This is the fastest and most powerful road-going Porsche model yet—the ultra complex and breathtakingly beautiful 918 Spyder. Truly a car lover’s dream, this Porsche wins out against the competition in every way.
How is it Powered?
Power for the new carbon-fiber Porsche is a mid-mounted 4.6-liter V8 gasoline engine based on the engine from the earlier RS Spyder race car. Two synchronous electric motors — one mounted up front and another at the rear — supplement the V8. Together, the three power sources produce 875 hp at 8,500 rpm and a thumping 944 lb-ft of torque.
Power is delivered via both a fixed gear and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox; the former operates on the front axle to provide electric drive to the front wheels at speeds up to 165 mph, while the latter sits at the rear and drives the rear wheels with a combination of electric and gasoline-engine power. Depending on the drive mode selected, the new Porsche can operate in front-, rear- or four-wheel drive modes.
A 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery mounted underneath the gasoline engine in back provides the energy used to run the electric motors. The battery comes with a seven-year guarantee and adds a significant 692 lbs to the 918 Spyder’s 3,691-lb overall curb weight.
Nevertheless the official performance is spectacular. When fitted with an optional Weissach performance package (lightweight components paring some 88 lbs from the curb weight), the Spyder hits 62 mph in 2.6 seconds, 124 mph in 7.2 seconds and 186 mph in 19.9 seconds.
With a sophisticated aerodynamic package including a rear wing extending from the rear body work nearly 5 inches and providing three different downforce levels, the Spyder reaches a 214-mph top speed. In electric mode it hits 93 mph before the gasoline engine fires.
The truly remarkable thing about the new Porsche is while it delivers sledgehammer performance, its state-of-the-art gasoline-electric hybrid driveline allows it to record outstanding economy figures when driven at a leisurely pace: official consumption is 78.4 mpg.
What is it like to drive?
The 918 Spyder is not a car to simply jump in and blast off on first encounter. It takes some time behind the wheel and familiarization with the various switches controlling the advanced driveline before you feel comfortable unleashing the heroic performance at anywhere near full force. However, there is no doubt it is among the most thrilling road cars to ever wear the Porsche badge…and when it’s not running in electric mode, it’s also one of the loudest and angriest-sounding.
The gasoline-electric hybrid system offers five drive modes: Electric, Hybrid, Sport, Race, and Hot Lap. They are selected via rotary dial in the lower right-hand side of the steering wheel, providing the new Porsche with a truly multifaceted character.
The electric motors power you in — you guessed it — electric mode. The front motor produces 129 hp with the rear one providing 156 hp. On light throttle loads, the front electric motor powers the car, technically making it the first front-wheel drive Porsche. More throttle sees the rear electric motor engage to provide added drive to the rear wheels, giving it all-wheel-drive capability.
There’s a combined 285 hp and 431 lb-ft of torque the moment you hit the accelerator pedal, sufficient oomph for a 6.2 second, all-electric 0-62 mph time, achieved in almost complete silence. The only clue to the performance is tire roar and some wind noise over the roof. Porsche claims between a 10- and 19-mile electric range, making its latest supercar suitable for zero-emission running at low speeds in cities.
Press the throttle harder or extend the Spyder beyond 93 mph, and the race-bred V8 automatically bursts to life with a distinctive howl, a combination of electric power and combustion engine propelling the car. The transition is smooth, instantly extending the performance capability and aural qualities.
Click the dial into Hybrid and all three power sources are instantly meshed — front electric motor, rear electric motor and combustion engine. However, the overall response is fairly relaxed by supercar standards, making this the default mode for unperturbed cruising on multilane highways and the like.
The car’s intrinsic character changes the moment you select Sport, altering mapping of the throttle, steering, electric motors, combustion engine and gearboxes for an altogether sharper feel and more intense in-gear acceleration.
Race mode heightens this even further, the gasoline-electric hybrid system delivering its full 875 hp and 944 lb-ft. Now you have truly rabid performance and a sonorous exhaust note. Finally there’s Hot Lap, conceived primarily for the track, providing additional torque to the front wheels for more neutral cornering and more liberal calibration of the stability control system for an added touch of tail-out oversteer when conditions permit.
Straight-line pace is certainly striking, but the Spyder’s single most impressive facet is without doubt its handling. It might tip the scales 648 pounds above the Carrera GT, but you’d never know it. There is a rewarding intimacy to the way the new Porsche corners with whip-crack turn in, outstanding composure with hardly any body roll and an ability to carry extraordinary speeds up to and beyond the apex.
The heaviest driveline pieces, including the lithium-ion battery and all its ancillaries, are placed as close to the ground as possible. Thus the center of gravity is low, giving the Spyder a stunning ability to change direction. The electromechanical steering and bespoke chassis also communicate actions with tremendous clarity.
The handling’s fluidity obviously has a lot to do with the tires; the Michelin Pilot Cup 2 rubber, 265/35 ZR20 up front and 325/30 ZR21 in back, have been through more than a million testing miles, so they suit the car’s characteristics. Their dry-weather performance is quite extraordinary.
The standard locking rear differential and the ability to deliver power to each wheel individually (thanks to a torque-vectoring function up front and at the rear) enhances the car dynamically. This helps to flatter the driver with phenomenal mid-corner grip and astonishing traction exiting the corners.
Do You want one?
Yes that is a huge sum, but the new Porsche does not disappoint. Its breadth of ability is remarkable, making it far more accessible and easier to drive both on track and on the road than the Carrera GT.
And, speaking of track- the Porsche 918 clocked The Fastest Time Ever of a production sports car on the Nurburgring. This vehicle conquered the 12.8-mile (20.6-kilometer) lap around the Nurburgring Nordschleife in less than seven minutes. Achieving a time of six minutes and 57 seconds, the super sports car shaved 14 seconds off the previous Nurburgring record for a street-legal automobile.
The Spyder represents a new age of hybrid powered supercars- but get yours fast! Porsche plans to build only 918 Spyders ever through the end of 2015 on a specially established line at its Leipzig, Germany factory. The first made and the last produced will be entered directly into the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, German leaving only 916 for sale world wide. Some 750 have already been sold. Once word gets out it has the ability to back up its technical excellence, there is no doubt the remainder won’t remain unsold for long. Don’t miss out on your chance to be an original owner of this limited edition super car.
Porsche 918 Spyder specifications
On sale: Now- but only until all 916 new cars have been sold!
Base price: $845,000
Drivetrain: 4.6-liter V8, two synchronous electric motors; total system output 875 hp, 944 lb-ft; seven-speed dual clutch automatic; AWD
Curb weight: 3,691 lb
0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
Top speed: 214 mph
Stop by Hoffman Porsche to inquire about one today. Or call Edward Hahn at 860-290-6359 who will gladly answer any questions about the Porsche 918 Spyder or any Porsche that might interest you.