Porsche 918 Spyder | PH Used Buying Guide

One third of the hybrid holy trinity, the 918 was a Porsche – and a hypercar – like no other

By Tony Middlehurst / Sunday, January 2, 2022 / Loading comments

Key considerations

  • Available for £1,100,000
  • 4.6-litre V8 plus twin electric motors, four-wheel drive
  • Tongue-bitingly, ear-steamingly rapid
  • You hardly have to slow down for corners
  • Beautifully understated and beautifully built
  • The Cheap 918 Train has left the station

Search for a used Porsche 918 Spyder here


Liam Gallagher might require the assistance of a few ales to explain exactly what a champagne supernova might be, but the regular supernova is an easier concept to grasp. In short, it’s a super-powerful explosion of a star that, in cosmic terms at least, happens in the blink of an eye.

Porsche’s 918 Spyder was a bit like that. The first one came off the line in September 2013, the last in June 2015. In automotive production terms 21 months is very much in eye-blink territory, but the big bang created by the Spyder is set to echo far and long into the years and decades ahead.

According to head of R&D Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche’s plan for the 918 was to create something at the extremes of performance and efficiency. What they ended up with in 2013, three years after the board gave approval to go ahead with the project, was an engineering tour de force made all the more remarkable by the fact that only one other hybrid – the Panamera S E-Hybrid – had worn the Porsche badge up to that point. It didn’t matter. Collective mouths were already watering at the 918’s basic engine spec – a normally aspirated, race-derived 4.6 litre flat-plane V8 producing 608hp at 8,500rpm – long before anyone got to the clever electrical stuff.

When the 918 became available for road testing it was immediately put up against the LaFerrari, another hypercar milestone from 2013. Like the Porsche, the Ferrari was an immensely powerful (963hp) hybrid, but it depended rather more on its 800hp 6.3 litre V12 than it did on its single 163hp electric motor. The Porsche’s 887hp was sourced from its 608hp engine and the 286hp from two electric motors. The front-axle electric motor was rated at 130hp and was decoupled by an electric clutch when it wasn’t needed. The back-axle motor had 156hp. The 6.8kWh battery sitting behind the passenger cell was twice the size of that used in either the LaFerrari or the McLaren P1, contributing to the Porsche’s big torque numbers. Battery charging was accomplished through braking/coasting regeneration or, more whimsically, via a plughole in the B-pillar.

The 918 wasn’t especially light, but Porsche’s peerless wizardry in matching power to performance ensured that it was in no way humbled by higher profile hypercars. The 918’s official 0-62mph time was 2.6sec, which would have matched the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport if independent testers hadn’t found Porsche’s claim to be overly modest. Diminishing returns bite very hard at this end of the performance spectrum. Every tenth chopped off is hard won and exponentially harder to achieve, but the Porsche regularly beat its factory claims. In the more traditional 0-60 test one US mag hit the 60mph mark from zero in just 2.2sec. Nought to a hundred came up in 4.9sec. Long after that speed it was still accelerating as violently as a Veyron. The Bugatti would march away from it at very high speeds, but if impressive VMaxes were really important to you the Porsche would go on to 215mph.

What made the car special, however, weren’t the Top Trumps numbers, but the overall completeness of the package. It was incredibly quick even when the front wheels weren’t pointing straight ahead. How quick? Well, in the month of its launch (September 2013) a Weissach Package car (more on that in a jiff) became the first sub-seven-minute production car around the Nürburgring, setting a new production record of 6min 57sec – a daft 14 seconds quicker than the previous record. Put that down to the easy amenability of the power and torque and to the excellence of the chassis, a composite (CFRP) tub and engine subframe attached to which were a tasty selection of forged aluminium wishbone suspension components that, like the engine, had originally seen service in Porsche’s 2005 RS racer.

The so-called Weissach Package should perhaps have been called the Weissach Lackage as it mainly involved removing bits to get the Spyder’s weight down by 41kg. Some of the weight-saving tricks were significant – magnesium alloy wheels accounted for 15kg – but others like carbonfibre shift paddles and bonnet struts, leather door pulls, ceramic wheel bearings and titanium chassis bolts were perhaps more effective as branding tools. In fairness there were grip-improving aero changes, too. Whatever, the overall result was 0.1-0.2sec trimmed off the 0-62 time and 10 per cent added to the price.

Alongside all that you had an official fuel consumption figure of 94mpg. OK, so that officially became 26mpg when you were only using the engine, but again testers found that the Porsche confounded expectations by easily recording 29mpg in normal use and, almost unbelievably, figures in the mid-40s on a steady cruise.

With such a gobsmacking selection of stats the 918 sounded like the perfect car. So, why we didn’t all buy one? Ah well, that bring us back to the not so small matter of the asking price, which in 2013 was £653,000 in the UK, 781,000 euros in Europe and $845,000 in the US – all before options. Plus, by the time the 2014 LA motor show came around in November, all the cars that were going to be built (918) had customer names against them. Eventually a waiting list was set up to re-route dropped orders.

