The Porsche 918 Spyder is a rocket ship designed to push the boundaries of hybrid performance as far as possible. Fortunately with a price tag of £650k it is a little more accessible than some of its hypercar rivals.
Power comes from a V8 petrol engine and front and rear electric motors, which combine to produce 875bhp and 1,280Nm. Handling is superlative, as you’d expect from a Porsche, but with its plug-in hybrid tech you can also cruise around in silence on batteries only for up to 18 miles.
If one becomese bored with that, a prod on the accelerator wakes the dormant beast, and the 918 will hit 62mph in 2.5 seconds and race on to a maximum speed of 214mph. The 918 Spyder has conquered the famous Nurburgring old circuit in under 7 minutes as well, but on the road is docile and easy to drive making it a hypercar that can be comfortably driven daily.
WHAT IT IS: A mid-engined supercar positioned between the 911 Turbo megacar and the 918 hybrid hypercar. The 960 conceptually and stylistically resembles a slightly bigger and far more powerful Cayman, but with an extra zero added to the price.
WHY IT MATTERS: Porsche is weak in the world of supercars. The 911 Turbo and GT3, while extremely capable, are limited by their theoretically inferior rear-engine design. And the 918, which fixes that problem, may put off purists—especially, those not intimidated by an $850,000 price tag —with its hybrid powertrain.
PLATFORM: The aluminum-and-composite-intensive 960 will be based on Porsche's new, modular sport architecture (Modularer Sportbaukasten), which can be tailored for mid- or rear-engine applications.
POWERTRAIN: The engine will most likely be a horizontally opposed eight-cylinder engine, although an aggressively boosted flat-six is not out of the question. Power will be well north of 600 horses, and all-wheel drive should be standard.
COMPETITION: Mid-engined supercars such as the Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo, and McLaren 12C.
WHAT MIGHT GO WRONG: A Porsche is tagged, perhaps unfairly, as a lawyer's car—very sporty but also somewhat sensible everyday wheels. Can the brand still breathe the thin air where exotics live? This car could be an expensive way to learn that it can't, and it also may diminish the 918's appeal.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL AND PRICE: Should be available in 2017, at a price above $200,000.