Rival motors


BMW ActiveHybrid 5, £47,095
If you fancy something a little sportier, BMW’s ActiveHybrid 5 combines a 3.0-litre twin turbo six-cylinder petrol engine with an electric drive system and eight-speed automatic gearbox. With a combined power output of 340hp, BMW’s executive hybrid can be driven on electric power only up to 37mph. It takes just 5.9 seconds to reach 62mph but it has petrol rather than a diesel engine. Economy and emissions are 44mpg and 149g/km of CO2.

Lexus GS450h Luxury, £44,995
A 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine combines with an electric motor to output 341hp in the Lexus GS450h. With 0-62mph acceleration of 5.9 seconds, this is a quick and clean sporty saloon. As it is sportier and petrol-fuelled rather than diesel, fuel economy isn’t quite as good as the Mercedes-Benz E300 (reviewed above) at 45.6mpg, but this is still impressive for a car of this size. Emissions are just 141g/km of CO2.

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, £48,775
The latest entrant is Volvo’s V60 Hybrid which is the first ever diesel plug-in hybrid. With a combined power output of 285bhp, the front wheels are powered by its 215bhp 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine and its rear wheels are driven by a 70bhp electric motor. The car can reach 62mph in 6.1 seconds and can run on electricity only for up to 31 miles. Economy of 155mpg and CO2 emissions of just 48g/km are possible.