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EVs vs. performance cars of the past, present and future

Joe Finnerty Joe Finnerty
10th May 2023
4min Read
EVs vs. performance cars of the past, present and future

Electric cars pack a punch off the line with instant acceleration that puts most performance cars to shame… more than half of them in fact.

A GRIDSERVE study on the ability of some of the most popular EVs has revealed the average 0-60mph time is just 4.4 seconds – faster than 63% of modern-day petrol and diesel performance cars.

And the data shows in just a few years, electric cars will overtake performance cars for good when it comes to speed off the mark.


The Tesla Model 3 Performance outruns nine in ten traditional performance cars

Capable of 0-60mph in just 3.2 seconds, the Model 3 Performance can outrun 90% of petrol- and diesel-powered performance cars – equivalent to 1,716 of them. It’ll even edge the £312,845, V12-engined Ferrari Purosangue (perhaps the boldest car to bear the Prancing Horse yet), despite costing less than a fifth of the price.

The Kia EV6 GT and Model Y Long Range Performance make up the top three alongside the Tesla, boasting 0-60mph times of 3.4 and 3.6 seconds respectively.

They’re quicker off the mark than at least 83% of traditional performance cars, including the BMW M3 Competition and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren – which, despite now being 20 years old, sells for upwards of £290,000.


The most affordable EV, the smart #1 Brabus, is also the fourth-quickest

The upcoming smart #1, available from summer 2023, is taking the typically compact carmaker in a new direction as a larger SUV. And the Brabus variant is heading in that direction even quicker.

The #1 Brabus is by far the most affordable EV in our research, costing a little over £40,000. But despite having a lower price tag than some rivals, its 3.8-second 0-60mph time places it firmly in the top five electric cars for acceleration.

It’s enough to see off 79% of traditional performance cars, too, including the £85,755 Lotus Emira (the brand’s last petrol-powered sports car, no less). In a 0-60 sprint against a 5.2-litre, supercharged Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, it finishes just a tenth of a second behind.


The ‘slowest’ EVs in our study still outpace 43% of traditional performance cars

Even the EVs at the other end of the results are anything but sluggish. With 0-60mph times of 5.4 seconds, the Audi Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback are the ‘slowest’ in our study but still quicker than 43% of traditional performance cars.

Although they’re lagging behind the newest supercars, the two Q8 variants are quicker to 60 than many ICE models of the last few years, including the latest Ford Focus ST, 2017 Seat Leon Cupra and 2015 Honda Civic Type R – all hot hatches in their own right.


EVs outperform iconic supercars for a fraction of the cost

Comparing EVs against older combustion-engined cars, however, shows just how far – and how quickly – electric performance has progressed.

The Lamborghini Miura is largely thought of as the world’s first supercar, yet the P400 SV would lose in a 0-60mph race to every one of the EVs in our research. And with spare change, too; while the average cost of the EVs in our study is around £70,000, Miuras often auction for millions.

Granted, few would expect a model from 1971 to keep up with many modern machines, but petrol power had a considerable head start on electric. Even the Ferrari F40, once the fastest production car on the planet with a 0-60mph time of just 3.8 seconds, would finish joint-fourth in a drag race against the EVs.


Electric performance will overtake petrol in the next decade – despite starting eight decades later

By our research, the very first performance car (of models with a 0-60mph time of eight seconds or less) was the Lagonda V12 Le Mans of 1939. Since then, the average 0-60 time has dropped to 3.8 seconds – a 5.8% reduction per decade.

EVs, on the other hand, have already dropped from 5.7 seconds to 4.4 since going mainstream in the last ten years or so – a reduction of 22.8%. That’s largely thanks to the huge amounts of torque (the force turning the wheels, in short) an electric car can put to the road almost instantly.

Applying these findings to future projections tells us electric performance is merely years away from taking the lead, with EVs costing less than £100,000 expected to hit an average 0-60mph time of 3.1 seconds by 2030, leaving petrol performance half a second behind on 3.6 seconds.

Discover more on electric car leasing with GRIDSERVE, including our EV special offers.



The top-spec version of the electric cars costing less than £100,000, according to EV Database, were compared with 1,899 traditional performance cars, covering models with 0-60mph times of eight seconds and under. 

Average figures per decade were calculated for electric cars and traditional performance cars to determine the rate at which each fuel type is progressing. The percentage change was then applied to future projections to estimate when EV acceleration will overtake that of traditional performance cars.

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