Electrified powertrains have become commonplace across the auto industry, but some of the most significant advances in electric vehicle technology are happening in the luxury marketplace, where automakers can present electrified cars as high-tech showcases.
In terms of hybrids, while conventional gas-electric models are still common in mainstream vehicle segments, luxury categories are more likely to offer plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that combine some electric driving with the convenience of a gas engine for travelling beyond that battery range.
In compiling this list of the most efficient luxury PHEVs in every segment, we decided to focus on the combined (city/highway) fuel consumption estimate for gas-electric driving, which we think is a more useful measure of a PHEV’s overall efficiency than the Le/100 km electricity consumption ratings for all-electric operation.
Here are the most efficient luxury PHEV offerings in every segment ranked in ascending order of combined fuel consumption.
Lexus NX 450h+ – 6.6 L/100 km combined
Lexus redesigned its NX compact crossover for 2022, and in the process added the model’s first-ever plug-in hybrid variant. Under the hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which are backed up by a second motor at the rear axle to provide AWD grip; with all power sources working together, the NX 450h+ boasts 304 hp. With its battery fully charged, the NX 450h+ promises 61 km of all-electric driving and an energy consumption rating of 2.8 Le/100 km. This is the most expensive member of the NX family with a starting price of $59,950 for the 2022 model year.
Volvo S60/V60 T8 Recharge Extended Range – 7.6 L/100 km combined
The next most-efficient PHEVs in the Canadian marketplace are Volvo’s compact S60 (sedan) and V60 (wagon) models. The S60/V60’s plug-in option is called T8 Recharge, and its performance comes from a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and electric power that combine for 455 hp and 523 lb-ft of torque, which goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed transmission. On a full charge, the S60 and V60 T8 Recharge promise up to 64 km of electric driving range, and a 3.0 Le/100 km energy consumption estimate. The 2022 Volvo S60 and V60 Recharge models both carry a base price of $59,950.
Mini Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 – 8.0 L/100 km combined
Mini entered the plug-in marketplace in 2018 with the Cooper SE Countryman, a PHEV version of its subcompact crossover offering. Powering the SE Countryman is a 1.5L turbo three-cylinder engine that teams up with an electric motor for 221 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque, promising performance that slots between the Countryman’s quick S and quicker JCW gas-powered packages; AWD and a six-speed automatic transmission are included, too. Mini claims 29 km of fully charged electric range, and rates the SE Countryman’s energy consumption at 3.2 Le/100 km. The PHEV Countryman’s starting price is $44,990.
Volvo S90 T8 Recharge – 8.1 L/100 km
Topping fuel efficiency in the mid-size sedan segment is the Volvo S90, a stylish and spacious four-door offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain similar to that in the S60/V60. It uses a 2.0L turbocharged engine that works with an electric motor to make as much as 455 hp. An Extended Range option that was new in 2022 is now standard for 2023, and promises up to 61 km of electric driving range and an energy consumption estimate of 3.4 Le/100 km. Volvo hasn’t announced the S90’s 2023 pricing yet, but the 2022 T8 Extended Range goes for $78,250.
Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e – 8.6 L/100 km combined
Audi makes our list of the most efficient PHEVs with the A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e, a plug-in hybrid version of its stylish mid-size fastback model. In place of the A7’s usual mild hybrid V6 engine the TFSI e instead uses a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder and an electric motor for 362 hp (27 hp more than the gas-powered A7) and 369 lb-ft of torque. Audi says the A7 TFSI e will go 42 km on a fully charged battery and is rated for 3.4 Le/100 km in electric mode. The company hasn’t revealed pricing for the 2023 model, but this year’s version carries an MSRP of $91,900 in Technik trim, which is just $2,000 more than the gas-powered A7 Technik.
Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge – 8.8 L/100 km combined
Later this year, Volvo will launch the EX90, its first-ever all-electric mid-size crossover, which is expected to eventually replace the current XC90 crossover flagship. Until then, the XC90 T8 Recharge is Volvo’s sole mid-size plug-in crossover option. An available extended-range drivetrain combines a 2.0L turbo engine and an electric motor that together can generate up to 455 hp and provide up to 58 km of driving range. For a bit less money, you can get a less-sophisticated T8 driveline with 29 km of range. The Extended Range model is also more efficient when running on electricity, with an energy consumption rating of 3.4 Le/100 km; however, its combined fuel consumption estimate is a bit worse at 8.9 L/100 km. Volvo’s 2022 starting price for the XC90 T8 Recharge is $80,450.
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe – 10.0 L/100 km combined
Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid in 2022 to coincide with the arrival of an all-new generation of the SUV. Despite having the smallest gas engine of any Grand Cherokee model – a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder – the 4xe is the model’s most powerful option thanks to an electric motor that contributes to total output of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. (The non-plug-in version’s most potent engine is a 5.7L V8 with 357 hp/390 lb-ft.) Jeep claims all-electric driving range of 42 km and an energy consumption estimate of 4.2 Le/100 km. Gas and electric power flow through an eight-speed transmission and four-wheel drive to provide the off-road performance Jeep loyalists have come to expect. Jeep prices the 2023 Grand Cherokee 4xe to start at $70,995.
BMW 745Le – 10.8 L/100 km combined
Although BMW has been selling a plug-in 7 Series since 2017, the car has always felt to use like a bit of a placeholder, a suspicion confirmed when the company launched the all-electric i7 for 2023. So while this may be the last year in Canada for the PHEV 745Le, its stats are still good enough to make it the most fuel-efficient large luxury sedan. The 745Le is the only 7 Series model not powered by a V8 engine; instead, it pairs a 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder with an electric motor for a total of 389 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, which goes to an eight-speed transmission and AWD. Electric driving range is 27 km and the car’s energy consumption rating is 4.2 Le/100 km. BMW’s starting MSRP for the 745Le is $123,300.
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid – 12.3 L/100 km combined
We round out our list of the most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid luxury models with the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, the British prestige brand’s second PHEV after the Bentayga Hybrid SUV introduced in 2020. In the Flying Spur Hybrid sedan, a 2.9L turbocharged V6 and an electric motor make 536 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, which goes to the road through an eight-speed transmission. The Flying Spur is more about overall performance than impressive economy or electric driving range: Bentley promises 34 km of range on a full charge and an energy consumption estimate of 5.1 Le/100 km.