ALONG CAME A SPYDER: Record-breaking Porsche 918 at Scottsdale 2016
A spectacular 2015 Porsche 918 e-hybrid Spyder Weissach Edition (Lot #1392) roared across the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale block in January – for the first time in the history of the auction company – and broke a record.
The eyes of the collector car world focused on the Barrett-Jackson auction block in January 2016 when a 2015 Porsche 918 e-hybrid Spyder Weissach Edition (Lot #1392) with only 595 original miles was offered for auction for the first time in the history of the auction company. With global interest in Porsches of all types and years reaching fever pitch, there was a fierce bidder struggle for this seldom-seen example of the breed. The resulting sale was a published auction record.
First unveiled in September 2013 at that year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, by December 2014 every last one of the 918 units had been sold. By June 2015, the final cars had been assembled and were en route to happy customers the world over. Despite dealer and broker cries for more, Porsche stood firm. With production capped at 918 units, there would be no more.
Today, the fortunate few with a 918 e-hybrid Spyder tucked away in the garage realize their luck and are rarely tempted to let them go. That’s what made this Barrett-Jackson offering so special.
The excitement over the 918 e-hybrid Spyder is thoroughly justified. For, unlike traditional supercars, Porsche rewrote the rules with the 918’s hybrid gas/electric powertrain. Supplementing its mid-mounted, 608hp, naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8, a pair of electric motors add another 154hp to the rear wheels and another 125hp to the front wheels. Taken together, the driver has access to 887hp and quarter-mile sprints in the nine-second range at 145 mph.
Top speed is 210 mph and the hard-to-impress magazine test teams at Motor Trend and also Car and Driver registered a 2.2-second 0-to-60 mph sprint, the quickest result either publication has ever achieved. So potent is the 918 Spyder that the previous “supercar” designator reserved for tip-of-the-spear exotics seems lame and tepid. Pundits are now calling the 918 a hypercar, as mere words struggle to define this merger between aerospace and earthbound technologies.
Being a Porsche, cornering and braking prowess are equally impressive. Lateral forces in excess of 1.1 Gs verify its grip, and 60-to-0 mph deceleration takes a mere 94 feet – about six times the length of the 918’s carbon-fiber car body. Speaking of braking, the 918 features electro-mechanical brakes. The slowing wheels do double duty as electrical generators to recharge the onboard 312-cell, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack.
When they aren’t contributing to blistering acceleration, the supplemental electric motors can deliver the city/highway equivalent of 67 mpg in all-battery mode. And thanks to advancements like direct injection, the V8 acquits itself very well with a 22-mpg EPA certified combined city/highway rating. And remember, the 608hp 4.6-liter V8 is naturally aspirated and there are no turbochargers in the equation, a detail that makes Porsche’s accomplishment all the more stunning.
Beyond its astonishing performance, the Porsche 918 e-hybrid Spyder marks a turning point in the hybrid vehicle world. Though previously seen as austere, soul-less transportation modules for folks more concerned with ecology than motoring fun, Porsche has proven that gas/electric hybrid drivetrains – and their related technology – point the way forward. As government (and moral) mandates shift us more and more away from traditional modes of ground transport, if the future looks anything like the 918 e-hybrid Spyder, fun and responsibility are sure to go hand in hand.
As Porsche’s first retail-ready effort at combining e-hybrid technology with world-class performance capability, the 918 Spyder hypercar is sure to be a highly sought-after item among drivers, collectors and investors alike. This first-ever auction block offering at Barrett-Jackson set the tone for future trading of this unique species.
–Written by independent automotive journalist Steve Magnante