Caught in a legalweb
Despite the hype around the 918 Spyder, Australia will miss out, writes Paul Gover
THE Porsche 918 Spyder is a goer. An overwhelming global reaction to the German sports car specialist’s first hybrid supercar has provided the power for a production go-ahead. So that’s the good news. But the bad news for Australia is there is zero chance of local sales.
The 918 will only be built in lefthand drive and the only Aussies with a hope of landing one of the production cars— probably 918 to match its type number — are collectors who do not plan to drive it on local roads.
Michael Winkler, managing director of Porsche Cars Australia, says: ‘‘The reality is that the market here would be extremely limited. And we are the only right-hand-drive market in the world where you cannot register a left-hand-drive car.
‘‘So it’s left-hand drive only.’’
Winkler says there were several strong responses in Australia to the car and he still sees the potential for a couple of sales.
‘‘Collectors will always be interested,’’ he says.
The 918 Spyder is the spiritual successor to Porsche’s previous roadgoing supercar, the Carrera GT.
Few details have been made public but it’s expected to launch with a 0-100km/h sprint time of less than four seconds and a top speed in the 300km/h region.
But, just as importantly, Porsche says the 918 will have fuel consumption of around 3 litres/100km and CO emissions of only 70g/km.
Porsche has only built a single 918 Spyder for motor-show display work and Winkler says the real work on its plug-in hybrid drive system is just about to begin.
He forecasts a minimum three-year development time. ‘‘The motor-show car works. But it’s very much prototype components,’’ Winkler says.
‘‘The production date hasn’t been set yet, but there is some detailed development work still to be done, particularly in the battery technology and the cost of that technology.
‘‘If you produced the car today the cost would be prohibitive. But in three or four years’ time things will have improved. Development is going ahead in leaps and bounds, and it takes that long anyway to get some of those components reliable enough for everyday use.’’
Fanfare: there has has been huge interest in Porsche’s hybrids (clockwise, from left): the 911 GT3, Cayenne S and the 918 Spyder.