The 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder is all-new. And it's wild...
The 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder is part of a new class of hybrid supercars. Like Ferrari's LaFerrari and the McLaren P1, it promises incredible performance and good fuel economy. Porsche pairs a 4.6-liter V-8 with two electric motors for a total of 887 hp. The 918 sprints to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and tops out at more than 211 mph, according to Porsche. The 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder can also travel for up to twenty miles exclusively on power from its lithium-ion batteries. The price for all this? $845,000. If you're interested, you'd better act fast -- we hear that two-thirds of the planned production run (918 units, total) has already been sold.
In the old days, supercars needed only to be fast and outrageous looking. That doesn't work in our era of heavy emissions regulations. Porsche recognizes that a supercar, as the halo for the brand, must demonstrate some corporate responsibility even if the owner of an $845,000 vehicle isn't worried about saving gas money. And so, the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder employs a hybrid powertrain, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. For context, consider that Porsche's last supercar, the 2004-2007 Carrera GT, had a honking V-10 powering the rear wheels via an old-school manual transmission.
It's hard to argue with the results. The Porsche 918 spyder can drive up to twenty miles without using any gasoline and is even faster than its predecessor. It lapped Germany's famous Nürburgring racetrack in 6 minutes, 57 seconds -- about half a minute faster than the Carrera GT.
The heart of the 918 is its plug-in-hybrid powertrain. A 608-hp, 4.6-liter V-8, derived from Porsche's Le Mans racing efforts, sits behind the driver and powers the rear wheels together with a 156-hp electric motor. A second electric motor, rated at 129 hp, powers the front wheels. If that weren't complicated enough, the 918 offers no fewer than five driving modes, ranging from "E-power" to "Hot lap."
A carbon-fiber monocoque keeps weight relatively low at 3715 pounds. Cars equipped with the $84,000 Weissach package employ even more carbon fiber -- the roof, mirrors, spoilers, and windshield frame -- to save nearly 100 pounds. If that doesn't seem like a great value, consider that Weissach cars also wear wicked-looking racing livery.
Eventually, we expect many of the 918's technologies to trickle down to Porsche's mainstream cars. For now, the 918 is simply a brand ambassador. And what an ambassador it is: it's fast as hell, sounds awesome (when the V-8 is running, at least), and looks like it belongs on a poster. As if that weren't enough to guarantee its desirability, Porsche is also limiting production to 918 cars.
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