Written by Eric Becker
It’s more laboratory than factory, a former paint shop retooled, repurposed and located diagonally opposite the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen. This is the facility where Porsche builds the 918 Spyder, a hybrid of a different sort. The color white dominates the walls, ceilings and floors, broken only by the two walls on either end and the words of Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche written on the walls: “We are not satisfied with building a sports car that is simply sporty.”
Painted in white over Acid Green, the signature color for Porsche’s hybrid vehicles, this mantra is a reminder that this car doesn’t need to demand attention; it’s already a spectacle, a concentrated bundle of technology woven together by Porsche’s brightest minds. The car had to look great and come with unrivalled technology. What’s more, it needed to be a paragon of efficiency, a model that was forward-looking but above all realistic. It did all that and more.
“The car can do unimaginable things,” said legendary German racing champion and Porsche development driver Walter Röhrl. “I have worked on three Porsche supercars: the 959, the Carrera GT and the 918 Spyder. But the 918 is in a league of its own – it doesn’t represent further development, but rather a leap into the future.”
The 918’s unmistakable profile radiates presence, enough to captivate the eye for hours. Brimming with hypercar character yet unmistakably Porsche, even when stationary the curves and contours make it look as if it was tearing through the air at full tilt. And tear through the air it does. In 2013, the 918 blitzed the 7-minute mark around 13-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife, rounding all 154 corners in 6:57 seconds and setting the automotive publishing world ablaze. The hybrid hypercar had arrived.
Using technology from Porsche’s motorsport division, the 918 is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 engine derived from the RS Spyder LMP2 race car paired with Porsche’s 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. The high-revving flat-plane crank V8 bellows from the signature top-exit exhaust and produces 608hp at 8,700 rpm while working in concert with two electric motors located on both the front and rear axles. The two electric motors produce a combined 282hp, allowing the plug-in hybrid 918 to cruise in all-electric mode at no louder than a whisper. That is, until you open the taps, disappearing into the horizon as the total power output of 887hp and 944 ft/lbs of torque pins you to the carbon-fiber bucket seats and catapults you into tomorrow. So quick is Porsche’s “hybrid” that in an independent test by Car and Driver, the all-wheel drive Porsche hit a 0-60 mph time of 2.2 seconds, ripped through the quarter-mile in 9.8 seconds and reached an overall top speed just shy of 220 mph. Perhaps most astounding, the 918 will return an EPA-rated hybrid equivalent of 67 mpg.
Shedding speed is a non-issue as massive 16.1-inch carbon-ceramic brake rotors that offer the dual benefit of slowing the 3,715-pound hypercar down as well as adding a bit of charge back to the electric motors via regenerative braking. The 918 rides on magnesium wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin rubber, and the wheels measure 20×9.5 inches at the front and 21×12.5 inches at the rear.
Offered with No Reserve at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, this 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is #449 of only 918 produced, and one of the final 2015 918s delivered. Finished in white over a Garnet Red leather interior with silver piping, the 918 presents with 363 actual miles as of this writing. Packaged neatly in the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque chassis are all the various and assorted luxury trimmings you’d expect from Porsche’s finest: An 11-speaker Burmester surround sound system, full interior carbon-fiber package, front-axle lift system, climate control and wonderfully theatrical “start engine” button found in race-car fashion on the steering wheel.
Developed with the ambition of being the sports car of the future, the Porsche 918 Spyder makes for a wonderful addition to any collection. This 918 sits poised, ready to devour the open road and show the winning bidder just what the future of performance can do.