It’s an inevitable comparison, the next generation of hypercars will be compared to the previous generation of hypercars. The Porsche 918, Porsche’s super sports car of the 21st century was driven by Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe, and in typical automotive journalism fashion, he compared the Porsche 918 to another car – the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. His conclusion, that the 918 was most likely the faster car around a track that the Veyron Super Sport. It’s a pretty bold claim, and one the Sutcliffe couldn’t backup as he didn’t have a Super Sport to test side-by-side with the 918. Nonetheless, it speaks to how highly Sutcliffe regards the 918 to compare it to one of the world’s fastest production cars every built.
Of course, the 918 is built to achieve different objects than the Super Sport, the 918 is a car designed to set blistering lap times around a racetrack (thus the 918’s driving dynamic option called “hot lap”) while the Bugatti Super Sport was designed to ensure Bugatti would hold on to the title of producing the world’s fastest road car. Where the Porsche is nimble and perhaps a little edgy, the Bugatti is more stable at ridiculously high speeds (think 220 mph plus) but less agile than the Porsche.
The 918 uses a combination of two electric motors, one mounted above the front axle, the other mounted to the rear axle, and a mid-engine mounted naturally aspirated 4.6 liter V8 engine that together produce a total of 887 horse power and 940 lb-ft of torque. This allows the Porsche to reach 60 mph in under 2.8 seconds (or .3 seconds slower than the Super Sport) and tops out at 215 mph. With a redline of 9,100 rpm the Porsche produces a terrifically frantic engine note, a sound further improved thanks to the car’s top mounted exhaust pipes.
The 918 has 5 driving settings, an all electric mode, hybrid, sport hybrid, race hybrid, and hot lap. The car can dial up or dial down power output depending on how the driver is using the car at the time. The Porsche uses regenerative breaking and an AC or DC charging plug to replenish its batteries.
But perhaps the most telling part of the 918 to be gleaned from Sutcliffe’s review (see below) is the ease with which the 918, piloted by a former BTCC driver of average skill, can stay with a 991 Porsche Turbo S piloted by legendary Porsche racing driver Whalter Röhrl.