Five of the greatest Porsche hypercars
The story of the fastest, most exclusive high-performance Porsche hypercars
Three Porsche hypercars lined up on cobbled square, noses showing
The hypercar is the very zenith of automotive high performance. From the legendary 959 to the all-new Mission X concept, these dynamic Porsche hypercar models have redefined what’s possible when it comes to fast cars
What is a Porsche hypercar?From its sportscars to its racecars, Porsche has always been associated with speed and the thrill of driving. But some sportscars are a little more extreme than others – and that’s when a car becomes a hypercar. For hypercar, think the highest performance levels for a car and design and engineering innovations that really push things forward. For all the Porsche hypercars listed here, that means top speeds of 310km/h plus and 0-100km/h times that start with the number 3… and sometimes a 2. These cars (we’re omitting the Mission X from this part of the conversation, simply because it remains a prototype… for now) were at their respective launches the fastest of the fast, the quickest of the quick. Tellingly, their performance figures remain jaw-dropping even today. Welcome to hypercar heaven!Porsche 959 (1985)
Red Porsche 959 cornering, Walter Röhrl at the wheel
Meeting of legends: two-time world rally champ and Porsche ambassador, Walter Röhrl, at the wheel of the game-changing Porsche 959
Back in 1985, our roads were still mostly filled with boxy cars. It was into this world that the car considered the first-ever Porsche hypercar – the Porsche 959 – was unleashed. It would go on to have a significant impact on not just the future of Porsche car design and engineering, but what fast cars could be in general. It all began when Porsche sought to find a potential successor to the 911, which saw it develop a new all-wheel drive vehicle as a Group B rally car. When motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, ditched the Group B designation during through the development process of the 959, Porsche made the decision to continue making it anyway. It would result in 292 road-going examples, creating a Porsche hypercar legend in the process.When it went on sale, the twin-turbocharged 959 was considered the most technologically advanced, road-going sportscar ever. Nearly 40 years later, the numbers associated with it still amaze. Its flat-six, 2849cc engine was based on the successful 956 and 962 racing Porsche engines and boasted a power output of 450PS, a top speed of almost 320km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds. Phenomenal figures that uphold its hypercar designation.Meanwhile, its tech advances would prove hugely influential. These included sequential turbochargers that helped solve the less than smooth power delivery that car manufacturers had previously struggled with since the introduction of turbo engines. Its all-wheel drive set-up was every bit as cutting edge, allowing the 959 to deliver power proportionately to each of the axles, with as much as 80 per cent available to the rear wheels in certain instances. It’s perhaps no surprise that a car first developed as a rally car (and which would conquer the Paris-Dakar Rally in motorsport form), would achieve the mind-boggling levels of grip that it did.When the first of those 292 cars went on sale, they were priced at US $225,000 each. Today, if you’re lucky enough to find one of these limited-edition Porsche hypercars on sale, you can expect to pay at least four times as much. In fact, a beautifully kept 959 Komfort model from 1987 fetched an eye-popping $2,125,000 at a online auction in 2022.Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion (1988)
Front view of silver Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion hypercar
To approve the Porsche 911 GT1 racecar for competition in 1998, at least 20 road car versions had to be built – and the 911 GT1 Strassenversion hypercar was born
Of all the Porsche hypercars, the 911 GT1 Strassenversion is perhaps the least well-known – but then just 21 road-legal versions of the 911 GT1 racecar were ever made. Today, its rarity has made it one of the most sought after pre-owned Porsche cars that you can buy. It was based on the Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution and built as a homologation version of the race car, in order that the latter could be entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997.While it adopted the name 911, there was little in common for either the 911 GT1 Strassenversion hypercar, let alone its racecar sibling, with the illustrious Porsche sportscar of the same name. However, the front of the car has more than a passing resemblance with the 911 (type 993) of the time. In contrast, the rear is derived from one of the great Porsche racecars – the 962C. In essence, this was a racecar for the road, only slightly detuned (hence its ‘Strassenversion’ or ‘street version’ name).The 3.2-litre, six-cylinder engine of the 911 GT1 Strassenversion produced up to 544PS (compared to the racecar’s near 600PS), with a body predominantly made from carbon fibre. The GT1 could accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.6 seconds and had a top speed of 310km/h – bona fide hypercar performance. As you might expect for a car built in such limited numbers, they rarely come up for sale. But a 1998 911 GT1 Strassenversion that originally sold for around $900,000 when new, fetched an incredible US $5,665,000 at auctioneers’ Gooding & Company event at Amelia Island, Florida in 2017.Porsche Carrera GT (2003)
Rear view of a silver Porsche Carrera GT
In September 2004, the V10-powered Porsche Carrera GT set a record-breaking lap time for a road car around the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife of 7 minutes 33 seconds
