Porsche has just unveiled a stunning new concept, that in true Porsche fashion is even more technologically advanced that it is impressive to behold. Called the 918 Spyder concept, it’s a plug-in hybrid that the automaker claims can achieve 78 mpg in one mode, while being able to run a Nürburgring lap time in under 7 minutes, 30 seconds. Yup, faster than a Carrera GT. The hybrid drivetrain works somewhat like a traditional two-mode hybrid, using a gasoline engine, electric motors (two of them) and a lithium-ion battery pack. What makes it so special, however, is that the gasoline engine is a 3.4-liter 500-hp V8 derived from the Porsche RS Spyder race cars and the electric motors (one of each rear wheel) make a combined 218-hp. The gasoline engine powers the rear wheels, while the electric motors work on the front two wheels. Porsche claims a 0-62 mph time of just 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 198-mph. Possibly more amazing, however, is this concept’s capability to achieve 78 mpg.
With all those electronics weighing quite a bit, the 918 Spyder uses extreme measures to keep weight to a minimum. As a result, the car gets a carbon fiber monocoque and extensive use of aluminum and titanium, for a total weight of 3,285 lbs.
Porsche has equipped the car with four driving modes, ranging from the most efficient at saving fuel, to the most efficient at saving gas. A pure electric E-Drive mode delivers 16 miles of emissions free driving, while a Hybrid model operates like a traditional Prius-type two-mode hybrid. Next up is a Sport Hybrid setting, where the electric power is used more as a boost to assist the gasoline engine. Finally, a Race Hybrid mode delivers maximum gasoline and electric power, along with an added boost of electric power after hard braking (much like a Formula One KERS-equipped car). It is in this final mode that Porsche claims the 918 Spyder Concept can out-pace the famed Carrera GT on the Nürburgring.