055 lb-ft (1,430 Nm) of torque. That would be enough to restart a dead star, never mind transforming the rear tires into smoking blue pasta, so AMG engineers have obviously fitted the S 63 with intelligent all-wheel-drive.

Thanks to that solution and the gargantuan power, the 5,721 lbs (2,595 kg) luxury sedan can go from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 3.3 seconds, likely quicker than it takes to pronounce its full name.

According to Mercedes-AMG insiders, the S 63 4Matic E-Performance will be the last of its kind before the horsepower war will take the electric-only road in a few years, so you should enjoy it while you still can and/or are able to afford it. Its successor is likely to be 100 % electric.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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