First Drive: Go-Kart Porsche Pedal Car





Porsche is very excited about its upcoming 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar, and rightly so.

The 875 hp wonder is expected to have incredible acceleration, a top speed of 211 mph and a full electric mode that will allow it to operate without using any fuel at all.

Of course, with a price tag of $845,000 you’d hope it could do some amazing things.

But for about 1,000 times less, you can get a Porsche right now that can match it in at least one of those categories.

The only fuel needed for the new Go-Kart Porsche Pedal Car is available in juice boxes; the single-seat open wheel racer is propelled by the legs of its petite pilote.

Built with all of the attention to detail as one of the company’s road cars, the steel-tube frame kart weighs in at a hefty 75 pounds, but that’s due to some serious engineering involved in this fun machine.

Most notable is a mid-mounted transfer case that connects the pedals to the rear axle via belt drive, and allows for both coaster braking and reverse. A Big Wheel-style handbrake is also included, unlike the cars Porsche makes for grown-ups these days.

The Go-Kart’s composite wheels have center locks just like a 911 GT3 (well, there’s one bolt that holds them on,) are shod with pneumatic rubber tires and mounted to what appears to be a double A-arm suspension, but isn’t.

The three-spoke sport steering wheel features four buttons which trigger the horn, start-up, gearshift and powerslide noises that are absolutely required of any child-oriented high-performance car.

Plastic fenders, nosecone and number plate painted in Porsche’s signature orange, white and silver competition livery help give it a straight from the Le Mans parking lot look.

Unfortunately, the Go-Kart’s racing-style bucket seat can only be adjusted for occupants up to five-feet tall and accommodate a maximum weight of 110 pounds, so a test drive for me was out of the question and I had to call in some assistance from my kids.

I won’t mention their names, but all you need to know is that the only thing my two sons love more than speed is ice cream, and they'd better get it now.

After spending a fair amount of time driving…me and my wife crazy by playing with the sound effects in the close confines of our apartment, they were ready to hit the road. This required that I drag the rather heavy and large -- about four-foot long – kart down to the sidewalk for them.

It’s officially rated by Porsche for five-eight-year-olds, and my average size children of four and six found it a little difficult to get off the line. But with a NASCAR-style push out of the pit box the momentum built quickly.

I’m told the steering was responsive and, needless to say, it corners very flat. In fact the grip from the tires appears to be so strong that you probably need to have the legs of a pre-confession Lance Armstrong to get up enough of a head of steam to pull off a 180 degree turn using the handbrake.

The coaster brakes do stop it on a dime, however, which is good, because you’ll need to pick up more than a few of those to buy one.

For those of you who didn’t do the math at the beginning of this story, the price for the Go-Kart is $900. Expensive, to be sure, but compared to the $3,000 Ferrari charges for its highest performance pedal car even more of a bargain than the 918 Spider is set to be against the $1.4 million plug-in hybrid LaFerrari when they start pulling into driveways later this year.

That is if the kids don’t get there first.

Driving Shoe Test Drive: Porsche Design ELS Formotion Driving

Gary Gastelu is's Automotive Editor.