If – and that's still a big if – Porsche makes the 918 Spyder, a hybrid-powered supercar that can bolt from standstill to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and run a top speed of 199 mph, then it would be the most expensive production vehicle the company has ever created. That's because Porsche is looking for 500,000 Euros a pop, which works out to $630,000 at the current exchange rate.
And the car will only be made if 1,000 firm orders come through. Not such an outlandish scenario, though, since 2,000 people have expressed interest in buying one, according to the Bloomberg financial news website. And 900 of those are serious, so a 918 reality is tantalizingly close.
Right now, the 918 Spyder is in that strange limbo world between concept car (it debuted at last March's Geneva Auto Show) and road-going reality. With a body made from lightweight yet super-strong carbon fiber, plus a drivetrain that includes a 500-horsepower V8, an electric drive system activated by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery and a seven-speed transmission, the car is claimed to achieve 78 mpg and run for 16 miles on electric power alone.
The technology is already there. Porsche has been running a hybrid-powered 911 GT3 at various races in Europe. A low-carbon dioxide future for Porsche is a good thing, according to Frank Biller, analyst at Landesbank Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. He feels the 918 Spyder could boost the carmaker's environmental credentials and potentially attract new buyers to the brand, which he cites as "Europe's worst gas guzzlers."
Almost 10 years ago, the most expensive production Porsche was the frankly awesome Carrera GT, a V10-engined, carbon fiber-bodied limited edition (1,500 were made). It cost around $570,000. At least it went on sale in North America. One can only assume/hope the same will happen with the 918 Spyder.