The Porsche 918 Spyder is like no other hybrid on the road, promising Bugatti-like performance in a package capable of better fuel economy than a Toyota Prius. Here's an exclusive look at how they build their 887-horsepower, $800,000 flagship plug-in hybrid hypercar.
When I asked if we could visit the Porsche Factory we didn't even realize that production had started on the 918 Spyder so I got a rather nice surprise when the chap showing us around suddenly seemed a bit excited when he asked us "Would you like to see the 918 production?"
You all loved the McLaren factory tour so much I thought you'd enjoy seeing this, so I enthusiastically replied "I'd love to!"
The 918 Spyder is a hand-crafted car and the production team who build it are hand-picked from the best production staff Porsche employs. Each part of the interior is made of super lightweight materials that are then covered in lovely leather by the man you see below.
Every 918 Spyder starts life as a carbon fiber tub that's then built up.
This is what the 4.6L V8 head looks like before any other parts get added.
Further along the production line we find an engine looking much more complete with the differential and electronics connected.
The exhaust which comes out of the engine lid is an absolute work of art
Further on from the engine being completed we find the chassis it's to be attached to being prepared for the "marriage" (this is what the Porsche people call it) of the engine and chassis.
The interior is starting to look a lot more complete in this car.
We were surprised to see the key is the same as a 991 911, we hope the 918 owners don't get confused!
The next 918 is actually starting to look like a car with the engine all in, brakes and suspension attached on the front and back.
Any self-confessed car geek should get a buzz looking at this, so many nice mechanical bits! The quality of the work really is impressive on this car when you look in close. It's a shame most people will never get to see a 918 up close like this.
Seeing the car with the bodywork off really makes you appreciate the attention to detail that Porsche go into when engineering a car.
This is the underside of the car; You can see orange of the Hybrid system to give you an idea of where the modules are. Of course, it's all as low as possible which makes the car handle so well.
Porsche makes use of jigs to make sure everything aligns perfectly. Brakes are rather large, too, and all are green to signify the car is a Porsche Hybrid.
The next stage on the production line has some wheels and it's starting to look like a car, of course without any bodywork. The bodywork is all attached to the chassis of the car after this stage which means that the bodywork can all be super lightweight carbon fiber. The Carrera GT worked the same way.
The next step on the production line is quite a big step, it's a complete 918 Spyder! Of course it's not 100% complete, it needs programming, checking and testing before it'll be ready
The exhaust is like nothing I've ever seen on any other car, and this photo also shows what the car looks like with the spoiler down.
After the programming has been done, they then drive the car on electric power back into a "Top Secret" zone. Luckily, we got to oggle and photograph this complete car before it drove off into the lift
We caught this 918 just as the lift was closing. It's awesome!
Big thanks to Porsche for showing us around, what an impressive car and experience.
Photography and Story by GFWilliams