Back in 2014 Wolfgang Hatz said that ‘for sure’ there would be a 918 successor at some point. He didn’t specify when, only that it would be within the next twenty years. How the appearance of such a thing will affect prices of the gen-one we’re looking at today is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that they’ve gone up. A 2015 Weissach Package car did sell at auction in June this year for 990,000 euro but that was an exceptionally high mileage specimen (at 20,000km!) that had had new paint and was going to go in for paint correction work before delivery to its next owner. On top of that, for whatever reason Porsche elected to change the engine under warranty in February 2015. Most cars on the used market (not that there are many) have smaller mileages and bigger prices. At the time of writing, those prices started at £1.1 million in the UK.

If you do get a 918, you’ll be in celebriddy company. Mark Webber collected his one directly from Stuttgart. Not sure whether he paid for it, though. Large-hatted muso Jay Kay had one until last month. https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1958847 If you think you would like to stick one into your stable and you have a suitably voluminous bank account, read on.


Engine: 4,593cc V8, 6.8kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm + 286 electric
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],600rpm (944 total)
0-62mph: 2.6 secs
Top speed: 215mph
Weight: 1,640kg
MPG: 94 (NEDC, 26 on engine alone)
CO2: 79g/km
Wheels (in): 9.5 x 20 (f), 12.5 x 21 (r)
Tyres: 265/35 (f), 325/30 (r)
On sale: 2013 – 2015
Price new: £653,000 (£712,000 Weissach Package)
Price now: from £1.1 million

Note for reference: car weight and power data are hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it’s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.


Porsche’s equivalent of Ferrari’s wheel-mounted manettino switch gave you a range of modes starting with E-Drive. A feathery touch on the throttle would permit up to 93mph in that mode, with just the right amount of space-age whining as an accompaniment. Just under 20 miles could be done purely on electric.

The next mode was Hybrid, in which all three power sources worked together in a sensible manner for what you might term ‘normal’ use, the V8 triggering when you prodded the throttle to the correct position. Sport Hybrid got the engine running continuously with the battery charge being maintained at a set level. It also sharpened up the throttle mapping, steering and gearchanges. Race Hybrid prioritised engine power for propulsion, with any excess IC power going to battery recharging. Pressing the manettino’s central red button while in Race mode gave you ‘Hot Laps’, which added more overtaking electricity to the mix by depleting any stored battery energy.

The 918’s dry-sumped aluminium, titanium and steel 4.6-litre had its roots in Porsche’s 2005 RS Spyder racer. It ran to over 9,100rpm through the hammer-strong, ridiculously fast, and ruthlessly efficient seven-speed PDK. In-gear thrust was monumental. 20-40mph and 30-50mph increments were despatched more quickly than even the mighty McLaren P1 could manage.

Judging by the mileages of the cars you see on sale, many 918 Spyder owners put fewer than 500 miles on their cars every year. Porsche knew that sort of thing was going to happen so they put a lot of work into designing a battery pack that would put up with infrequent usage. On that basis they reckoned that their 138kg battery pack would last for seven years. They said that eight years ago.

There was a global recall in 2015 for 918s built between February 2014 and April 2015 to remount a wiring harness for the radiator fan which could be damaged by a carbonfibre component. The fix was a tie wrap used to secure the harness to a coolant tube. 47 UK cars were affected.

Remembering that auctioned 918 we mentioned earlier, whose engine was replaced under warranty by Porsche, we don’t know how much a new 4.6 V8 would cost out of warranty in the UK; however, we found out that the cost of such an item in the US in 2017 was $265,000, which today would be just over £200k.


We mentioned the 918’s phenomenal straight-line speed in the last section of this piece. The handling, steering precision, and grip (up to 1.21g) were all off the hook, too. There was a locking rear differential plus electro-mechanical rear-wheel steering donated by the 991 GT3, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus on all four wheels to enhance turn-in, Porsche’s adaptive damping (PASM) system to smooth out ridges on bad roads and fully switchable ESP to enable tail-out track larks for the carefree driver. The big active wing sat flush with the rear deck at lower speeds, up and level at higher ones, or angled for downforce in sport modes. Aero flaps ahead of the front axle automatically opened to channel air to the rear diffuser.

That lot plus perfectly judged all-wheel drive meant minimal understeer, allowing the committed helmsperson to carry outrageous speed through corners and delivering sensations of delicacy and lightness that weren’t really part of the Veyron’s makeup.

The feel of the electrically (rather than vacuum) boosted PCCB ceramic brakes was perhaps the 918’s weakest link in everyday use but any qualms in that area were quickly forgotten in hard track sessions. Special Michelin Super Sport tyres were developed to keep the car away from the run-off areas, a job they did brilliantly, but continuous hard track driving brought fast shoulder wear.

In 2014 Porsche recalled some 918s after it was noticed that defective chassis parts had been used from a batch ‘whose functionality (could not) be permanently guaranteed’. No customers had made a complaint about it, but the affected cars were brought in for a two-day workover at no charge.

A year later there was another recall for cars built between May and June 2014 to check and replace rear axle control arms that could break. A year after that, in September 2016, front lower control arms that had shown a propensity to crack were replaced on 918s built between November 2013 and July 2015. Front axle lifting was a £7,150 option.


