Gas prices have skyrocketed in many Western nations, accompanied by economic recession juxtaposed with increased luxury spending worldwide. So, we have increased visibility of hybrid efficiency coupled with wealthy consumers who don’t truly care about the cost savings of this efficiency. The answer to this predicament is a new “mainstream” use of hybrid technology, and that is power, power and more power.
There are four supercars that represent the hybrid future of high-powered sporting automobiles. They span from artsy to neck-breaking and include the BMW i8, Acura NSX, Porsche 918 Spyder, and the yet-to-be-named Ferrari Enzo successor. First up is the BMW i8, formerly known as the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics. It was in 2010 that BMW announced intentions for mass production of this exotic and visionary sports car, which is supposed to be released onto streets in 2014 with a price tag between $350k and $400k. Behind its glowing grille resides a 129 horsepower electric motor, which is coupled with a 220 horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder gasoline motor, giving the i8 an overall power rating of 349 ponies. Novel engineering, sure, but the performance is eye-opening. Sprinting to 60 in about 4.5 seconds and surpassing 160 mph is an exciting feat when it is achieved by a car that gets a reported 80 mpg and can travel about 20 miles on electric sources alone. Interestingly enough, this car, as well as other “i” models will comprise a sub-brand for BMW, which helps to explain and legitimize its blatantly futuristic, outlandish, but nonetheless electric styling.
Next up is the the 2014 Acura NSX, a car that has been at the eye of a storm of rumors for nearly half a decade now. First rumored to harbor a V10 monster under hood, the next generation NSX has succumbed to an enticing hybrid, all-wheel drive set up. Per NSX tradition, a V6 will be mounted behind the passengers in a middle set up, sending an undisclosed amount of power to the rear wheels, all the while being augmented by the torque of three electric motors. It will be interesting to find out the actual power ratings of the car to see how deep into supercar territory Acura really plans to go. Regardless, the next-gen hybrid NSX looks to be a thoroughbred exotic of the future. Heck, if Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno are willing to put their mugs in a Super Bowl ad for the car, there should be plenty to look forward to.
As seen in our exotic auto rental lineup, Club Sportiva has always been fond of Porsche, and Porsche’s 918 Spyder is a sincerely exciting player in the future of hybrid supercars. Not only is the car stunning and quintessentially Porsche in its front-fascia, but it is fitted with a 570 horsepower 4.6 liter V8 that was originally found in the three-time ALMS MLP2 Championship-winning RS Spyder. Add an electric motor between the gas engine and the 7-speed transmission and one mounted on the front axle and you have a car with nearly 770 horsepower good for about 214 mph and 0-60 in less than three seconds. Electric motors and batteries are immensely heavily (as reflected in the Fisker Karma’s 5000+ pound curb weight), so how can these figures be achieved? Well, Porsche has been able to keep the 918 Spyder on a diet, resulting in a curb weight of about 3,700 pounds which is a feat with this type of engineering. Expect the 918 Spyder on showroom floors in September 2013.
But just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, in comes Ferrari to crash the party with a screaming V12 hybrid set up in its unnamed Enzo successor. Though no official spy shots or glimpses have been spotted other than potential testing mules, if Ferrari’s range-topping model looks anything like its computer renditions, it is sure to be as stunning as its rumored specs. When combining substantiated rumors from popular publications we find that this Italian will pack around 920 horsepower, with 800 ponies coming from internal combustion and the other 120 from an F1-inspired Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). Perhaps one of the most impressive feats is the fact that the car is planned to weigh only about 2,500 pounds, or about the weight of the uber-exclusive FXX track version of the Enzo. If all goes to plan, we should get a glimpse of this beast in the fall, but let’s hope that it’s not on the track because with these guts it may be hard to snap a pic.