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Porsche 918 Gets A Healthier Engine And Harder Top

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On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 5:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche 918 Gets A Healthier Engine And Harder Top

It's not quite the all new, high-end supercar that we had hoped for, but leading up to the Detroit Auto Show, we expected Porsche to deliver a hard top version of the 918 Spyder Hybrid. And deliver Porsche did. Stuttgart debuted an all-new, race-ready 918 hard-top that packs even more power than the original concept from last year. And the 918 RSR looks pretty hot too.

The 918's original 500-hp V8 gets a little extra tuning and is uprated to 555-hp, which it sends to the rear wheels. Two front-mounted electric motors kick an extra 201 horsepower in, delivering a total of 756-hp—nearly 40-hp over the already powerful 918 from Geneva. Instead of the seven-speed PDK of the original Spyder version, the 918 RSR uses a six-speed paddle-shift transmission.

One major divergence of the new 918 is that it makes use of the flywheel generator that Porsche equipped to the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. That generator collects energy from braking and delivers it to both electric motors for a acceleration boost or tightened handling.

Porsche keeps weight to a minimum with a carbon-reinforced-plastic chassis. In terms of looks, Porsche has kept many of the most interesting elements of the 918 Spyder, including the side-mounted exhaust tips, headlights, and large, swooping side intakes. With the addition of the hard top, Porsche was able to give its latest concept upswinging doors.

While Porsche's Detroit car is a race version, the 918 is headed for production, and the latest model is thought to provide a look at the styling that Porsche will eventually use on the final version. That model could debut as early as next year, and is expected to price in over $600K. Porsche has already started taking letters of intent and deposits for the 918.

As for the 918 RSR, it's likely to make an appearance at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring this summer and will let Porsche test and refine its hybrid racing system. It also left quite an impression at the Detroit show, earning the honor of best concept.

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