Who said green cars can’t be mean? Not Porsche. On the eve of the Geneva Auto Show, the Stuttgart-based company took the wraps off the 918 Spyder Concept, a 2-seat mid-engine supercar with hybrid and electric drive technology. Just how fast is this thing? Well, Porsche says the 918 Spyder Concept hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 3.2 seconds, and it blasts to a top speed of 198 mph. Not only that, it laps the Nürburgring in less than 7 minutes 30 seconds, which means it’s even faster than the hallowed Carrera GT. Just how green is it? Porsche says that, when driven accordingly, the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder Concept gets an outstanding 78 mpg, with an emissions level of just 70 grams of C02 per kilometer. The 918 Spyder Concept is powered by a high-revving V-8 related to the 3.4-liter in the Porsche RS Spyder racing car. In 918 Spyder form, this mid-mounted engine revs to 9200 rpm and produces more than 500 bhp. Electric motors at the front and rear axles add an additional 218 horsepower to the output. The V-8’s power, and that of the rear electric motor, reaches the Spyder Concept’s rear wheels via a 7-speed PDK gearbox. The drive to the front wheels is pure electric, via a fixed ratio. The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack behind the cockpit can be charged at home, or by brake regeneration. Four distinct driving modes are available. E Drive is solely electric power, with a range of up to 16 miles. In Hybrid mode, electric power and gasoline power are used as conditions warrant, in ways designed to maximize economy or performance. In Sport Hybrid mode, in which both drive systems maximize performance, most of the power goes rearward, aided by torque vectoring to help the car’s dynamics. Lastly, there’s Race Hybrid mode for the utmost performance, such as running at the limit on the racetrack. In this mode, there’s even a “push to pass” E-Boost feature that feeds in added electrical power for overtaking… or better lap times. The 918 Spyder’s modular chassis is made of CFP (carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic), while Porsche has also employed lots of magnesium and aluminum to keep the car’s weight down to a reasonably svelte 3285 lb. Aesthetically, the 918 Spyder looks very much like a relative of the Carrera GT. It also looks like it would be perfectly at home on the road or the track. Variable aerodynamics, especially around the rear spoiler, are necessary in a car with such a fast top speed, and the rear hoods extending back from the headrests accommodate retractable air intakes that provide a ram-air function. Porsche says the interior of the 918 Spyder Concept offers a glimpse of the future, and we’re glad that it remains driver-oriented with circular dial gauges. On the left is one for road speed; in the middle is engine speed (right where it belongs); and on the right is the energy-management gauge. Modernity is addressed via the center console, which has a touch screen for what Porsche calls “intuitive” control of the car’s functions. Lastly, the 918 Spyder Concept is fitted with a Range Manager. Using the map in the satellite navigation system, the Range Manager displays the remaining range the Spyder is able to cover. And in cities, it will tell you if you can reach your destination on electric power alone. Just the thing to make sure you arrive at the Nürburgring with a full tank. We admit the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept took us by surprise at Geneva. But we very much like what we see, and the fact that this Porsche has lapped the Nürburgring proves it’s more than a “pie in the sky” concept. It has real production possibilities; and we’re delighted that Porsche sees driving fun as a vital part of its future.