When Porsche unveiled the 918 Spyder concept at the 2010 Geneva auto show, the press didn’t really know what to make of Porsche’s claims. Designed as a plug-in hybrid with supercar prowess, the idea of the 918 becoming anything relevant seemed far-fetched at the time. Granted, Porsche has never unveiled a concept it hasn’t built, so excitement about the concept was high.
The 918 is a Porsche supercar reminiscent of the Carrera GT.
Fast forward to this past September, after years of speculation, spy shots, and prototype drives by the press, we’d finally gotten some concrete numbers about the 918’s performance.
Power comes from a 4.6-liter V-8 engine, producing 608 of the 887 total horsepower, with the remaining power coming from the electric motor, which exclusively powers the front wheels. In September, Porsche claimed the 918 could rocket to 62 mph in just 2.8 seconds.
Now, Porsche has shaved off 0.2 seconds from the 0–62 mph run, completing it in just 2.6 seconds. There are, of course, other impressive acceleration numbers to come out of the performance tweaks. The 918 can accelerate from 0–124 mph in 7.2 seconds, and 0–184 mph in just 19.9 seconds. The car’s top speed of 211 mph remains unchanged.
While Porsche will not say how the new performance numbers were achieved, speculation from those in the media believe improvements in the electric motor are responsible for the slight performance increases.
By adding hybrid technology that tries to push the limits of fuel economy while maintaining performance, Porsche hopes this technology will eventually trickle down to its other cars as fuel economy standards around the world become tougher for automakers to meet.
Porsche isn’t the first automaker to jump into the hybrid supercar foray. Ferrari. McLaren, and Acura all have new models coming down the product line that hope to bridge efficiency and performance.
Ferrari’s ill-named LaFerrari, produces an astonishing 950 horsepower, yet is estimated to cost $1,350,000. The LaFerrari is a 2014 model.
The 2014 McLaren P1 is the successor to the famous F1 supercar, though the P1 combines both raw mechanical power with emerging electrical techniques. The P1 produces a combined 903 horsepower and is expected to be hitting driveways, racetracks, and auction blocks sometime early next year.
The 2015 Acura NSX is attempting to take a more modest approach to the hybrid supercar game. With a pedestrian twin-turbo V-6 motor and two electrical motors, the NSX is expected to make around 500 horsepower, though the final number hasn’t been confirmed. Price for the NSX will be significantly cheaper than it’s European counterparts, but is still expected to command a sum in the low six figures.
While the final price for the Porsche 918 is a staggering $845,000 excluding title, tax, destination charge, and the first-born trade-in incentive, the fuel economy numbers are still unknown. Porsche also hasn’t released any information on when the 918 will be delivered to customers or available at dealerships.