Of all the electric and hybrid cars in the Steer garage, we have four models that are consistently among the favorites of our customers – the Porsche Panamera, Audi eTron, Jaguar I-PACE, and Tesla Model 3.
All are among the best-selling electric and hybrid cars on the market today, but why are they so popular? This article takes a look under the hood to show you how these models compare to help you find the perfect EV for you.
Porsche Panamera 4 e-Hybrid
Basic model price: $103,800
Top speed: 172mph
0-60 time: 4.3 seconds
Electric-only range: 14 miles
The most expensive car in this article at over $100,000, the Porsche Panamera e-Hybrid is essentially a giant gas-guzzling sedan with a conscience. It’s Porsche’s best-selling car in terms of global sales and has a lot going for it – let’s look at what you get for your money.
Despite its size and weight, as soon as you put your foot on the gas pedal, you know you’re in a Porsche – it accelerates hard with its 462bhp engine. It also has a 136 horsepower electric motor that delivers 295lb-ft of torque, and despite weighing over 5,100lbs, it will get you to 60mph in a jack rabbit-like 4.3 seconds with your foot down. It also has a top speed of 172mph (not that you would ever try that on the highway!).
Though this is essentially an eco-friendly gas engine car, the Panamera 4 e-Hybrid has a 14.1kWH battery that can get you around 14 miles per charge. This is supported by three different re-charging systems – the regenerative braking system, the gas engine itself charging the battery, and the charging port with the plug. With its optional 7.2kWh charging system, you can top up the battery in as little as 2.5 hours.
Let’s face it – this is a Porsche at the end of the day, and you don’t drive a beast like this just because of its fuel economy. Inside you are comforted with miles of wood and leather that make this a comfortable drive for driver and passenger alike. The car also has a range of options, including massage seats and sports seats, that can be almost endlessly adjusted for your comfort.
Like Americans, Germans are big people, so as you get into it, even a taller person won’t crick their neck to get inside. Cargo capacity is also surprisingly solid, amounting to 17.6 cubic feet.
A state of the art infotainment system is controlled with a 12.3-inch touchscreen in the center console. It is Apple CarPlay compatible and also offers navigation, climate control, and even a Wi-Fi hotspot. Dare we complain it doesn’t have a wireless charging system for your cellphone? There, we have!
Overall, if you want the cachet of driving a large luxury sedan, you will find the Porsche Panamera e-Hybrid everything that you could desire in a car of over $100,000 – refined luxury combined with excellent engineering. That said, even with its electric motor conscience, this is still thirsty when it gets to the gas pump!
Prestige model price: $74,800
Top speed: 124mph
0-60 time: 5.7 seconds
Electric range: 210 miles
Audi is another prestige German brand, and you will find its all-electric model one of the best EVs on the market today.
Luxury and comfort are core to the driving experience, with massage front seats standard on the Prestige model. This model also comes with a head-up display for easier driving, and the central console has two touchscreens – a 10.1-inch one controlling the Bang & Olufsen sound system as well as an 8.8-inch display for the climate control. These are both user-friendly and intuitive.
The car’s cargo capacity is substantial as well, with 29 cubic feet with the seats up and 57 cubic feet with the seats down. If you are into outdoor family fun, then with its towing capacity of up to 4,000lbs, you should be able to get a lot of gear about in even one haul.
Its two motors have a combined 355 horsepower and 414lb-ft of torque that translate to 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and a top (limited) speed of 124mph. Driving is in near silence with just the rumble of the tires on the road – a strange experience at high speeds, but if you’re listening to the state of the art infotainment system, the music won’t be covering much in the way of engine noise.
The range is good but not spectacular on the e-Tron, with its 95.3kWh battery giving a range of around 210 miles on the 2020 model. It is certainly more economical than the Panamera above with a real-world fuel economy equivalent of 74 miles per gallon.
For longer trips, you can put up to 150kW of DC charge into the battery, giving up to 160 miles in just half an hour. This makes it one of the quickest charging cars on the market today.
Adaptive cruise control isn’t as funky as that on the Tesla we also look at in this article, but for long highway legs, it can take a lot of the driving from you. However, please keep your hands on the wheel, as it isn’t what one could call autonomous.
Overall this is a luxury electric car that will compete well with its immediate market rival, the Tesla Model X, though it doesn’t compete on range. Audi drivers are a particular tribe, and if you want an Audi with all that this brand stands for, then the e-Tron is a serious alternative.
