Apparently Porsche has become fed up with all the complaints about its lazy designers who cannot come up with something new, and did this! This amazing futuristic concept is called the 918 Spyder and it’s a plug-in hybrid which is currently on display at Geneva Motor Show along with two other Porsche hybrids, the 2011 Cayenne and the GT3 R Hybrid.
Everything about the 918 is stunning! It looks like a mini Carrera GT and has both modern and classic cues in its design. But even more amazing than its styling is the powertrain.
Yes, it’s a plug-in hybrid but my God it’s awesome! This system consists of a high-revving 3.4 liter V8 engine which can develop over 500 hp and goes up to 9200 rpm, and two electric motors on the front and rear axle, both developing a combined 218 horsepower. Power is transmitted to the wheels by a seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) transmission that feeds the power of the electric drive system to the rear axle. The front-wheel electric drive powers the wheels through a fixed transmission ratio.
So you have 718 hp at the disposal of your right foot. Crikey, but there’s something even more interesting about it and that’s the fuel consumption. You see it’s capable of doing 0 to 100 km/h in just under 3.2 seconds, top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph), and can lap the Nurburgring in less than 7:30 minutes, and yet Porsche says that under normal conditions it can average three liters/100 kilometers (equal to approximately 78 mpg U.S.) with CO2 output of just 70 grams per kilometer. Unbelievable! In pure electric mode it can cover a distance of 25km or 16 miles.
Driver’s choice of four distinct driving modes
A button on the steering wheel allows the driver to choose among four different running modes: The E-Drive mode is for running the car under electric power alone, with a range of up to 25 km or 16 miles. In the Hybrid mode, the Porsche 918 Spyder uses both the electric motors and the combustion engine as a function of driving conditions and requirements, offering a range from particularly fuel-efficient all the way to extra-powerful.
The Sport Hybrid mode uses both drive systems, but with the focus on performance. Most of the drive power goes to the rear wheels, with Torque Vectoring serving to additionally improve the car’s driving dynamics.
In the Race Hybrid mode the drive systems are focused on pure performance with the highest standard of driving dynamics on the track, running at the limit to their power and dynamic output. With the battery sufficiently charged, a push-to-pass button feeds in additional electrical power (E-Boost), when overtaking or for even better performance.
With the hybrid drive system offering this wide range of individual modes and applications, the Porsche 918 Spyder is able either to achieve lap times comparable to those of a thoroughbred racing car, or the extremely low emissions and high fuel economy figures of a plug-in hybrid.
THe 918 Spyder is fairly lightweight at 1,490 kg, or 3,285 lb mainly thanks to its monocoque bodyshell made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFP) and liberal use of magnesium and aluminum. It has some clever features i its body as well like the hood which is extended over headrests for aerodynamic purposes, and the retractable rear spoiler and air intakes with a ram air function.
Inside the car it has a dashboard layout identical to Carrera GT and has a three-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel and a drive mode selector. The Porsche 918 Spyder concept also comes with further innovative functions such as the Range Manager. After being activated in the Center Display, the Range Manager uses the map in the navigation system to present the remaining range the car is able to cover, naturally allowing the driver to influence that range through the appropriate choice of power and performance.
This car might never make it into production like this, but it definitely hints at what Porsche has in mind for future, and boy is it good!