Porsche’s 887 hp, 211 mph 918 Spyder puts a charge in gas-electric motoring…
No car, it seemed, was worthy of the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid’s introductory hype and hyperbole, the early bravos and ballyhoo, the three-plus years of premature applause. But driving is believing, and this car deserved every hurrah of its buildup. At its global media launch late last year in Valencia, Spain, on the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, the 918 demonstrated power and performance equal to those of its hyper hybrid contemporaries: Ferrari’s LaFerrari and McLaren’s P1.
The driver-friendly 2.4-mile, 12-corner track is a regular host to European MotoGP motorcycle events and Formula 1 team test-drives. On this day in December, however, it belonged to Porsche-employed drivers in new 911 Turbo S models and six U.S. journalists, each piloting a 918. The pre-drive meeting was brief, and none of the instructions was negotiable: No passing allowed; just follow in a line behind the 911 Turbos—let those drivers show you the correct lines; and try to keep up with them.
That final directive seemed daunting. After all, these were professional drivers aboard Porsche’s fastest 911s, and we were amateurs motoring in unfamiliar cars around a strange circuit. But within two or three laps, the pros were being tailgated into mild understeer, while the 918 drivers were braking later and diving deeper into the corners and even backing off to avoid bending the Turbos’ tailpipes. On the pit straight, the event became a bumper-to-bumper 150 mph motorcade.