Saturday, May 10, 2003

Porsche 918 Spyder concept

What is it? A plug-in hybrid that Porsche says is capable of lapping the “Nordschleife of Nürburgring in less than 7:30 minutes, faster than even the Porsche Carrera GT.” What’s more, Porsche says fuel economy should be somewhere around 78 miles per gallon. How does it do it? The 918 Spyder concept is powered by a 500-horsepower gasoline V-8 and electric motors on the front and rear axle (the two electric motors make a combined 160 kilowatts of power, or the equivalent of 218 horsepower). Total power output is 718 horsepower. Porsche is not saying whether the 918 Spyder concept will go into production, but don’t bet against it. The technology is just too promising, the styling too delectable.

How’s it look? Finally Porsche styling turns a new page. Gorgeous in every facet, except an odd rear angle, where you can see the face of Donald Duck. Kudos to Porsche for faking out the prying press corps and delivering Geneva’s one great surprise. Hit of the show.

There seems to be some confusion (in the comments) about the tech specs of the 918 Spyder. In our short-form, quick-hit format, we list all the highlights, but in striving for expediency, our description of the 918 Spyder may have conveyed a sense of a supercar that can do all things, at once. But it can’t. The 918 Spyder is not capable of 78 miles per gallon and 198 miles per hour top speed and 3.2-second zero-to-60 acceleration and lapping the Nordschiefe in under 7:30 minutes. It is capable of each of those things, but in various of its four driving modes, listed here:

E-Drive Mode: This is an all-electric mode in which the gaudy fuel economy number is achieved. Range is mere 16 miles in this mode.

Hybrid Mode: Power is modulated between the gas engine and electric motors in some thrifty but largely unexplained manner. Performance numbers in this mode are not given.

Sport Hybrid Mode: Produces more power, but with Torque Vectoring, and power biased toward the rear wheels. Again, performance numbers in this mode are not given.

Air Brush Car Modification

Air Brush Car Modification

Car Modifications Spot

Car Modifications spot