Although an undisguised full-production version has yet to break cover, several fully functional development mules of the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder have now begun testing on public roads here in America. Slated to start its limited production run of 918 units in September of next year, this plug-in hybrid supercar promises to match stunning good looks with equally scintillating performance.
Porsche board member Wolfgang Hatz says the new 918 will redefine driving fun, efficiency and performance. Built around a Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) monocoque structure, the car’s sensually functional bodywork is topped with a pair of lift-off roof panels and incorporates adaptive aerodynamic elements to enhance its high-speed stability. That feature, along with the 918’s adaptive rear-wheel steering should come in handy, given Porsche’s prediction that its new green-tinged GT also will have a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
Motivating the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder is a 4.6-liter gasoline V8 engine that makes roughly 550 horsepower, matched with a pair of electric motors, each developing about 110 ponies. One of the electric motors powers the front wheels while the other, packaged with the car's Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) 7-speed transmission, sends its extra boost to the car’s rear wheels. With over 770 total horses on hand and weighing less than 3,300 pounds, Porsche says the 918 will have the ability to streak from 0-60 mph in about 3.0 seconds. And when ultra-clean cruising is the order of the day, the car’s compact lithium-ion battery pack can store enough electricity to let it travel in zero-emissions mode up to 90 miles on a single charge.
Part of Porsche's original performance brief for the new 918 Spyder was to lap Nürburgring's legendary 12.9-mile Nordschleife circuit in less than 7 minutes 30 seconds -- a time that would eclipse the benchmark set by Porsche's most recent supercar offering, the Carrera GT. Recently, a prototype 918 Spyder fitted with what the automaker is calling an optional Weissach Performance Package did that and more, turning in a 7 minute 14 second clocking. While not an iron-clad guarantee that a standard model -- or a standard driver -- will be able to beat Porsche’s stated bogey, we certainly wouldn’t bet against its chances to make good on that mission either.
Ready for one final breathtaking figure? The latest pricing estimates for the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder indicate that it will start at a heady $850,000.