What It Is: Porsche’s new supercar, the 2014 918, which will be launched as a Spyder with a removable top and as a hybrid only. Later, a coupe body and racing versions could be added.
Why It Matters: This car is the spiritual successor of the 959 of the 1980s and the nearly decade-old but not forgotten Carrera GT. The 918 model designation also evokes memories of the infamous 917 race car. This new supercar is Porsche’s ultimate technology showcase, it will be the company’s most expensive car, and it is designed to deliver extreme performance and efficiency simultaneously.
Platform: Like the Carrera GT, the 918 is an extremely low, mid-engined supercar. The 918 Spyder is built on a standalone platform, but we hear it will share components with the 911.
Powertrains: Propulsion will come from a naturally aspirated, 9000-plus-rpm 4.6-liter V-8 with 570 hp, a rear electric motor with around 120 hp, and a front electric motor with around 110 hp. Combined output will start at 770 hp. Porsche will use performance-oriented lithium-ion batteries. (For an in-depth look at the 918’s powertrain and more information, check out our prototype ride.)
Competition: The air is thin in this price segment; there will be fully electric and therefore far less usable competitors such as the Audi R8 e-tron and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell; the 918 Spyder also will be compared with other supercars, such as the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and the McLaren F1 successor.
What Might Go Wrong: Although managing three different sources of torque is extremely challenging, we have no doubt Porsche will pull it off. But is this hybrid what supercar buyers are looking for? Many will keep it in a climate-controlled garage, while others will want to take it to the track; but who wants to drive on electrons alone with this kind of car? Don’t worry too much, though, this thing is going to kick ass.
Estimated Arrival and Price: Look for the 918 in late 2013 or early 2014, priced at around $ 850,000. A total of just 918 examples will be produced and not one more—at least of the original body style. If your name resides on the lower portion of the future-918-owners waiting list, Porsche will offer exclusive rights to purchase one of the 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder models—also with a maximum of 918 units to be built—to keep you entertained while your 918 is readied. At $ 161,650, it’s a must-have for any 918 owner; or so we suppose the logic goes for buyers in this market segment.
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