Are the Porsche 918 Spyder and the McLaren P1 truly worth five times more than your ‘average’ supercar? Bassam wonders whether the automotive world has gone a little overboard.[Not a valid template]
After what feels like an eternity, the excruciating wait is over. We finally got to put the McLaren 650S Spider through its paces on home turf. And – given that we’ve just pitted the brand new Volkswagen Golf R against two of its biggest hot hatch rivals – I’ve decided to mark this momentous occasion with a bit of a moan about the 650S’ more powerful, hypercar brethren.
It all started back at the launch of the 918 Spyder, where a significant part of my time behind the wheel was spent struggling to hang on to a well-driven 911 Turbo S pace car around the Valencia circuit, the lighter, nimbler 911 pulling away at more than one corner. Then we got to the straight at which point all the fancy tech did its thing and 887bhp trumped 552bhp. Even then though, it wasn’t a mind-blowing difference: they were both insanely quick cars and the 918 was just a bit more unhinged, but it felt more like the next step in performance rather than another planet. This got me thinking about whether cars today have gotten to the point where the laws of diminishing return had taken over.
The million dollar 918 Spyder is clearly a woody-inducing car with some truly groundbreaking engineering matched to stupendous performance and a level of drama the 911 Turbo could never touch. But is it worth five times the price tag of the stunningly good Turbo S?
The first time I saw a McLaren P1 in the flesh, I sat perving over it for a period of time which was bordering on creepy, and while I continue to lust after Woking’s flagship, could I justify spending many multiples of the cost of a 650S on one? When you consider that the ‘junior’ 650S is already so fast some would argue it’s too quick for the public road, the rational answer to that question would have to be negative. If it’s excitement on track you’re after, logic would suggest that you buy an LMP2 race car: it would be half the price and would run rings around any exotic road car no matter how fast, and you could race at Le Mans in one.
Thankfully though there are enough people out there with both the means and the lack of sense to buy cars like the LaFerrari, McLaren P1, 918 Spyder, Bugatti Veyron and others of their ilk to make it feasible for the manufacturers to continue to build these wonderous cars. And for that, we should all be truly grateful.