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The automotive industry is a global business that is constantly evolving and growing, and we here at AutoGuide know it can be hard to keep up sometimes. So here is a summary of the top stories you may have missed this week:
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
For the first time in four years Porsche will exhibit at the Detroit Auto Show, with a debut that is certain to reassert its presence. According to Hans-Gerd Bode, a spokesman for the German sports car maker, the vehicle will be “spectacular,” but, “You’ll have to wait and be surprised” he said.
It’s likely that Porsche will reveal another version of the 918 in Detroit, which will either be close to production or an actual production model.
The concept version features a hybrid setup that includes a 3.4-liter 500-hp V8 and two the electric motors (one at each front wheel) rated at 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 the concept car’s V8 being donated by one of the company’s Porsche RS ALMS race cars, the production 918 will most certainly get a new gasoline engine.
Other possibilities for debuts include a baby Boxster model as well as the upcoming Cajun SUV, which Porsche only recently gave the green-light to head into production.