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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Porsche 918 Spyder


2014 Porsche 918 Spyder in vintage Martini Racing livery

The Porsche 918 Spyder is the brand's first-ever gasoline-electric hybrid supercar. First shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show as a concept and quickly given the production green light thereafter, the Porsche 918 Spyder has since evolved closer to production, but remains in final development, though it is very close to completion as evidenced by recent spy shots. While not yet available for purchase, there's hope that it may hit the market later this year.

Due to its still-in-development status, specifications for the 918 Spyder remain in flux. Rumors of up to 875 horsepower or more have recently made the rounds--perhaps in response to the recently-unveiled hybrid supercars from McLaren and Ferrari, the P1 and LaFerrari.

Regardless, some relatively hard numbers are known.

A 4.6-liter V-8 engine will provide the primary power, while electric motors at the front of the car will offer all-electric capability, as well as all-wheel-drive performance, making the 918 Spyder a "through the road" hybrid. The mid-mounted V-8 engine, in prototype form, is officially rated at 570 horsepower, while the combined output of the hybrid drive system is a claimed 770 horsepower. Porsche takes pains to note that these are provisional specifications only, however.

A seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission will handle gear shifts. Five driver-selectable modes will offer a range of economy and performance to suit preferences and conditions.

The body and monocoque chassis are made almost entirely of carbon fiber in an effort to minimize weight, which Porsche claims will be less than 3,750 pounds.

Porsche expects 0-60 mph acceleration times of under 3.0 seconds and a top speed in excess of 202 mph. Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap times in the low-seven-minute range have been predicted, though if the final production car gains power is it is rumored to, the lap time could fall under the seven-minute mark.

As yet, Porsche has only confirmed a top speed of 198 mph and a Nordschleife lap time of under seven minutes, twenty-two seconds, for the 918 Spyder prototype.

Perhaps most significantly, however, the 918 Spyder achieves this high level of performance while achieving expected gas mileage of up to 78 mpg.

At a price tag of $845,000 and production limited to just 918 examples, however, the 918 Spyder's performance will be all but academic for most of the world.

A coupe version of the 918, the 918 RSR, was shown in concept form at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Porsche has not announced any plans to produce the 918 RSR coupe.

Look forward to more updates on the 918 Spyder's status, and read up on the car's full history, at our sister site Motor Authority's 918 Spyder hub page.

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