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Porsche 918 To Debut As A Spyder

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On: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 11:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche 918 To Debut As A Spyder

Truth be told, I was a little disappointed by the 918 RSR at the Detroit Auto Show. Now, don't get me wrong: the RSR was an exciting car in its own right. And I was all about its 756 horses. The silver-and-orange paint job was a distinctive (and hot) bonus as well. But I was hoping we'd get a look at a road-ready preview of the eventual production model as opposed to a track-focused car. And the RSR just wasn't it.

Well, according to a new report out of Europe, the 918 will debut in Spyder form, the way it was originally shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The RSR is designed for racing as opposed to production and the market model will come with a removable hard-top similar to that of the Carrera GT.

Porsche's outgoing development chief Wolfgang Dürheimer has been doing a lot of talking lately, and he told Autocar: "The road application of this car is the 918 Spyder...We learned from the Carrera GT that the driving pleasure of the car is enhanced when you have the possibility to drive open or closed. We have always told people interested in the 918 Spyder that it will have a roof concept similar to the Carrera GT's, with a lightweight carbon-fiber panel. A closed car is better for motorsport, though."

As for those who prefer a coupe all the time, they may just need to be content with leaving the top on. Dürheimer said that a decision as to whether to offer the 918 as a full-time hard-top still hasn't been made. The production 918 will likely feature a hybrid system similar, if not identical, to the Geneva car, which paired electric motors with a 3.4-liter 500-hp V8. Those units combined for 718-hp.

The 918 RSR used a hybrid system with a fly-wheel generator developed for the 911 GT3 R, along with a 555-hp version of the 918 Spyder's V8 engine and two front-mounted electric motors.

Past rumors have indicated that the production 918 Spyder may get more powerful than the concept, so Porsche may decide to use the tuned, 555-hp V8 rather than the original 500-hp version.

Perhaps the only downside to the admission that the 918 Spyder will be the production car is the fact that it won't have the upswinging doors of the 918 RSR. But we can hope that a possible coupe variant will bear that feature. As for the RSR, Porsche is working on getting it entered into some racing competitions, but it may have to wait until next year for that.

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