With its redline at 9200 rpm, the normally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 develops at least 495 hp, more than in the RS Spyder but less than the V-10 fitted to the Carrera GT. Although the 918 Spyder weighs 3285 pounds and thus 240 pounds more than its predecessor, the quoted 0-to-62-mph acceleration time of 3.2 seconds beats the previous supercar by 0.7 second.
Porsche’s computer simulations have the XG10 lapping the Nürburgring in 7 minutes, 30 seconds -- again beating that 605-hp legend, if only by two seconds.
“That’s what four-wheel drive does for you,” quips Gernot Döllner. “As far as top speed goes, we’re quoting 199 mph. The car could in fact go quite a bit faster, but to do so it would require more downforce, which in turn means more drag. Such a move would not be in-line with the underlying green message.”
While the Carrera GT had a drag coefficient of 0.39, the 918 is expected to check out of the wind tunnel at 0.34.
In parallel-hybrid rear-wheel-drive mode, the superclever Porsche can run on gasoline, on electricity, or on a combination thereof. The front wheels, though, are driven on demand by the so-called electric portal axle. The four-wheel torque-vectoring system is tuned for optimum traction, stability, and handling. If required, the mighty V-8 can even act as a supersize range extender -- by driving the rear electric motor, which in turn supplies the lithium-ion batteries. In E-mode and with the batteries fully charged, a feather-footed driver can achieve a zero-emissions range of up to sixteen miles. The plug-in charge time varies from two to seven hours, depending on the available voltage. The green-colored brake calipers advertise the energy-regeneration system, which feeds the battery pack behind the seats. The energy cells are also charged when the vehicle is coasting.
A selector attached to the steering wheel chooses among the five different drivetrain operating modes. Electric mode, which drives the front wheels only, is ideally suited for the brief commute between home and freeway. To avoid running out of juice, the so-called driving-range manager will always keep an eye on the nearest charge point, which lights up on the navigation screen. H as in hybrid is the mode of choice in dense urban traffic or in areas where speed limits apply. S stands for sport-hybrid. This is an expressively dynamic setup that prioritizes four-wheel drive with a rear-wheel bias. R denotes race-hybrid and should be used only on circuits where vehicle dynamics are automatically calibrated for the sharpest responses and the most focused performance. Last but not least, the red E-boost button adds a few seconds of unspecified extra oomph for that überaggressive passing maneuver.