Greenest hot hatches & performance cars

16 June 2008
Cooper S road test

Here we list the five cleanest hot hatches and performance cars, and recommend three from each category which we think you should consider.

Hot hatches
What Car? Recommends
1 Mini Cooper S 1.6 T
Remember the irritatingly cool kid at school who seemed to be brilliant at everything? Well, that's the Mini Cooper S. Loved and admired by men and women alike, this model is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that puts out 173bhp and 177lb ft of pulling power. That gives it great performance, which is backed up by great handling.

2 Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133
Hands up, Renault’s pocket rocket version of the Twingo doesn’t make the top five greenest cars in this class, but it’s well worthy of its place here. Fun is an essential part of any hot hatch and that’s what it delivers so well. Besides, it’s clean enough: a low weight and 1.6-litre petrol engine give CO2 emission of just 165g/km.

3 Fiat 500 Abarth
Who says you can't have fun and be green at the same time? Not Fiat, that's for sure. With the help of in-house tuning specialist Abarth, they have taken the chic 500 and turned it into something that's just as pretty, much quicker and genuinely fun to drive. You can hit 60mph in less than eight seconds, but still only emit 155g/km of CO2.

Greenest hot hatches
1 Volkswagen Golf GTD    139g/km   VED Band E   53.3mpg
2 Mini Cooper S    149g/km   VED Band F    45.6mpg
Skoda Octavia TDI CR vRS   151g/km   VED Band G    49.6mpg
Fiat 500 Abarth   155g/km   VED Band G   43.4mpg
Fiat Grande Punto T-Jet 155 Abarth   162g/km   VED Band G   40.9mpg

Performance cars
What Car? Recommends
1 Porsche Cayman S
Top-class engineering is what Porsche do best. That’s the reason why the Cayman S isn’t just one of the finest performance cars you can buy, but also one of the cleanest. Despite pumping out a healthy 320bhp, the 3.4-litre direct injection engine is incredibly efficient, emitting just 223 g/km of CO2.

2 Lotus Elise S 1.8
So nearly the winner here, with a brilliant, pure drive, delicious steering and stunning grip: all in all, it offers stunning performance. There are downsides - it's hard to get in and out of, the roof is fiddly to fit and it lacks safety kit - but once you are in, you won't care.

3 Porsche 911 3.6 Carrera Coupe
It's £15,000 more than the Cayman, and some will question whether that is money well spent. Regardless, the 911 is a stunning performance car, yet practical enough to use every day. Emissions of 225g/km of CO2 put it at the far end of our top five greenest cars in this category, but it's still one of our picks.

Greenest performance cars
1 Lotus Elise S 1.8    179g/km   VED Band I   37.2mpg
2 Lotus Exige 1.8i S    199g/km   VED Band J   31.0mpg
3 Porsche Cayman   221g/km   VED Band K   30.1mpg
4 Porsche Cayman S   223g/km   VED Band K   29.7mpg
5 Porsche 911 3.6 Carerra Coupe   225g/km    VED Band K   29.4mpg