Porsche 918: 78mpg and a Nurburgring time of 6:57

Porsche 918 Spyder cutaway
Porsche 918 Spyder cutaway

Fuel economy isn’t usually a concern for supercars, but Porsche’s new 918 Spyder will supposedly show a Prius what’s what. Back when Porsche first released the 918 Spyder concept, they claimed it would be able to do 78mpg — the world laughed at the idea. Well now, with the production car finally released at the Frankfurt Motor Show , they are holding fast to that claim, so one must presume they have done a few tests that confirm it is possible.

The 918 Spyder can also produce 887hp, but certainly not at the same time it is doing 78mpg. Yes, the choice will be yours from the driver’s seat. While I’m sure that few will actually bother trying to best a Prius in MPG with that sort of power on tap, it is nice to know you can if you want to. The 918 Spyder allows you to have your cake and eat it too, and that is not something true of most similar such cars.

What’s more incredible, and relevant, is that the 918 Spyder has lapped the Nurburgring in just 6:57, making it the fastest production car in the world around that most legendary of circuits. The emphasis of the new generation of hypercars seems to be on actual pace, rather than the childish notion of straighten speed alone. Sure, it’s great that a Veyron can scratch 270mph, but that sort of performance is entirely unusable in both the real world and at 99% of the world’s race tracks. Handling, braking, and acceleration, on the other hand, are entirely useful in a variety of settings, and that is why the 918 Spyder, and its competition, will prove to be extremely effective.

The mighty Bugatti Veyron, despite its huge power, cannot even get near the 918’s Nurburgring time of 6:57. In fact, the best time I could find for a Veyron was 7:40 (Wheels magazine Australia, 12/05). I think this shows the point of the 918 Spyder well, pace and efficiency (regarding speed) take precedence over top speed bragging rights.

Porsche 918 Spyder we saw at The Quail Porsche 918 Spyder Exhaust

The point here is that the 918 Spyder is one incredible machine, and seems to be everything Porsche had originally promised us and more. I’m sure that fuel economy figure will be tested by more than a few media outlets in the near future, so we will find out what is possible. I can picture the opening sequence now, something along the lines of “I’ve just been handed the keys to an 887hp supercar, but my boss is forcing me to drive it slow and measure its fuel economy…. boo :(”

Even if the 918 gets half of the mileage that Porsche has claimed, it will still be an incredible achievement. At the very least, though, it has set a new Nurburgring record for a production car. No matter which way you cut it, Porsche seems to have hit the mark with the 918 Spyder.

Why is this all important? Well, because one day the 918’s hybrid system will be available on a Golf, hopefully a diesel, and a bunch of other normal cars. And if they can get a 200mph supercar to do 78mpg, they sure as hell can get a golf to do more than 100mpg. This is progress people, wonderful, beautiful progress.

-Nick Walker

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