Porsche 918; Groundbreaking Innovation

What’s there to say about this fine piece of German engineering that hasn’t already been said? Acting as The successor to the much sought after Carrera GT, the 918 is a step towards the future of supercars. Long gone are the days of the big thirsty naturally aspirated V12s and V10s we’ve all grown to love. With the great success of all the turbo charging going on in the auto market- a proven way to promote fuel efficiency, while at the same time putting giant smiles on the car owners faces- it’s as if the top supercar makers in Europe are looking to start a new trend to keep the tree hugging wealthy satisfied (if such a title existed). Porsche has set out to answer two key concerns, the first to be faster (of course, nobody wants to be slow!) and two, to address the concerns of the future; will the future sports car be accepted?  Will people accept the direction that the supercar market is swaying? Porsche is trying to sway us in the right direction, and it seems to be working. We must understand that by adding the hybrid power you get different cars all in one package; a hybrid, an Electric Vehicle (EV) and a sports car, without having to sacrifice fuel consumption or driving pleasure. This gorgeous work of art, along with the likes of the McLaren P1, is the flagship into the new era of high performance exotics.

Once we get past the beauty of its form, we dive into the engine compartment, which houses the lightest V8 Porsche has ever made. Inspired by motorsport, but built from the ground up the 4.6L V8 has an output of 447kw equaling 608HP. The 918 has the highest power output per liter of any Porsche with a staggering 97 kw or 132hp per liter. The 4.6 liter naturally aspirated engine is joined by 2 electric motors which put out an additional 210kw, or 286hp for e-boost, electric all wheel drive and pure electric driving. The specially designed battery sits low in the vehicle, for even greater weight distribution.

The 918 has a set of high performance hybrid brakes, which uses recuperation to recover energy from the 2 electric units, thus allowing for sharper braking under pressure. The vehicles charge unit can be applied to an external electric supply.

The combined three power units have a total output of 652 kw or 887 hp, meaning the 918 can be jettisoned from 0-100 km in a mind blowing 2.8 seconds. The 918 has a top speed of 343km and a max torque 1280 nm. The Porsche 918 has a combined fuel consumption of 3.3-3.0 liters per 100km.

The Porsche 918 comes complete with 4 different driving modes plus a hot lap option; all of which control the way the V8 and electric motors interact. First of the 4 settings is the “E-power” mode which is ideal for city driving because it works on electric power only and uses combustion engine solely when needed. Next of the power options is the “Hybrid” mode, utilizing both the electric and combustion engine alternately with focus on fuel consumption. The third option is the “Sport hybrid”, which makes full use of the combustion engine while the electric motor is used exclusively for boosting. In the fourth option, known as “Race hybrid”, boost performance of the electric motor is further increased. While in the hot lap configuration, all 3 of the 918s engines unleash maximum performance. While down below in the gearbox, gears are changed like in motorsport, at a rate of 50 milliseconds with the help of Porsches brilliant dual clutch PDK gearbox.  As an added bonus, Porsche utilizes top exit exhaust pipes for the first time in production history to allow the engine to breathe freely and for more power output and torque.

The 918 has a weight distribution of 57 in the back 43 in the front,  which is optimum for a car like this and very similar to that of the RS Spyder, which has one numerous competitions. In addition to that, it has a complete carbon fiber frame, thus making it 100 kilos lighter than the Carrera GT and 50-80 kilos plus compared to the GT3 and GT2. The tires are special made by Michelin which showcase a fully functional economic tire and combines that with superb gripping capabilities, which increase both fuel efficiency and performance.

To summarize the Porsche 918, I have to say that not only is it one of the most beautiful cars set to be produced, but it is just absolutely breathtaking to see what the future holds for us car enthusiasts in terms of efficient dynamics and power delivery. This may not be the Jetsons, but damn it’s just as exciting!

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