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 |  Aug 18 2010, 9:24 AM


Shown for the first time in North America over the weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, we’re now learning more about Porsche‘s plans for the production version of it’s incredible 918 Spider.

First unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, in concept form is uses a 500-hp 3.4-liter V8 racing engine combined with two electric motors that make an additional 218-hp. According to a report by AutoCar, the production model will make some significant powertrain changes. This isn’t surprising as obviously the car can’t use such a high-strung racing motor on the street. Instead, we’ll see a larger displacement motor (perhaps the 4.8-liter V8) with more power.

With high-performance hybrids still in their early stages, total power output will still be similar to the 718-hp number, but we’re likely to see more of that come from a conventional gasoline engine and less from electric motors.

[Source: AutoCar]

 |  Aug 15 2010, 12:25 PM


Easily the star of the Geneva Auto Show, Porsche‘s 918 Spider concept has since been confirmed for production as a hybrid supercar with true Porsche style and performance. Since Geneva it has been so widely acclaimed and consumer interest so significant that Porsche has given the green light to send the 918 Spider into production.

Located out back, in true Porsche style, is a hybrid drivetrain that 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 (much like the McLaren MP4-12C and Lexus LFA) 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.

That number is a bit misleading however, as you can be certain the production model won’t use a racing prototype engine. Still, we have no doubt the 918 Spider will top the Carrera GT in all performance arenas.

GALLERY: Porsche 918 Spider