There's something right about a Porsche wearing this look.
What It Is: The worst-kept secret in the industry. Porsche whets our appetite and draws further attention to its 918 hybrid supercar with a Martini Racing sticker kit. It is far more expensive and powerful than any 911; think modern-day Carrera GT. The car is inching toward production and the styling is finalized, although details such as the production taillights are still missing. (We’ve had a chance to go for a ride in a prototype version of the 918 and found the car to be pretty impressive.) As a bonus, these pictures show two-time rally world champion Walter Röhrl at the wheel; he’s not the biggest fan of hybrids. Will the 918 convert him?
Why It Matters: The 918, a pet project of former Porsche R&D chief Wolfgang Dürheimer, is a technology showcase that allows the brand to experiment with the application of highly advanced hybrid technology. Three torque sources—two electric motors and an internal-combustion engine—will work in concert to achieve "record-setting" performance. The 918 also is supposed to trigger interest in and acceptance for hybrid technology among sports-car enthusiasts, many of whom still are wary of electron-fed propulsion.
Platform: The Porsche 918 uses a standalone, mid-engine platform that shares only a few parts with the 911 and the Boxster and Cayman. Down the road, the architecture could be adopted for a conventionally powered supercar positioned between the 911 and the 918.
Powertrain: The 918 will be powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V-8 that boasts 570 hp and a 9000-plus-rpm redline. An electric motor at the rear axle makes around 120 hp, while the electric motor up front generates around 110 hp. Porsche promises total system power of at least 770 hp.
Competition: Audi R8 e-tron, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo Replacement, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell
What Might Go Wrong: We are sure Porsche's R&D team will master the extreme technical challenges, but market success is another topic. Porsche says that up to 918 units will be made; if they sell quickly, a fixed-roof version (this one has a removable top) could follow, and a 918 RSR could go racing.Estimated Arrival and Price: The Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid will go into production at 9:18 a.m. on September 18, 2013. Deliveries should begin by early 2014, at a price around $850,000. Martini Racing livery, we suspect, will be on you.