Unveiled at the Chicago Motor Show comes an all-new eco-warrior
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The Top Gear car review:Porsche 918 Spyder
For:Staggering V8 engine and dynamic ability, interior design, seamless electrics, quality
Against:A wee bit pricey
We’ve driven the 875bhp hybrid hypercar. It’s astonishing. Here’s Paul Horrell with literally everything you need to know
There’s nothing like a bit of needle from the opposition. In the face of the astounding outputs now announced by the rivals McLaren P1 and...
Watch out P1 and LaFerrari - Paul Horrell reports from the driving seat of the 887bhp hybrid hypercar for the first time…
What we say:
Absolutely intoxicating. This is the hypercar that can do it all. And do it all brilliantly
What is it?
Porsche’s answer to the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. Only it’s more of a challenge to them, because the Porsche arrived first and wasted no time posting a 6.57mins Nürburgring lap time. Underneath is a carbon tub into which Porsche has packed a new 4.6-litre 608bhp naturally aspirated V8 and a pair of electric motors (one per axle – the 918 is 4WD) that produce a combined 282bhp.
It’s all put together with the kind of engineering nous that Porsche is second to none at. Oh, and don’t forget it’s a convertible – those roof panels lift out.
Wow, just wow. It’s incredible. OK, so if we’re brutally honest the P1 is a hairier, more exciting car to drive – a more hyper hypercar. However, what the 918 Spyder does brilliantly is match the environment it’s in. Cities: cool, quiet and electric; motorways: smooth, manageable, comfy; country roads: secure, immediate, massively confidence-inspiring; racetracks: razor sharp, suffers no fools. It’s an intoxicating package, and so rewarding and absorbing to spend time with.
And then there’s the engine. The best way to sample it is as follows: engage a high gear at low speed and shove throttle as far as you dare. What you get is this wonderful instant thrust from the electric motors (much bigger and more powerful than those fitted in either the McLaren or Ferrari), and then, as the revs rise, there’s this delicious handover to the V8, an engine which is entirely savage at the top end. The whole experience unquestionably proves that hybrid is the future for supercars.
On the inside
Utterly gorgeous. OK, so the one-piece moulded seats are rather firm and upright and there’s not that much stowage, but you won’t need to be checking your mobile phone when there are so many gadgets to play with. The entire centre console is a single curved piece of glass, made by the same people who do Samsung’s phones. Which means you can pinch, swipe and tap your way through the menus and navigation. It’s genius. And the quality and focus that’s evident in the design and materials is just superb.
Provided you can get over the asking price, then there’s nothing to trouble you. 94.2mpg and 70g/km are the salient figures here. It can even do up to 18 miles in pure EV guise, giving it bags of inner city kudos. Of course, if you insist on using the petrol engine (which you will because it’s utterly awesome), then that mpg figure will drop. However, you should get 30mpg in day to day driving. Whether residual values will be as strong as the LaFerrari and P1 remains to be seen – Porsche is building 918 of these and it’s the only one of the big three you can still buy. That’s not through any lack of ability, mind: this is a stunning hypercar.