The art of understatement is evidently not lost on the good people of Porsche. Quietly under-promising and then spectacularly over-delivering is a surefire way to produce very satisfied customers. Always has been; always will be.

It has worked a charm for Stuttgart’s sports car specialist for decades and continues to with the (whisper it) incredible 918 Spyder.

The word ‘hypercar’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the press kit for this car – not on Porsche’s website or in any of its promotional material.

Here is a car with hybrid-carbonfibre construction, a combustion engine and suspension set-up donated by a prototype racing car, and a petrol-electric ‘plug-in’ powertrain the likes of which the world has never seen.

Its ancestors are some of the greatest production and motorsport cars in history. From a conceptual point of view, the car is a descendent of the Carrera GT, the mid-engined supercar launched a decade ago. Before that, there was the street-legal version of the 911 GT1 built in tiny numbers during the 1990s.

Porsche’s use of plug-in tech in cars is much more recent. Only the Panamera E-Hybrid precedes the 918 in series production, although Porsche has spent the past few years dabbling in Williams-developed KERS systems for racing cars.

And yet, despite all of the above, we are to believe that this isn’t a rival for LaFerrari and McLaren’s P1?

Don’t believe it. The 918’s plug-in hybrid concept may make it a different ownership proposition from its million-pound rivals but, as you’re about to read, it’ll match them and more – on speed, grip, soul and thrill – in its wilder moments. Here’s how.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Porsche range

Driven this week

  • Dacia Duster 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    It's still not as refined as other SUVs, but in terms of sheer value the second-generation Duster is very much in a class of its own
  • Ford Ka+ Active 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    This SUV-inspired makeover for Ford’s city-friendly small car will find its fans, but the Ka+ Active doesn’t set any new benchmarks for the class
  • Suzuki Swift Sport 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    The Japanese hot hatch is all grown up in terms of character, technology and price, but is it still a fun-loving kid at heart? Let’s find out
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Shogun Sport 4
    First Drive
    21 June 2018
    Shogun Sport name returns to the UK, attached to a seven-seat 4x4 that, Mitsubishi hopes, deftly combines practicality, comfort and toughness
  • Ford Fiesta ST-Line 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    21 June 2018
    Does this version of Britain’s top-selling car have the substance to match its style?