Carbonfibre reinforced bodywork and door panels was the only way to go for the Spyder; not just because Porsche had such a glittering history of similarly clothed racing vehicles, but also because the heft of the drivetrain and battery had created a genuine need to minimise weight elsewhere.

The CFRP targa roof panels fitted neatly into discrete slots in the front cargo space, so top-down motoring was entirely practical as long as you didn’t have much actual cargo – the panels took up most of the space. It was certainly highly enjoyable with the added din coming into the cabin from the exhaust tips positioned directly behind your nut. Chris Harris described the top-down noise as ‘like a 458 Spider switched to eleven’. When the roof was down you had a mini carbon wing to slot into the centre of the screen top rail.

If you wanted to fully admire your engine you more or less had to take the car to a dealer as there was no full-size engine cover to lift, just a small flap giving access to the engine oil filler cap. Getting into a 918 wasn’t that straightforward either, especially for larger folk, as the doors weren’t large and they opened conventionally, with no entry-easing butterfly or scissor action.

There was some muttering about the presence of stickers (rather than real paint) on the bodywork of Weissach Package cars, but that mainly came from non-owners. Anyone who was really concerned about getting the very best, or at least the most expensive, paint could pay £38,400 for a ‘liquid metal’ nine-coat job.

Dirt did get sucked through the intakes behind the front wheels and sprayed onto the sill panels. Stones were thrown onto the rear intake panels. There was only one windscreen wiper but it worked well.


This car was only available in left-hand drive, but on British roads you were never exposed in the overtaking lane for long enough for this to be a concern. Although the 918 went like a bat out of hell, it wasn’t as sparsely equipped as a bat. In fact it was perfectly civilised, with desirable everyday features like air-con, electric windows and sat-nav on the upper of the two screens. The curved, upwards-facing lower portrait format screen displayed vehicle settings and music selections from the 600w Burmester audio that most (if not all) 918s came with.

That whole console was blank with the car turned off, but sprang into virtual button life with it on. The main issue with it was reflection which obscured most of the info you might have been after.

On the left of the steering wheel there were three buttons. The top one was for cruise control, the middle one was ‘M’ for manual mode selection, and the bottom one had a lozenge graphic next to it and was dubbed the ‘joker’ button by Porsche. Using this allowed you to programme your infotainment in lots of interesting ways.

At one time 918 seats were being fitted to lesser Porsches because, well, they looked really cool and for most people they worked well as seats, but having said that not everyone got on with them. Lower back pain can generally be sorted by a semi-inflated air cushion or similar. It’s just a point worth mentioning. 2015MY cars were recalled to check that the right screws had been used to re-install or re-secure a seat belt mount or reel during a service.

In answer to your most pressing question, yes, there was a cupholder, a sturdy detachable item that sat high up on the side of the centre stack.


Somebody once said that Porsche’s greatest talent was in making the extraordinary ordinary. They did it with the 959 and then they did it again the 918. We’re excusing the Carrera GT here, not because it wasn’t extraordinary but because you could never fairly apply the word ordinary to any part of it.

The 918 was stealthier. Nobody really knew how amazing it was until the first wide-eyed and breathless road tests came in, at which point it became clear just what a superb job Porsche had done on marrying up cutting-edge EV tech with the marque’s established and granite-hard sporting attributes. But, even after Chris Harris had told us that piloting a 918 behind a new 991 Turbo S – that was clearly being flogged to the ragged edge by one of Porsche’s steely test drivers – was a pain because the 918 was constantly having to be backed off, there was no special rush to buy them.

For a while, until the penny dropped and the full production run had sold out, buying a new 918 was something you could do quite easily. Early on at least you just walked into a dealership and ordered one. Contrast that with Ferrari. In coupe and open-top Aperta forms the LaFerrari was part of the Ferrari range for five years. Just over 700 were made in that time. The 499 coupes sold out immediately. The 200 Apertas that came later were all pre-sold via invitation.

The 918 was much more of a slow burn. It had a lower profile than the Ferrari. Only when you got closer to it could you see the level of detail and quality that set it apart from normal cars. Only when you drove it did you realise that it lived in no other car’s shadow. It was an immensely capable car that didn’t constantly remind you of that fact.

You’d certainly be laughing today if you’d bought a 918 Spyder at the new-in-2013 price of £650,000 – £200k less than a P1 and more than £350k cheaper than a Koenigsegg – and kept it. Wise birds said at the time of its release that the 918 was the new Carrera GT and that it was actually a bargain. Turns out they were right. Today, of the four 918s on PH Classifieds, three are going for £1.1 million or more and the fourth is ‘POA’ (we’re guessing £1.2 million).

The most expensive PH Classifieds 918 is this 3,600-mile, 2015 Weissach Package car at £1.25 million. Judging by the £1.1 million being asked for this 3,000-mile non-Weissach car from the same year it suggests a Weissach used premium slightly above the 10 per cent that applied to the car when it was new. In between those two is this. It’s another 2015 car but with under 1,200 miles recorded. All we ask is, if you do get one, don’t just park it up.

Search for a used Porsche 918 Spyder here

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