Supercars. They all win, every time. We love them wherever they are; on flatbeds, on posters, on race tracks, in ditches. But this year produced a distinct ‘Veyron moment’, something we haven’t seen since the first Veyron moment in 2005, which is when the Veyron was launched.
The Porsche 918 Spyder. It’s stupendous, a huge leap in supercar, nay, hypercar evolution and the first production car to own the ’Ring in less than seven minutes. It’s also stunning in live carbon fibre. We’ve driven the prototype, had passenger rides, and tested the production model twice, so that gives us plenty of legitimacy to vote this as the winner.
During the most recent drive of the 918 in Spain I said, “The Ricardo Tormo circuit sits in a natural bowl, with the pits framing the main straight and a stadium grandstand enveloping the rest of the track. From the Porsche garage I can catch the liquid silver 918 Spyder lapping at the far end. It looks organic at speed, like a globule of mercury hurtling around inside a spoon. It’s just incredible to see and look at, so much like a contemporary German Silver Arrow.”
It really is a beautiful car, almost justifying its million-dollar price tag with design alone.
But thankfully you get much more for your million dollars: a carbon chassis, cut slicks, ceramic brakes, serious aero package, a race-derived naturally aspirated V8 engine mid-mounted and making 132 horsepower per litre. Then there are the electric motors elevating peak power to almost 900 horses.
It’s insane, yet also manageable even on a track with the mid-engined chassis shimmying and teasing precisely like a supercar should. Top speed is 345kph and 0-100kph comes up in 2.6 seconds.
Around town and in traffic it’s no more intimidating than a Boxster. And it’s got zero-emissions motoring capability, and it’s a hybrid. But definitely not for environmental reasons, which is straight out of the 918 project leader’s mouth. The 918 Spyder makes, say, a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster feel like a shopping trolley. Which it isn’t; it’s excellent, and in last place.
Second spot goes to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black, which we utterly adore since it’s significantly more focused and quicker and more raw than the base SLS, yet easier to drive hard. It’s brilliant and it will be a mega future classic. But still, it’s no Veyron moment…