Ever imagined a super car that gives mileage better than your hatchback or sedan? That could have only been possible in dreams or James Bond movies. But not anymore. Not just one, but two auto manufacturers are putting out their hybrid super cars that offer speed with mileage, the rarest of the combos. The Porsche 918 Spyder and the BMW i8 are going to take this world by storm, if the world is so rich to buy them at their present price point.
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor show, the Porsche 918 Spyder can reach 60mph in less than 2.8 seconds, while BMW’s futuristic i8 takes less than 4.4 seconds to reach the same speed.
But the sleek sports cars are designed to be fuel efficient as well as fast. Porsche’s Spyder can also do 72 miles per gallon and is almost a third more fuel efficient than the Toyota’s Prius, while the BMW i8 is even less thirsty as it can manage 113 miles per gallon.
Porsche’s £537,000 offering is a carbon fibre supercar with a plug-in hybrid drive, making it the latest racing car manufacturer to try and make more eco-friendly cars sexy.
The company said: ‘Never before has a supercar designed for everyday use offered such an impressive dynamic performance combined with the fuel consumption of a compact car.’ It combines a combustion engine with an electric motor system to boost its performance.
The Spyder has a top speed of 211 miles per hour – 93mph when solely using the electric motor – and has a V8 engine, which combined with its electric capability, provides 887 horsepower. Wolfgang Hatz, member of the Porsche AG Board of Management in charge of research and development, said: ‘We promised a great deal with the 918 Spyder, namely to redefine performance, efficiency and driving pleasure. We have kept our word.’
When let loose around the famous racing circuit, Porsche said that the 918 Spyder completed the 12.8 mile track in just six minutes and 57 seconds. The hybrid car shaved 14 seconds off the previous Nurburgring record for a street-legal car, making it the fastest super car built for normal roads to race the course.
Dr Frank Walliser, head of the 918 Spyder project, said: ‘The radical hybridisation of the 918 Spyder from the very outset is what made this record possible. ‘The Nordschleife is and remains the toughest measure of a super sports car. Posting a time of 6:57 minutes, we have achieved a result of which the development team and everybody at Porsche can be rightly proud.’
BMW has finally taken the wraps off its much-teased hybrid supercar, which has a top speed of 155mph and is capable of doing 113 miles per gallon.
The futuristic i8 is the car manufacturer’s ‘most advanced’ sports car ever and is powered by a relatively small 1.5 litre turbocharged engine which, combined with an electric motor, generates 362 brake horsepower. This gives the plug-in hybrid a 0 to 62mph time of just 4.4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
While it is fast, the i8 also claims to be ‘green’ and emits just 59g/km of carbon dioxide as well as being fuel-efficient for a sports car. Power from the petrol engine goes to the rear wheels while the electric motor goes through the front. The car is capable of being driven in electric mode for 22 miles at a top speed of 75mph and BMW claims the i8 can have its battery charged from zero to 80 per cent in less than two hours.
When fully charged and with a full tank of fuel, the four-seat i8 can be driven for around 310 miles before needing to be topped up. BMW has been teasing the arrival of its more eco-friendly supercar for a long time with drawings of concept cars, but has now confirmed the car will go on sale in July next year and will cost £99,845.
Making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the distinctive car looks like a new member of the BMW family but has upwards-opening scissor doors and daring details like its ‘iBlue’ neon trim on the grille, ‘side skirts’ and back bumper.
Talking about the design, the company said: ‘The structure of overlapping and interlocking surfaces contributes to the unmistakable appearance of the BMW i8. This layering principle allows aerodynamic forms to be wrapped up in a progressively styled package.’ The body is made of carbon and aluminum and the mixture of colours apparently show off the way the air flows over the car, while its shape means there is no need for a spoiler.
The company said: ‘The new BMW i8 combines the performance of a sports car with the fuel consumption of a small compact car, boasting impressive efficiency and sustainability without forfeiting driving dynamics.
‘No compromises, but rather the optimal combination of driving pleasure and responsibility. ‘The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that brings together the advantages of electro-mobility and innovative engine technology. ‘The result is an extraordinarily dynamic driving experience – with extremely low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.’