Porsche 918 Spyder & 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
GREG CARLOSS: I’m behind the wheel of the Porsche 918 Spyder supercar, or hypercar, or super-duper-hypercar; whatever you want to call it. This thing is really, really fast. Really, really expensive. And, I’m driving it around a racetrack.
I am a very lucky guy as Porsche invited me and a small group of journalists from around the world to experience the high performance plug-in hybrid technology in the legendary 918 and the newly introduced Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo.
Now the 918 Spyder isn’t really news at this point. It’s been out for a few years, in fact, we even tested it. But, this is our first go at it on an actual racetrack. We’re here in Portugal at the Algarve Circuit and as much fun as I had on the street, it’s ten times more fun on the track. This is where a super car belongs.
The 918 uses a 4.6-liter naturally aspirated V8, whereas the Panamera uses a 4-liter twin-turbo V8. Still, the Panamera puts out 680-horsepower combined with the electric motor and it also uses only one electric motor, whereas this 918 uses two.
And that’s one of the things that Porsche has been focused on since the introductions of the first Panamera plug-in and the 918; to tweak and improve their EV technology wherever they can to make it more mainstream.
When the first 918 rolled off the assembly line, it was an $850,000 supercar that was obviously attainable by only a few. Now, in 2018 we’re seeing EV tech that the 918 pioneered trickle down into more of the Porsche lineup. Granted, it’s still 6-figures for this Sport Turismo, but it’s getting closer and closer to what the typical Porsche owner is willing to pay.
Eventually, they turned us loose for hot laps in both cars to see and feel the evolution in action.
The interesting thing about the 918 is while it’s this crazy advanced supercar with all this technology, there’s a bit of raw-ness with the engine sound coming in through the back. You’re still really connected to the road. There’s just so much about this car that blurs the line between technological advancement and old school fun.
After getting out of the driver’s seat of the 918 – against my will I might add – I hopped into the relatively “common” Panamera, neglecting the fact that it’s still the second most powerful Porsche model in their current lineup.
Now this is our second go around in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo and it lives up to the hype. There’s so much torque, so much power coming off of these corners. All wheel drive. So stable.
Now one thing that the Panamera is not is lightweight. This thing is still very, very heavy. The carbon ceramic brakes do a nice job of stopping it, but again, you still know that the weight’s there. Of course, 680-horsepower and all that electric boost certainly make things a little better.
So where does that put the Panamera? I mean it has, honestly, supercar numbers. But, it’s a Panamera. Most people just daily drive it to work. Could you really drive a supercar to work?...I probably could.
Sadly, my chances of actually daily driving even a more obtainable supercar like the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo are still slim considering the $188,000 price tag. But, with automakers like Porsche pushing performance and efficiency boundaries of plug-in hybrid electric technology, the odds are going up as fast as the prices are coming down.
Engine: 4.6 liter (918) / 4 liter (Panamera)
Horsepower: 680 (Panamera)
Price: $188,000 (Panamera)