Almost there
By David Light
Friday, May 25, 2012

The Porsche 918 Spyder makes its first trip around the ring

First displayed as a concept model at the 2010 Geneva motor show, the Porsche 918 Spyder is finally on the road. At the marque’s test centre in Stuttgart, Porsche has taken the driving trials of the super sports car of the future a step ahead with completion of the initial prototypes. The 918 Spyder will go into production end-September 2013 as planned, with first customers receiving their vehicles before the year is out.

The concept vehicle had plans to include a 4.6-litre V8 engine that will haul the vehicle from 0-100km/h in just under 2.9 seconds. From all reports this has not changed and will be one of the fastest accelerating cars on the market. With a top speed of 330km/h it will also be able to compete with virtually all its contemporaries. Yet, in an effort to go one better, the 918 Spyder is also set to take an environmental stand, housing two electric motors which contribute to the overall speed and acceleration while not emitting any pollutants. So not only is this a flashy and supremely speedy vehicle, it’s also a plug-in hybrid.

“What we are doing with the 918 Spyder is redefining driving fun, efficiency and performance,” said Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development of Porsche AG.

The prototypes, their camouflage harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars, signal the final touches to the 918 Spyder. The focus is on the interplay between the highly sophisticated individual drive components. The combination of combustion engine and two independent electric motors — one on the front axle and one in the drive line, acting on the rear wheels — poses completely new demands on the development of the operating strategies.

“They are therefore a critical component in this vehicle into which we have put all of our expertise and capacity for innovation,” said Hatz.

These operating strategies and the development of the software to go with them are one of Porsche’s core competences. Both of them have a major influence on the extreme driving fun to be had with the 918 Spyder and they make possible a unique combination of minimal fuel consumption and maximum performance. The initial results of the driving trials are in line with the high expectations placed on the 918 Spyder.

“The super sports car is designed combining a high-performance combustion engine with cutting-edge electric motors for extraordinary performance: on the one hand, the dynamics of a racing machine boasting more than 770 hp, on the other hand, fuel consumption in the region of three litres per 100 kilometres,” Hatz concluded.

Porsche is breaking yet more new ground with the technology demonstrator with innovative solutions such as the full carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque with unit carrier, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and the upward-venting “top pipes” exhaust system. In the process, the 918 Spyder is offering a glimpse of what Porsche Intelligent Performance may be capable of in future.




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