Despite being roughly under two years away, Porsche was still confident enough to show off its upcoming revolutionary supercar, the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid. This event, held at the recently acquired Nardó test track in Italy, featured only the most prestigious of automotive publications. A few weeks back, we shared with you the thoughts of Britain’s EVO Magazine, but this week features the thoughts and insight of Motor Trend, one of the biggest auto enthusiast outlets in the world.
Notably, the crudely pieced 918 Spyder prototype is far from looking, feeling, or driving like it will during completion. But progress on the 770 horsepower triple-powered super hybrid is very apparent. When finished, the 918 Spyder will look nearly identical to the concept car that was unveiled a few years ago during the Geneva Motor Show.
What makes the upcoming 918 so special is that it promises to do feats that were thought impossible just a few years ago. Things like achieving 145 km/h without using a single drop of fuel, while possessing the capability to reach speeds of 325 km/h. This is made possible by utilizing one of the most advanced drivetrains the world has ever seen: a 500-horsepower V8 working with not one, but two electric motors producing an additional 218 hp or 160kW of output to all four wheels, with the ability to travel 25.7 km on electricity alone.
For better cooling, the V8′s titanium exhaust outlets send spent hydrocarbons out and over the engine into a muffler fitted atop the engine. This method ensures that heat in the engine compartment is kept to a minimum and – serving both form and function.
When the finished product makes its way to market, here’s what to expect:
- A sky-high $800,000 price (USD), and $200k deposit
- There will be over 50 CPUs in controlling the vehicle’s functions
- The electrical system alone took 9 months to develop
- Every single light in the 918 will be an LED, from the headlamps to the interior and everything between
- The passenger sits 20mm further forward than the driver — for better weight distribution
- The seven-speed PDK transmission is shared with the new 911 — but has been flipped upside down to fit the 918
- Every body panel is carbon fiber, except the bumpers — for weight reduction
- There’s a “Manufactured in Flacht” sticker on the back as a reminder that Porsche Motorsport is the main developer
- Two detachable carbon fiber targa panels will be utilized in the design.
So, what made Porsche take this route of super high performance and super high efficiency? By watching the video above, which features and interview with Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche’s head of Research and Development, some answers can be found.