SE price: $69,850
Top speed: 124mph
Electric range: 253 miles
Despite being a big luxury car, the Jaguar I-PACE can storm from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds, very slightly quicker than the Tesla Model 3 Long Range we look at below. That’s quite something for a big beast of a car like this!
As with the other battery-only cars in this article, its battery is under the floor. This feature gives the vehicle a low center of gravity and, therefore, agile, sharp handling should you want to throw it about the country lanes. Performance is supported by its all-wheel-drive system from two motors that sit at the front and rear.
Range isn’t a worry either in this luxury sedan. The EPA range is 253 miles, getting an equivalent of over 70 miles per gallon in mixed condition driving. That means this car costs just pennies per mile to charge up. Its 100KW DC charging system is suitable for long drives too, with it being able to charge 80% of the battery in just 40 minutes – that’s a decent lunch but very quick as charging systems go these days.
At over $70,000, you should take it that luxury is as standard. It has adaptive cruise control, an optional head-up display, and two touchscreens in the center console. The top one is 10 inches and controls the 380 Watt Meridian sound system. The infotainment system also can be controlled with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It comes with a mobile hotspot too.
Cargo space? Though nothing as massive as the e-Tron above, 25.3 cubic feet with the seats up and almost 52 cubic feet with the rear seats down can make for quite a cargo capacity.
Overall this is a very good electric car as luxury sedans go. With its agile driving and decent range, it’s a vehicle that will serve you well in a variety of uses, from turning up to see friends in style to carrying the family on a more extended holiday. As a whole, that makes for a great package.
Tesla Model 3 (Long Range AWD)
Base price: $48,990
Top speed: 140mph
Electric range: 322
What do we say about the Tesla Model 3 that Elon Musk hasn’t said himself? Let’s talk about sales volumes – the Model 3 far outsold all other small and midsized luxury car models by every other manufacturer in the USA in 2019. No matter the Tesla haters, it has been unbeatable in terms of units sold. Though the baseline list price is under $50,000, it’s still pretty challenging to get a hold of one of these without a special order.
Tesla’s famous Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system has come as standard on all the Model 3 versions since last year. It can steer the car around bends, keep exact distances from vehicles in front, and do all simple driving with your hands hovering over the wheel. Please remember that this is not a fully autonomous system, and people have been in accidents from over-reliance on it.
The standard models of the Model 3 have a range of up to 220 miles, with the Long Range capable of going over 300 miles per charge. The battery is under the floor (like the Jag above), which gives it a lower center of gravity and better handling thanks to the weight distribution.
Where it comes to acceleration, the Long Range version is capable of 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, which isn’t as quick as the iPace above. Where it comes to fuel economy, each trim has an equivalent of well over 100MPGe miles per gallon.
When Tesla’s designers came to put this car together, they weren’t coming from the same direction as the big auto manufacturers. When you sit in the car, you realize that there isn’t a speedometer in the dash – that all comes from the screen in the center console, which also controls the infotainment system, autopilot, climate control, and navigation system.
Unlike the luxury car models above, you aren’t paying huge amounts of money for what is still a very good car. It’s still significantly less than the iPace, and that makes it very competitive. The top-end Model S variants sit closer to the Jag, Audi, and Porsche.
Tesla is unique in so many ways, from their eccentric CEO down to the very driving experience you get in one of their cars. When it comes to driving and using a Model 3, it is unique in that it is built by a company that threw the automotive design rulebook in the trash and then got on with making a car that would thrash all other automotive manufacturers in terms of sales. That makes this car worthy of note.
Comparing the Tesla Model 3 to the luxury end sedans above isn’t a fair comparison – it is aimed at a different demographic with a different income. That said, it is an extremely popular car as can be seen in the sales figures we discussed above.
The other cars are luxury cars from established carmakers, and you get what you expect from them. Porsche, Audi, and Jaguar are some of the top European carmakers with reputations they maintain well in these very comfortable and well-appointed machines.
Still can’t decide? No worries. With Steer, you don’t have to. Our subscription model allows you to swap our cars as often as you’d like! Click here to check out the full list of cars!
|Porsche Panamera||Audi eTron||Jaguar I-PACE||Tesla Model 3 (Long Range)|
|Electric Range||14 miles||210 miles||253 miles||322 miles|
|Charging Time||2 hours||30 minutes to 80%||40 minutes to 80%||40 minutes to 80%|
|Trunk Space (cubic ft)||17.6||29||25.3||15|