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Porsche has every intention of changing how the world perceives supercars when the 918 Spyder finally hits the market in 2013. The German automaker shocked the world when it debuted its concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, where the vehicle garnered enough attention to get the green light within months.
The 918 Spyder will be the world’s first plug-in hybrid supercar, and earlier this year we found out that it’d be powered by a 4.6L V8 based on the race engine found in the original RS Spyder LMP2 race car. Now there’s three prototypes out there testing Porsche’s new formula for success.
Out at the Nardo Test Track in Italy, Porsche literally slapped together – as you can tell by the photos – a 918 Spyder for some thorough on track testing. The 570-hp powerplant is mated to a pair of electric motors for a total power output of 770-hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. But that’s not all, Porsche is experimenting with a “Hot Lap” mode that brings torque output to 700 lb-ft temporarily. Imagine 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds without having to use any gas.
But Porsche knows plenty of power is nothing if the vehicle weighs too much. The engineers are hard at work to lighten the load on the 918 Spyder, freely using an abundance of carbon fiber and aluminum throughout its chassis. Their mark of less than 3,700 lbs will make the 918 Spyder a true supercar.
Unfortunately the test mule, lacking the vehicle’s complete bodywork and aerodynamics, was limited to just 400-hp and topped out at 80-mph. Even then, the 918 Spyder proved to be an exhilarating experience and by all means, Porsche’s next supercar looks to be revolutionary.
GALLERY: Porsche 918 Spyder Prototype
It’s been almost half a year since we last heard anything about Porsche‘s 918 Spyder Hybrid supercar. Few details have come forward since the German sports car maker confirmed that it was heading for production, but now we’ve been fed some information to tide us over until the production model comes to fruition.
Published in Porsche’s Christophorus Magazine, the 918 Spyder is destined to make its production debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show and will sport some changes from the concept car we saw back in 2010 at the Geneva Motor Show.
Its powerplant will now be a 4.6L V8 rather than the 3.4L V8 originally announced. And while there’s more displacement, there’s also a ton of new technology to go with it. That includes a central injector mounted directly adjacent to a spark plug, a central oil feed to the crankshaft, a variable-pressure composite oil pump and scavenge pump, forged lightweight pistons from a Formula 1 supplier, a very high compression ratio and variable valve timing, which is a Porsche first.
The new 4.6L V8 is still based on the race-bred V8 found in the original RS Spyder LMP2 race car. Rumors have it that the new motor will produce around 550-hp and that the 918 will loose one of its three electric motors originally seen in the concept. The remaining pair will generate a combined 230-hp, so the combined output should be around 760-hp.
The dry weight of the vehicle is estimated to be 3,700-lbs and for those interested, better start saving up to $845,000.
[Source: Motor Authority]
Many embargoes died to bring you this information. Colors, drive modes and performance estimates about the latest über-car from Porsche, the 918 Spyder, have been leaked through internal dealership documents.
The 918 Spyder will initially be available in four monochromatic colors: Carrera White, Black, Platinum Silver Metallic, and Basalt Black. All will have a black interior, but Porsche will add other colors to the palette.
The powertrain is still unchanged from Porsche’s specifications: a gasoline-powered V8 with more than 4.0 liters, and two electric motors. The V8 will produce at least 493 horsepower, while the two electric motors will develop a total of 215 horsepower. With this power comes a PDK transmission with seven cogs.
There will be four drive modes available: E-Power, Hybrid, Sport Hybrid, and Race Hybrid. E-Power is for maximum fuel efficiency, and uses only the electric engines—Porsche says that the 918 Spyder can travel up to 16 miles solely on electricity. Hybrid is for the sort of day-to-day grocery schlepping that people do in range-topping supercars, while Sport Hybrid and Race Hybrid are the where the excitement happens: Sport is for back-country driving with a rear torque bias, while Race is for “uncompromised control of the entire drive system at the absolute limits of performance.”
With an estimated 0-60 time of 3.1 seconds, we don’t care if it’s powered by sparkles and unicorn kisses (which, actually, would be kind of cool, come to think of it). It is expected to top 199 mph, presumably in California’s HOV access lane. And given the all-encompassing importance of Nürburgring lap times, the 918 Spyder will lap it in approximately 7 minutes and 30 seconds, enough to make you forget to fill in that federal hybrid tax credit on Form 8910.