Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

We can afford to be forensic because performance, above anything, is at the heart of the 918. It doesn’t disappoint.

The 918’s in-gear performance is unrivalled. What’s so astonishing is not just the pace but also the flexibility afforded by its rampant electric motors’ instant torque. To accelerate from both 20mph to 40mph and 30mph to 50mph in second gear, a 918 Spyder needs 1.0sec. A P1 wants 1.3sec and 1.1sec over the same marks.

The 918 has 280lb ft more than a McLaren P1. It's 25 per cent quicker than the McLaren from 30-70mph in 4th gear

A P1 pulls out a couple of tenths here or there over each 20mph increment towards the top end of their respective rev ranges – partly because the P1 is shorter geared and partly because the 918 is heavier. But even so, the 918 is hardly outclassed: a P1 will go from 110mph to 130mph in fourth gear in 1.9sec, the 918 in 2.2sec. And whereas a P1 will then bang on its limiter before reaching 140mph, the 918 goes on to more than 160mph.

Through the gears, the two are more closely matched still. The pair record an identical standing quarter mile of 10.2sec and standing km of 18.2sec – only 0.1sec and 0.2sec respectively slower than a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. But the Porsche’s all-wheel-drive traction allows it to match the Veyron’s 0-60mph time, which it reaches in 2.6sec.

At 535bhp per tonne, the 918 might look (relatively) limp besides a P1 (606bhp per tonne) or Super Sport (644bhp per tonne). But be in no doubt: it walks tall, even in the highest of performance leagues.

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Its power delivery impresses, too. This thinly veiled RS Spyder engine has a response – and makes a noise – that’s the envy of its turbocharged rivals, and the electric motor chimes in with just the right kind of whinnies and whistles. And in EV mode only, the 918 can cover 0-60mph in 6.6sec.