Feature Flick: Hypercar Evolution

Few automakers go above and beyond the call of duty of basic transportation with high-performance models showcasing the pinnacle of their technological advancement. This episode of The Downshift explores an upcoming wave of hypercars that all use advanced hybrid drivetrains – namely the 2015 Acura NSX, the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari, the2014 McLaren P1, and the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder.

Designers and engineers from all four brands comment on the development of the Acura, Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche hypercars in this video and explain the importance of new technologies for the upcoming flagship models of their respective brands.

Chief engineer of the upcoming second-generation Acura NSX Ted Klaus says that the key for automakers developing advanced, high-powered hybrid systems is producing an integrated driving experience, something that he says Acura will focus on for the new 2015 NSX. Chris Goodwin, chief test driver for McLaren, agrees, saying that while different automakers may take different paths on the way, they often end up with a similar result, something that seems to be true with these hybrid hypercars.

In an interesting twist, technical senior vice president of Ferrari Roberto Fideli explains how the company is adapting to new technology without compromising Ferrari’s core values. Fideli says that the 2014 LaFerrari does not run purely on the electric motor because the sound of a Ferrari engine is one of the most important parts of any vehicle from Maranello, and a car that can run on purely electric power at times compromises the auditory experience.

Although gasoline-electric hybrids are best known for their fuel efficiency and money saving potential, these brands are taking the idea behind hybrids and putting it to a different purpose. Despite environmental concerns looking forward, project leader for the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Dr. Frank Walliser is optimistic that high performance can survive because of the potential afforded by this type of technology. Electric motors in combination with powerful, turbocharged gasoline engines can not only increase overall power, but also enhance drivability and responsiveness for hypercars like these.

Check out the video below to see the cars in action and hear about four different approaches to building a hypercar.

Source: YouTube Click here for video

Powertrain Net power output Price Top Speed
2014 McLaren P1 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 hybrid system 903hp $1.15 million 218mph
2015 Acura NSX 3.7-liter V-6 hybrid system 480hp (est.) $130,000 (est.) N/A
2014 Ferrari LaFerrari 6.3-liter V-12 hybrid system 951hp $1 million (est.) 200+mph (est.)
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder 4.6-liter V-8 hybrid system 887hp $845,000 213+mph (est.)

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