McLaren P1 vs. Porsche 918 Spyder

McLaren P1

727 bhp
720 Nm
0-60 Time
2.8 sec
Top Speed
218 mph

Porsche 918 Spyder

887 bhp
1280 Nm
0-60 Time
2.2 sec
Top Speed
210 mph

When looking to rent a exotic car, it can pay to compare your options. Here, two powerhouses of engineering
face off in an epic battle. It’s the perfect story: the new challenger against the established king.
Ingenuity versus precision. F1 versus Le Mans. Britain versus Germany.

You might decide your favourite on looks alone – and nobody would blame you.

And that might be the only thing to separate them – for these two cars are remarkably similar. Both on sale
for just two years (2013-2015) as part of a limited production run, their manufacturers have both trodden
similar paths in their quest for performance. Exotic Cars of old relied simply on hugely powerful engines to
deliver mind-boggling speed, but current regulations mean engineers need to be smarter.

There are no naturally-aspirated V12s to be found here. In fact, both employ turbocharging and electric
motors to increase the horsepower of their thundering drivetrains, delivering spectacular acceleration with
a hat-tip towards the environment.

Under the bonnet

The McLaren may have the larger brake horsepower figure, but it actually features the smaller engine. It’s a
3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8, bolstered by an electric motor to deliver 904bhp.

This motor sits between the engine and transmission to overcome turbo-lag and provide additional torque. The
combined powertrain drives the rear wheels and accelerates the P1 to a theoretical 218mph.

The naturally-aspirated 4.6-litre V8 in the Porsche is much less powerful, with 603bhp. Its trump card is its
dual electric motors; one at the front axle and one at the rear, for all-wheel drive agility. Combined with
the engine, its combined output is a monstrous 887bhp.

The use of electric power provides massive torque, too, for startling acceleration both from a standstill and
in gear. This also means the electric motors alone can power the 918 Spyder in virtual silence. The downside
is the electric-only range is just 12 miles and only works at low speeds. But with CO2 emissions of 70g/km,
it’s the one to pick if you need to project a greener image.

In the cabin

The huge difference in torque should mean the Porsche is significantly faster than the McLaren, but one
detail keeps them toe-to-toe: weight. The McLaren is 184kg lighter than the Porsche – equivalent to two
weighty passengers.

That extra weight is partly down to the more glamorous interior of the Porsche. Much like the brand’s Formula
One cars, the McLaren feels comparatively stripped-out. The Porsche, on the other hand, is much more plush,
with a full touchscreen interface dominating the centre console.

See more from our Head 2 Head Series

Click on a marque below to see our selection of exotic cars for rental