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The Porsche 918 Spyder: Why this limited-edition hybrid car is the king of kings

The Porsche 918 Spyder is a legend for a reason

Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche / Porsche

Context is everything in life. Winning a 100-meter dash counts for a bit more in the Olympics than at your company’s intramural league tryouts. Being the best singer at dive bar karaoke is nice, but it doesn’t compare equally with Taylor Swift standing on stage in front of 50,000 screaming fans.

The same goes for how we view supercars. While not meant to be disparaging against the likes of the mighty Chevy Corvette or Ford GT, as they are both unbelievably remarkable cars in their own right, when viewing a car like the Porsche 918 Spyder, a bit of context is required to understand exactly how special a car like this truly is.

Porsche 918 Spyder with Porsche 959 and Carerra GT
Porsche 918 Spyder with Porsche 959 and Carerra GT front 3/4 views Porsche

History of the Porsche 918 Spyder

Once again, we are some of the biggest ‘Vette and Mustang fans around, so save the hate mail. But, regardless of that affinity, there is no debating that aside from the Mustang or soon-to-be-extinct Camaro, there isn’t a ton of intracompany competition to become a speeding superstar. In a showroom full of Fiestas or Malibus, it isn’t hard to stand out if you have a low-slung, aggressive stance and any appreciable growl under the hood.

Unlike those domestic darlings, being a Porsche comes with a world of external pressure and an equal, if not greater, amount of internal pressure. Over the last several decades, Porsche has given the world not just one remarkable car line, but many.

The 911 is the only other perennial sports car that has stood the test of time bumper to bumper with the Chevrolet Corvette. From that lineage, we have seen such amazing derivatives as the Turbo, GT2, GT3, and RS models. Outside of the venerable 911, we have seen classics like the 356, 930, 944, and 968. We could write for the next several years just on those models alone, so to stand above all of those amazing machines, the 918 Spyder sits atop one of the most royal bloodlines in all of the auto-verse. Continuing the legacy started by the incredible 959 and Carerra GT, the 918 Spyder sits on the throne as the king of Porsches for now.

Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche 918 Spyder engine bay Porsche

What engine and transmission did the Porsche 918 Spyder have?

Already a decade old, the 918 Spyder was on the bleeding edge of race-to-road technology. Hybrid performance cars were not nearly as prevalent as they are today. Still, Porsche engineers were able to exploit the effectiveness of adding more motors, especially ones that produce instant power.

The 918 Spyder was powered by a Formula One-inspired 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 that produced 608 HP at 8,700 RPM and 390 LB-FT of torque… before the electric motors. The front electric motor tacked on an additional 129 HP, while the rear motor tossed in another 156 HP. Don’t bother switching apps; we did the math. The 918 Spyder puts down 887 horsepower and 944 pound-feet combined.

Those ponies from the gas engine were then funneled through Porsche’s incredible 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic. Power for the electric motors came thanks to a 6.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, which allowed the 918 Spyder a combined range of 420 miles and an all-electric range of 12 miles.

Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche 918 Spyder rear 3/4 view Porsche

How fast was the Porsche 918 Spyder?

While power is obviously necessary when it comes to going fast, weight plays almost as important a role. With nearly 900 hp on tap, we know the 918 Spyder has power in spades. But thanks to a monocoque composed primarily of carbon fiber and a gas engine that tipped the scales at a mere 298 pounds, the 918 Spyder checked in at 3,690 pounds despite the added weight of a hybrid drivetrain. Opting for the $84,000 Weissach Package dropped that number an additional 88 pounds.

That power-to-weight ratio makes for a favorable outcome when speed is the goal. Between the instant on-throttle power of the electric motors working in tandem with the race-bred V10 and the all-wheel drive traction, the result is the 918 Spyder becoming one of the quickest production cars in automotive history.

With the top flight Weissach Package employed, 0-60 mph took a faster-than-you-can-imagine 2.2 seconds, while 100 mph came and went in a scaldingly fast 4.9 seconds. The quarter-mile ripped by in an NHRA-level 9.8 seconds at 148.5 mph, on its way to a top speed of 214 mph, making it the fastest production Porsche of all time.

Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche 918 Spyder rear view Porsche / Porsche

FAQ

How much is a Porsche 918 Spyder?

As the adage goes, “If you have to ask…” When it was new, the original MSRP of the Porsche 918 Spyder was a whopping $845,000. If you were one of the lucky few to check off the high(er) performance Weissach Package, that bottom line jumped by another $84,000.

But with just 918 units of the 918 Spyder, the secondary market began climbing about ten seconds after that last model rolled off the assembly line. Today, that original Porsche 918 Spyder price looks like a screaming bargain, as you can expect to pay anywhere from $1 million to $2 million depending on condition, mileage, and options.

What is the fastest speed of a Porsche 918 Spyder?

With the addition of the lighter Weissach Package, the 918 Spyder was capable of reaching a top speed of 214 mph. To date, the 918 Spyder is the fastest production Porsche ever produced.

Is a Porsche 918 faster than a Bugatti?

Yes and no. If the race is from 0-60 mph, the Porsche 918 Spyder can beat out the resident top-tier Bugatti Chiron. Car and Driver tested both the Bugatti Chiron and the Porsche 918 Spyder. The Porsche Spyder was capable of ripping to 60 mph in just 2.2 seconds, while the Chiron took 2.4 seconds. However, once the speed gets past 60, the Chiron Sport’s nearly 1,500 hp takes over and whips the 918 through the quarter mile (9.4 seconds at 158 mph vs. 9.8 seconds at 148.5 mph, respectively).

If, however, that 918 Spyder lines up against the earlier Bugatti Veyron, the Porsche will emerge the faster of the two cars. Of course, that result presumes equally skilled drivers racing on equal tracks under equal conditions. But, one never knows how ample each car’s ‘driver mod’ may be, which could easily change the outcome of any race.

Lou Ruggieri
A lifelong lover of cars, Lou contributes to Motor Trend, Hot Cars, Auto & Truck Connection, and the PowerAutoMedia Group.
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