Top 5 Eco-friendly Cars

Looking to drive—literally—energy efficiency? Check out these lean, green machines.

March 18 2013 by William J. Holstein and Bill Visnic

Environmentally Correct Performance: 2013 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

The geniuses at Porsche have defied conventional wisdom yet again. They first surprised the skeptics by moving beyond the two-door sports car to introduce an SUV, the Cayenne, doomed to fail—or so the Cassandras said. Then, Porsche created a four-door sedan called the Panamera—an anathema to purist Porsche fanatics. Now, they’ve equipped the Panamera with a hybrid engine system that gets 30 mpg on the highway. Yes, driving a Porsche is now environmentally correct.

Porsche achieved that mileage without sacrificing the heart of the Porsche driving experience by combining a V6 internal combustion engine with an electric motor in a system it calls E-boost. Much like a Prius, the electric motor assists the gasoline engine at certain times and the engine kicks off—imperceptibly—when the vehicle is coasting or at stop. The Panamera S Hybrid is eerily silent when stopped at a red light because only the electric motor is functioning. The battery pack is built with an old-fashioned technology, nickel-metal hydride.

Porsche designers also added features, such as a rear vision parking-assist camera, coffee cup holders that swivel out from beneath the glove compartment and a Bose surround sound system. It’s a lovely way to protect Mother Nature.