Bugatti Tourbillion's Potential Impact On The Successor To The Porsche 918
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Bugatti Tourbillion's Potential Impact On The Successor To The Porsche 918

The flagship V16 hypercar raises the hypercar bar with a hybrid twist. Could Porsche's upcoming halo car be next in line?

by Amreetam Basu on July 9, 2024, 08:30

The Porsche 918 Spyder was an absolute beast, a hypercar that debuted the plug-in hybrid system and set the bar high for both performance and efficiency. Now, as the world awaits with bated breath for its successor, an unexpected muse emerges from the world of Bugatti: the Tourbillon. While the Tourbillon’s mind-blowing naturally aspirated V16 will remain its exclusive powertrain, could its more potent hybrid system hold the secrets to Porsche’s next hypercar adventure?

Imagine a naturally aspirated engine with a smaller footprint and fewer cylinders, paired with a cutting-edge set of axial flux motors. This potent combination could deliver the raw power and exhilarating performance we expect from a Porsche, while also pushing the boundaries of efficiency far beyond what the 918 Spyder achieved back in 2013. The Tourbillon’s hybrid system, with its advanced energy management and a fairly large 25 kWh battery pack, ensures an extended all-electric range (37 miles).

It’s been almost a decade since the final Porsche 918 Spyder rolled off the production line, but we still await its successor. Now that the Tourbillon has made its debut, we wonder if Porsche could adopt some of the electrical hardware to develop its next Halo hypercar since the German automaker now holds a 45 percent stake in Bugatti-Rimac.

The 918 Spyder was the most efficient hypercar amongst the holy trinity

Bugatti Tourbillion's Potential Impact On The Successor To The Porsche 918 storyboard - image 185485

As the pioneer of plug-in hybrid hypercars, the Porsche 918 Spyder features a 4.6-liter naturally aspirated flat-plane V8 derived from the carmaker’s LMP2 Le Mans racer and a set of electric motors. The first electric motor is placed on the front axle, and another is positioned at the rear, which directly supplements the V8 engine. Together, this trio of powerhouses unleashes 887 horsepower and 944 pound-feet of torque.

All that power is delivered through a lightning-fast seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and Porsche’s all-wheel-drive system grips the road like a spider on caffeine. Amongst the holy trinity, i.e. the Porsche 918 Spyder, the La Ferrari, and the McLaren P1, the Porsche is the only one to feature AWD. Now, by today’s standards where you have 1000 horsepower all-electric sedans, the 918 Spyder’s 887 horsepower may not sound that impressive, but it can still propel Porsche’s hybrid hypercar to 60 mph in an impressive 2.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 214 mph..

Of course, those e-motors need juice, and the 918 Spyder’s 6.8 kWh battery pack delivers enough of it. According to the EPA, this hypercar can run up to 12 miles on electric-only propulsion and is rated at a whopping 67 MPGe combined! To put that into perspective, the previous generation 455-horsepower Panamera 4 E-Hybrid was rated at 52 MPGe combined by the EPA. Given the advancements in hybrid technology over the past decade, Porsche could potentially develop an even more efficient hybrid hypercar.

Bugatti Tourbillion's Potential Impact On The Successor To The Porsche 918 Exterior storyboard - image 181638

The Tourbillon proves it’s possible to produce 1,775 horsepower from a naturally aspirated V16 and three e-motors. Given that the V16 engine will remain exclusive to the Bugatti Tourbillon, Porsche could likely develop its own combustion engine from the ground up. Could this be something like the V10 from the Carrera GT? We don’t know yet. But a similar powerplant with a more advanced fueling system and better compression ratio for increased efficiency, coupled with a similar tri-motor setup from the Tourbillon, would be the perfect combination. Since Porsche has a 45-percent stake in Bugatti-Rimac, it can surely persuade Mate Rimac to share some of Rimac’s cutting-edge e-powertrain technologies.

Rumors are swirling that McLaren and Ferrari are working on successors to their legendary P1 and LaFerrari hypercars. Both the McLaren and the Ferrari hypercars were part of the Holy Trinity, so you know what the next generation will bring to the automotive world. However, Porsche won’t let its rivals steal the spotlight and could be preparing the 918 Spyder’s successor.

Porsche Mission X connection

Bugatti Tourbillion's Potential Impact On The Successor To The Porsche 918 Exterior storyboard - image 100767

The Mission X concept was unveiled in June 2023, on the eve of Porsche’s 75th anniversary celebration. It is an electric hypercar concept and a sneak peek at the potential successor to the 918 Spyder. This concept features a racing-inspired design, like the Le Mans-style doors, and is said to produce more downforce than the mighty 992.1 911 GT3 RS.

There aren’t many details available for what’s under its skin, except that the Mission X’s battery pack is positioned behind the seats, ensuring the mid-engine dynamics of an ICE car. This could mean the battery pack is not as large as, let’s say, the unit found with the facelifted Taycan models. Another spicy detail Porsche revealed is that the Mission X concept promises an astounding power-to-weight ratio of one horsepower per 2.2 pounds. As for charging speed, the Mission X concept supports a whopping 900-volt system, allowing the battery pack to charge 80 percent in a little over 20 minutes.

Bugatti Tourbillion's Potential Impact On The Successor To The Porsche 918 storyboard - image 185486

With the Mission X concept, there’s a fine chance that the 918 Spyder’s successor is going electric, thanks to Porsche’s relationship with Rimac. However, with the slowdown of global EV adoption, it begs the question, should Porsche look up to the newly revealed Bugatti Tourbillon and how its fascinating V16 hybrid powertrain is the hot topic?

Let’s be real. We all secretly (or not-so-secretly) crave the raw, visceral experience of a potent internal combustion engine. With McLaren and Ferrari hinting at hybrid replacements for the P1 and the LaFerrari, I’m betting Porsche knows better than to leave its loyal fans high and dry with a purely electric hypercar. All we can do now is wait and see if Porsche chooses to take the EV route for the 918 Successor, or surprise us and take the hybrid route, like Bugatti took with the Tourbillion. Watch this space.

Amreetam Basu

Amreetam Basu

An ardent automotive journalist with a fondness for German cars. Deeply immersed in the auto world, I strive to convey the art and science of vehicular marvels to fellow enthusiasts. Read full bio