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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
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.
After the launch of the Porsche Cayenne S, another hybrid model is set to bow from Germany’s most famous sports car manufacturer, though details are scant. With the 918 RSR concept car and 911 GT3R hybrid race car making waves, we’d bet that a Panamera Hybrid is on deck, as it’s the next logical step in a world that’s not quite ready for a 911 Hybrid street car.
While the 911 Black Edition, Boxster S Black Edition and 918 RSR will also be on the Porsche stand at the Geneva Auto Show, the new hybrid will undoubtedly be one of the show’s superstars, and you can find complete coverage over at AutoGuide’s Geneva Auto Show page.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
The Porsche 918 Spyder is hot. Really hot. With looks that will stop anyone, gearhead or not, dead in their tracks, and huge numbers like 718 horsepower and 90 miles per gallon, what’s not to love? TeamSpeed.com forum member “PorscheCarreraGTMay6″ is 13 years old, and decided that Porsche could use some renderings, some inspiration, for turning the 918 Spyder into a GTI racing car for the LeMans series. After all, it’s one number higher than the world’s most famous racing Porsche, the 917, and Porsche has already confirmed they will be entering a 918 in the 2011 24 Hours of Nurburgring, where their 911 GT3R Hybrid competed successfully this year.
“PorscheCarreraGTMay6″ provides us with a naked look at the 918 RSR in classic Porsche silver, but also provides concepts for several well known Porsche racing liveries. Check them all out at TeamSpeed.com, and remember, this kid is 13.