Are you a tree or curve hugger? Porsche engineers think you can be both, and they come together in the form of the Porsche 918 Spyder. It is the two-seat mid-engine Spyder that should make exotic car types, as well as the eco-poseurs in egg-shaped runabouts, turn green—the latter with envy. This plug-in hybrid sports car is powered by a 500-hp V-8 along with a pair of electric motors that contribute another 218 hp and driving both the front and rear axles. Together, they can launch the 918 Spyder from a standstill to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds while delivering up to 78 miles per gallon. Top speed is 198 miles per hour.
For the ultimate high-performance tree embracing experience, Porsche drivers flogged the 918 Spyder around the Nordschleife—the notorious 12.9-mile “Green Hell” section of the Nurburgring race circuit that swoops, dives, and twists through the forests of the Eifel Mountains—in less than seven and a half minutes per lap. Those lap times are better than those of the limited-production Porsche Carrera GT. Like that vehicle, the 918 Spyder is a rolling showcase of Porsche’s knowledge and capabilities. The V-8 internal combustion engine derives from the 3.4-liter power plant of the victorious RS Spyder race car and can rev to 9,200 rpm. The electric motors draw power from a fluid-cooled lithium-ion battery that is primarily charged by plugging into the power grid. Recharging also occurs when the brakes are applied and the kinetic energy produced is regenerated into electricity.
A button on the steering wheel allows the driver to choose from four driving modes, including E-Drive for total electric power up to a 16-mile range, Hybrid for efficient everyday dual-mode driving, Sport-Hybrid, a full-on Race Hybrid. Adding to the fun is a push-to-pass button (E-Boost) that supplies an extra jolt of electric power for overtaking. The carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body is not only lightweight (the 918 weighs only 3,285 pounds), but also extremely rigid thanks to its racing roots. The exterior styling pays homage to the 917 LeMans racers while blending in the aerodynamics of the current RS Spyder. The streamlined headrest fairings behind the cockpit house retractable intakes for the engine. Inside are contoured bucket seats, a multi-function steering wheel, a floating center console with touch-sensitive controls, and a trio of free-standing circular dials supply readouts of road speed, engine speed, and energy management. A Range Manager display maps out driving range
based on power mode and shows the nearest refueling sources.