The Porsche 918 Spyder is owed a debt of gratitude for proving to the world that hybrid powertrains can power amazing sports cars. But just last week Porsche announced the final example has been produced – number 918 out of 918.
The term hybrid supercar seems rather run-of-the-mill these days, when just a few years ago the idea of such a thing could be deemed as sacrilege – to have an electric motor sully a glorious high-output internal combustion engine. Much of that shift in perception can be attributed to the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder.
The car is the next to follow in the line of Porsche flagships such as the 959 and Carrera GT before that brought new technology and new levels of performance that would colour Porsche cars, and others, for years to come.
The car itself is the forebear of innovations that would make hybrid cars more widespread and accepted in the future. As of June 19th, right on schedule, the 918 Spyder’s 21-month production run came to an end, and as the last one rolled off the production line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, it remains one of the most astonishing machines ever produced.
It was envisioned from the start to combine a high-performance combustion engine with electric power. A 154hp motor sits behind the driver, sending power to the rear wheels while also pulling double duty as the car’s main generator. A second electric motor drives the front axle with 125hp, decoupling via an electric clutch when not in use.
When added to the mid-mounted 608hp 4.6-litre V8 that revs to 8,500rpm – replete with top-mounted exhausts – the combined output tops out at 887hp and 1,275Nm of torque.
Capable of a 2.5 second sprint to 100 km/h from standstill and title holder of the fastest street-legal production car to lap the Nurburgring to date (maybe even the last?) with a 6:57 time, the spiritual successor to the Carrera GT has certainly left its mark.
To fully flesh out the car’s spread of ability across performance and fuel consumption, Porsche developed a total of five operating modes, ranging from an efficiency-oriented profile to one that delivers maximum performance. Its E-Drive mode allows the car to operate solely under battery power, enabling a zero-emissions range of 29km.
Going forward, it’s clear that Porsche intends to bring the technologies learned from the 918 Spyder to the rest of its line-up. The automaker has already applied for patents for its assembly and quality assurance innovations.
Perhaps much of what knowledge that was gained from the 918 Spyder will be put into greater effect in the reportedly hybrid driven powertrain of the next-generation Porsche 911.
If you're feeling a little disappointed that you did not get to snap one of them up for yourself, here's our gallery of when the 918 Spyder made an appearance in Kuala Lumpur.
Here it is, then, the final Porsche 918 Spyder to be produced:
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.