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There was a time when hybrid technology was about saving gas, but now it’s all about boosting performance.
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]
The next-generation Porsche 911 is set to make a significant departure from past models, including the use of a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) on all models.
The system will be similar in principle to that introduced in Formula 1 cars back in 2009, storing energy from braking and then transmitting that energy as an acceleration force. Unlike those KERS systems, however, the Porsche design uses a mechanical flywheel design rather than a complex system of electronics and heavy batteries.
According to a report by Autoblog, Porsche’s KERS system is suggested to be the reason why the next-gen 911 gains roughly 4-inches in wheelbase, as it will sit between the engine and transmission. Previous reports have suggested the added length will also be used to transform the 911 from a rear-engine car into more of a mid-engine one.
The new Porsche 911 could debut as early as this Fall’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
A report in trade publication Automotive News suggests that Porsche is planning a hybrid variant of every model in its lineup. Porsche’s Cayenne Hybrid is the first Cayenne sold to the public, while the 911 GT3.R has successfully campaigned in high level sports car racing in Europe.
Next up is a Panamera Hybrid, as well as the 918 Spyder supercar, a low volume halo model for the brand. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, head of engine development for Porsche, didn’t specify a time frame for hybrid variants of the Boxster, Cayman or 911. Porsche is hoping that hybrids will help them meet C02 targets set by the European Union for 2015.
Porsche is also looking into weight reduction and smaller engines, including four-cylinder powerplants, as a means of creating more efficient vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News]
Porsche has green-lit their hybrid supercar concept, the 918 Spyder, for production. The 918 Spyder, able to get 78 mpg while hitting 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, is expected to cost $630,000 by the time it hits the streets. We wonder if the much hyped $7,500 tax credit will apply, but when you’re this deep into the price bracket, it scarcely matters.
While purists may scoff at the notion of a Porsche hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder is a very significant car, whether you love it or hate it. The 918 shows that the word hybrid does not have to mean “boring econobox”, and that even sports car makers like Porsche have capitulated to the “green fever” that has gripped our society over the last decade.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Porsche AG says it wants no part in the ever escalating horsepower race, and will instead focus on engineering the vehicle as one unit, taking into account the power, handling and fuel economy aspects to develop world beating vehicles.
“Our engineers are holding back on power – they are looking elsewhere now” for optimum performance, Alexander Schildt, manager-product planning for Porsche Cars North America, told Ward’s Auto. “We want our customers to be able to pull up in front of their children’s schools and not feel like they are causing climate change all by themselves.”
Schildt suggested that Porsche was deliberately holding back power on some engines. He invited journalists to compare the high horsepower being obtained by Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division, and noted that Porsche could easily attain that level, but capped the Panamera Turbo’s output in the low 500-horsepower range.
Reducing weight will become Porsche’s number one priority. With a federally mandated fuel economy target of 35 mpg for their entire fleet, and the need to stay on the edge of the performance envelope, lighter cars will allow Porsche to satisfy both requirements. “Take weight out of a car and it does magic for the handling,” said Schildt. “That’s how we will continue to satisfy our customers.” Schildt also said that hybrids will be a necessary part of Porsche’s future.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Porsche‘s 918 Spyder is set to contest the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in 2011, making it the second hybrid Porsche to compete in the grueling endurance race, with the 911 GT3R Hybrid being the first. The 918 Spyder made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March, and boasts (theoretical) numbers like 718 horsepower, 90 miles per gallon and a 7 minute 30 second Nurburgring time.
We can’t verify the accuracy of Porsche’s figures, but we do know that the hybrid system in the GT3R is enough to extend fuel efficiency to the point where the Porsche can go one extra lap before it has to refuel, giving it a huge advantage relative to conventionally powered cars.
Porsche is rumored to be putting the 918 Spyder intro production, and it’s hard to imagine a better way to build buzz than to enter it into a well-known endurance race. It seemed to work for Lexus.
Gallery: Porsche 918 Spyder