The Porsche Carrera GT is talked about in the kind of revered prose reserved only for the truly great cars. It was in 2000 that the Carrera GT concept, with legendary two-time world rally champ Walter Röhrl at the wheel, stunned visitors and motoring press alike when it was unveiled on the streets of Paris during its motor show. Three years later, at the 2003 Geneva International Motor Show, it did it again when the Carrera GT was officially launched. Like all of the cars in this list, the influence of Porsche motorsport technology was written large in the development of the Carrera GT. At its heart was a hugely powerful but lightweight 5.7-litre V10 engine – a first for Porsche – that evolved from a race engine originally developed for use in a Le Mans Prototype car but never actually raced at Le Mans.While hypercars aren’t just about numbers, they’re a handy reference point. And the Carrera GT boasted figures that still make you sit up and take notice more than two decades on. A huge power output of 612PS translated into a 0-100km/h time of 3.9secs which would help the car hit 200km/h in just 9.9secs. Its top speed, officially, was 330km/h – above the fabled 200mph mark – and it tipped the scales at just 1380kg. This was testimony to the determination of its designers and engineers to keep the weight of the Carrera GT down, which stretched to the pioneering use of pure carbon fibre for its monocoque and subframe.Designed by a team headed by legendary Porsche designer, Harm Lagaay, the performance of the Carrera GT wasn’t just down to its extraordinary engine. Aerodynamic highlights included its carbon underbody geometry and rear diffuser, which kept the car stable even at the astonishing high speeds achieved by the Carrera GT. Its rear wing – a true standout – remained hidden until the car reached 120km/h, at which point it rose to reduce rear-end lift. Despite its ferocious power and ability, the Carrera GT was also built for everyday driveability and comfort. High quality soft leather, a Bose infotainment system and details like its beech wood gear shift knob – inspired by the all-conquering Porsche 917 racecar – were testament to that. When the Carrera GT was launched it had a price tag of €452,000. Unsurprisingly, all 1270 models were snapped up immediately. Today (November 2023), you’ll get little change out of €2m if you're thinking of buying one – a very low mileage example sold for a little over €1.75m at online auction in January 2022. The Carrera GT remains a Porsche hypercar that continues to astonish to this day.Porsche 918 Spyder (2014)
Sapphire Blue Metallic Porsche 918 Spyder at foot of Grossglockner
With a 0-100km/h time of 2.6 seconds, the plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder rewrote the hypercar rulebook on its launch on 2014
Porsche has been making groundbreaking cars ever since it was formed. But in 2014 a car was unveiled that led motoring writers to reach for the superlatives to describe it. One described the hybrid-powered Porsche 918 as ‘…possibly the most complete hypercar there’s ever been’. The 918 Spyder was a plug-in hybrid hypercar that consisted of a high-performance 4.6-litre V8 engine and twin electric motors – a 115 kW electric motor on the rear axle and a 95 kW one on the front. That translated to a top speed of 345km/h and a scintillating 0-100km/h time of a mere 2.6 seconds. The hybrid technology allowed it to make use of active recuperation – in other words, store energy during braking.While its two electric motors were comparatively heavy, the lightweight bodywork on the 918 Spyder helped offset this with a carbon fibre monocoque with carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body on top and polyurethane panels front and rear. This kept weight down to just 1674kg – even less (1634kg) with the optional Weissach package. With its low centre of gravity, the 918 Spyder was supremely well balanced.Often what marks a hypercar out from other cars are those innovative design and engineering touches that make heads turn. For the 918 Spyder a clue came in the ‘spyder’ name itself. In lieu of a fixed roof, the 918 Spyder had removable roof panels that could be stored in the front luggage compartment for open-top driving. More drama was created by its top pipes, which exited above the engine for optimal heat removal, like so many racecars of old.The hand-built 918 Spyder was a limited production model with just 918 examples made, with assembly alone taking around 100 hours for each car. On its launch in 2014, prices began at €768,026 in Germany (more for the Weissach Package). Today it commands prices several times more, like the 918 Spyder in Black with the Weissach Package that sold at the RM Sotheby’s auction during the 2021 Monterey Car Week for US $1.7375m dollars – equivalent to around €1.485m at the time.Porsche Mission X (2023)
Side-on view of Porsche Mission X concept hypercar, doors open
Revealed in the summer of 2023, the Mission X hypercar concept aims to be the fastest road-legal vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife
The latest addition to the Porsche hypercar club arrived in 2023 in the shape of the all-electric Porsche Mission X concept. This extraordinary-looking car has a goal, should it go into production, to be the fastest ever road-legal vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. A hypercar packed with future innovations, but also with significant nods to Porsche cars of the past – chief among them the legendary, all-conquering Porsche 917K racecar. It manifests itself in the sweeping line that rises up from the low, flat nose to the rear wings as well as its Le Mans-style doors. Two other Porsche racecar greats – the 906 and 908 – were inspiration for its striking rectangular front headlight clusters.The cockpit of the Mission X, with its airy, lightweight dome, gives the driver the feeling of being in an aeroplane, further enhanced by details like its cutaway, joystick-style steering wheel. And the Mission X should certainly fly around the Nordschleife once it gets the chance. Its centrally mounted, high-performance battery – optimally located just behind the seats for maximum agility – is twinned with 900-volt system architecture, with individual motors driving each wheel. With a power-to-weight ratio of around 1PS to every 1kg of weight, the huge downforce generated will help deliver incredible all-electric performance. As far as the future of the Mission X hypercar concept is concerned, it’s only just begun.
Consumption and emission information 911 S/T (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 13,8 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 313 g/km; CO₂ class: G.
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