Hybrid supercars, a thought that was ridiculed by most in the motoring world due to the unlikely association of fuel economy with high performance. It was thought of as a step backward in the development of ultimate driving machines. However, through technological advances and the proper use of an electric motor this gave birth to the era of hybrid hypercars. The Porsche 918 Spyder is a member of this elitist club that includes Ferrari’s LaFerrari and McLaren’s P1.
The 918 Sypder is a two seater electric and petrol powered rocket. The design aesthetics all favor a car that was meant to go fast. The shell of the car doesn’t intend to be a functional setup, it instead, pays homage to all the impactful racing Porsches that have existed, including the 917, 935, 906, RS Spyder, with inspirations from all these cars being seen somewhere. Extensive use of carbon fiber is evident on the 918 to help keep the weight as low as possible, the car has been made to be only as heavy as it needs to be. Its elongated shape is very reminiscent of the Carrera GT. Exposed top mounted tailpipes above the engine. The sloped nose with a sleek roofline tapers all the way to the rear end of the car. The front fenders are leaner than other models as well.
The main air intakes are placed in front of the rear wheels to help reduce the high pressure generated within the arches and are used to create more down force to push the car into the road at high speeds. The rear of the 918 houses the large spoiler which deploys once the car starts hitting serious speeds. The one feature that the 918 Spyder takes from the current Porsche lineup is the familiar tail lights of the 911, this however is the only aspect of the car that resembles the iconic supercar. A large diffuser has also been designed to create a vacuum effect under the car to suck it closer to the road.
The interior of the 918 has been designed not only to be driver oriented and performance focused but to also incorporate a more usable approach to the hypercar. Porsche has designed it to give the ultimate driving experience. There is an ultra-modern center console that looks like something out of a futuristic movie and a trio of rounded, standalone gauges. It is divided into two basic areas: one holding the controls that are important for driving and grouped around the multifunction steering wheel and the infotainment block that is housed in the lifted center console. Porsche has opted to use a soft-touch interior and has not used hard plastic and metal in the cabin.
The most important feature, the engine. The 918 is powered by a 4.6-liter V-8 and an electric motor, which in combination produce 887 horsepower and 940 pound feet of torque. The engine and motor are linked to a complex PDK gearbox that powers all four wheels. However, Porsche has developed a system where the front motors have a separate gearbox that disconnects the front motors after the car hits 146 mph.
There are 5 various driving modes in the 918, ranging from completely electric mobilty to a full blown hot lap which uses maxmium charge and boost available from both the petrol engine and the electric motors. The performance for the 918 is phenomenal, 0-60 mph is dealt with in 2.8 seconds and the top speed goes on to a staggering 211 mph. A hardcore package is also available for the 918, the Weissach performance pack, this gets the car from 0 to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds.
The handling was a key component for Porsche, it had to be perfect, and it is. Porsche installed its PASM suspension system under the 918 Spyder, which is an adaptive shock absorber system that automatically adjusts the shocks for varying road conditions and driving styles. Also included is a rear-axle steering system, which steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction at low speeds for more precise turning. At high speed, the rear wheels turn the same way, which helps to lower the pushing that the rear end does when changing lanes too quickly. Now, we’re not talking about full-on turned rear wheels, just small degrees.
The 918 Spyder is not just a jump in technological terms, it has defined what can be done with hybrid technology in high performance cars in general. Porsche has made a statement with this car and has set up a benchmark for other manufacturers to look up too. It is the nearing the pinnacle of what automotive engineering has to offer.
Prices for the 918 Spyder start at MSRP $845,000.