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Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Hybrid

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On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 10:07AM | By: Chris Weiss


Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Hybrid

After months of indications that it would produce the 918 Spyder Hybrid, Porsche confirmed the hybrid coupe for limited series production. The Geneva Motor Show concept will be built in Porsche's Zuffenhausen plant and will supplant the Carrera GT as Porsche's flagship sports car, showing the world that hybrid powertrains can do more than just cut emissions.

Porsche arguably upstaged the entire 2010 Geneva Motor Show when it unveiled the 918 Spyder Hybrid the evening preceding the official start of the show. Easily one of the most fascinating concepts at the show, everything about the hybrid supercar was intriguing. Performance figures were impressive: 3.2 seconds to 62 mph, 198 mph top speed, and the fastest Porsche around Nurburgring with a lap time under 7:30. Porsche's fuel economy claims were equally lofty: 78 mpg in the European cycle and 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. By all indicators, the 918 Spyder rang the opening bell on a new generation of supercars capable of producing heavyweight power and performance figures while drastically cutting pollution.

In its concept form, the 918 combines the RS Spyder's 500-hp 3.4-liter V8 engine with electric motors mounted on the front and rear axles. Battery power for the motors comes from a mid-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. All told, the coupe pulls 718 horses out of its powertrain, with a seven-speed PDK transmission handling shifting duties.

Four drive modes allow the 918 to transition from frugal electric to heart-pounding performance machine. The E-Drive all-electric mode provides up to 16 miles of emission-free range; the Hybrid Mode uses power from both the engine and electric motors; the Sport Hybrid Mode funnels most of the drive power to the rear wheels for increased performance; and the Race Hybrid Mode maximizes the system's output for the most speed and performance. An E-boost function provides a short burst of electric power for a quick spike in performance, useful in instances such as overtaking other vehicles. A steering-wheel-mounted switch allows drivers to quickly toggle between drive modes.

Porsche made the job of its unique powertrain a little easier by injecting materials like carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFP), magnesium and aluminum into its build. In so doing, it was able to maintain a weight of just 3,285 lbs.

In styling the 918 Spyder, Porsche sought to combine classic racing design with a more modern look that emulates both power and technological sophistication. Inspired by past cars like the 917 and RS Spyder, Porsche focused on a strong racing stance, flowing lines, and careful detailing. As crafted for Geneva, the 918 Spyder Hybrid provided a fresh look for a company that is so often limited in the styling department to the one-note 911 face.

It's not clear exactly how much of the concept will make it into the final production version (hopefully most of it) and Porsche has yet to indicate production numbers, availability or pricing. A recent rumor published by Bloomberg indicated that the car will be priced at 500,000 euros—over $600,000.


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