With drivers and governments demanding greener vehicles, automakers have broadened their battery-electric offerings beyond the appliance-like first-generation electric cars from the past. Today, you can find many new electric vehicles (EVs) that are practical to use as a daily driver and deliver fun-to-drive characteristics usually associated with sporty internal combustion engine cars for weekend drives in the hills.
Here are five new EVs to consider if you want to have some electric driving fun.
2023 BMW i4 M50 Gran Coupe
Sharing a body with the gas-powered 4-Series Gran Coupe five-passenger liftback, BMW's battery-electric i4 M50 already looks like a driver's car. Thankfully, it drives like one, too.
If you desire the performance of a BMW M3 sports sedan (but with more power, all-wheel drive, zero emissions, a practical hatchback, and a lower price), look no further than the top-line 2023 BMW i4 M50 Gran Coupe.
The i4 M50's two electric motors create a form of AWD while producing up to 536 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque, resulting in a zero-to-100-km/h time of 3.9 seconds. As for the electric driving part, BMW's sporty EV is rated for up to 436 kilometres between charges, according to Natural Resources Canada testing.
Beyond its straight-line strengths, BMW's sporty EV boasts adaptive M suspension with individually configured springs and shocks, M-designed anti-roll bars, front spring strut tower brace, variable sport steering, M Sport brakes, and M light-alloy wheels.
2023 Kia EV6 GT AWD
Sharing its EV-exclusive platform with its Hyundai and Genesis corporate cousins, the Kia EV6 is arguably the boldest and most exciting Kia ever. In the top GT AWD guise, the EV6 is also the most potent Kia production vehicle ever. A dual-motor powertrain produces 576 hp and 546 lb.-ft.
In independent testing, with a 3.4-second zero-to-96-km/h time, the electric Kia out-accelerated a Ferrari Roma and Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD. The EV6 GT AWD can be driven up to 332 km between charges.
Kia has imbued its four-door electric hatchback with plenty of handling hardware, so it's capable of more than embarrassing supercars in a straight line. The GT-exclusive kit includes a dedicated sport suspension with electronically controlled dampers, unique front suspension performance components, an electronic limited-slip differential, larger brakes, and 21-inch Z-rated Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.
2023 Mini Cooper SE 3 Door
With its urban-friendly proportions and cheeky personality, BMW's modern Mini seems like a natural to be electrified. So it's a relief to find out that the four-passenger Cooper SE 3 Door battery-electric hatchback remains fun to drive, charges relatively quickly, and is among the least-expensive new EVs currently sold in Canada.
The electric Mini’s front-mounted electric motor makes 181 hp and 199 lb-ft. Power goes to the front wheels only via a single-speed automatic transmission. While it does not have a great range (up to 183 kilometres), the Cooper SE’s low centre of gravity and dynamic handling make it an actual performance car that retains all the fun-to-drive qualities Mini owners have come to expect.
The electric Cooper comes with plenty of driver-assistance tech, too. When hopping into the cockpit, the driver and passenger are welcomed by a new standard, 8.8-inch centre instrument screen.
2023 Polestar 2 BST edition 230
The all-electric Polestar 2 compact hatchback has an understated luxury vibe and a generous amount of standard equipment. And for 2023, for EV drivers looking for some Swedish EV driving fun, Polestar is launching a second limited-edition Polestar 2: the BST edition 230.
All the original Polestar 2 BST chassis upgrades — 25-millimetre lower ride height, unique Öhlins adjustable dampers, front strut bar, 20 per cent stiffer springs, and black 21-inch alloy wheels with 245/35R21 Pirelli P Zero tires — are back on this new 230 edition. With the same dual electric motor AWD drivetrain, which puts out a healthy 476 hp and 502 lb-ft, we expect a similar 397-km driving range.
Where the 230 goes its own way is inside the Polestar 2’s cabin. Unique design upgrades include exclusive green Nebula paintwork and MicroSuede textile for the seats and steering wheel inserts.
With just 60 units slated for the U.S. and Canada, the Polestar 2 BST edition 230 will be available on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.
2023 Porsche Taycan GTS
The Taycan sports sedan is the first-ever all-electric Porsche, and the automaker's engineers have ensured it still drives like a Porsche.
The AWD GTS trim is the "driver's Taycan." Dual electric motors (mated to a two-speed transmission) offer 590 hp and 626 lb-ft, slotting the GTS between the Taycan 4S (462 hp) and Taycan Turbo (670 hp).
With launch control engaged, the GTS can scoot from zero to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. It also comes standard with an 800-volt architecture that translates to high charging speeds of up to 270 kW and is part of the reason it can charge from 5 to 80 per cent in 22 minutes after its 396 km driving range has been depleted.
Although the Taycan GTS’s suspension and performance equipment is carried over from the top Turbo trim, the tuning is unique. Porsche says all the performance features have been massaged to make the sporty EV “even more responsive and connected to the road than before.” And if you need a bit more rear cargo space, Porsche also offers the GTS Sport Turismo wagon.