Porsche 918 Spyder pictures and hands-on
The Porsche 918 Spyder, unveiled in production form at the IAA 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, is perhaps the answer to a question no one asked. So, we'll create one for it.
Let's pretend you've got the best part of a million quid to spend. On a car. You're not Ferrari's friend, so can't get a La Ferrari. And a McLaren P1 just ain't your thing. You want a lot of horsepower - and we mean a lot. And you want something exclusive but not quite so crazy it will attract the wrong kind of attention. Oh, and you'd like it not only to be powerful, but environmentally friendly when you fancy it, too? Well, the 918 Spyder is clearly the car for you.
And while we know that all sounds a bit sarcastic, seen up close, touched and poked, the 918 is in truth fairly incredible. Some numbers and figures first. It costs from £660,000 - a good few hundred grand less than the aforementioned McLaren and Ferrari. Which is the sort of change you could buy a small yacht with, or a thousand iPhone 5Cs.
Like the Ferrari and the McLaren, the Porsche is also a hybrid. In total, it kicks out 887 horsepower (no, that's not a typo). That's made up of 608hp from the 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine and 286hp produced from no fewer than three electric motors.
All that power means it runs to 62mph in a tear your face-off 2.8 seconds. But arguably the more exciting bit is that you can run it in full electric mode up to 90 miles an hour. And you'll be able to travel 10-20 miles on electric power alone. Porsche will even sell you a fast charge unit so you can charge the battery up most of the way in around half an hour.
But enough of the numbers, just look at it. Not only has Porsche managed to stay faithful to the 918 concept, it's delivered on the details too. This is a production car, not a concept. Those lamps, front and rear - are real. The spoiler hoiks itself up via a pair of giant rams - and you can control it from the centre touchscreen. There are scoops and air vents everywhere you look - including the one mid-way down the bodyside, needed to feed air to the engine and batteries - and which makes the Porsche look like someone's trying to fit the front of the car into the back half, like a Russian doll.
Our favourite features? The exhausts, which exit on the rear deck, right behind your head. And the fact that through the mesh on the deck above the engine bay, you can see the gold used as an insulator in the engine bay.
Step inside, and the excitement doesn't let up. The seat goes super-low as you might expect of a supercar, and ahead of you are three - not the usual five - Porsche dials. In here though, the outer two are digital screens. And they augment digital screen info that's on a cowl, behind the main gauges and a portrait touchscreen on the flying centre console, itself a bit of an homage to the Carrera GT that this car follows in its Porsche family lineage.
On this portrait screen you can control various car functions such as raising and lowering the spoiler, and have a secondary map display. And as our photo shows, there's a series of Apps too - which looks likely to signal Porsche bringing online its own version of something similar to BMW's ConnectedDrive technologies for the car and car owner's mobile.
Make sure you check out the tiny little gear selector where you might normally expect to find a key. And if that doesn't float your boat, perhaps the lashings of carbon fibre around the cabin, and the lime green details and piping on the seats will. Porsche is using this as a signature colour for its hybrid cars - which also features on this car's badging and brake callipers. Finally, check out the "fuel" filler caps. One on each side - right for the electric plug, left for the green nozzle at Shell.
Tough though it would be to choose between the La Ferrari, McLaren P1 and this car (which now make up almost a holy trinity of new-world hyper-cars), right now, if you were to allow us to try just one option briefly, we'd like take a spin in this Porsche. Call us mad, but that drivetrain - it's flexibility, three different modes of running and unbelievable performance - have us gagging for a try behind the wheel. No matter which one you most want a go in though, make no mistake that the digitised, green supercar is here.