Porsche prepares for orders of new hybrid supercar

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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At last year's Geneva Motor Show, Porsche received a wholly positive reception of its 918 Spyder hybrid supercar concept. Now, a full year later, the German automaker is ready for customer orders of the production version 918 Spyder.

That doesn't mean that customers will be taking delivery anytime soon. In fact, production of the new supercar isn't going to begin until September 18, 2013. Furthermore, the car will be priced at approximately $845,000.

Needless to say, this hybrid is reserved for the super rich. Yet, even the super rich will also have to be super resourceful in order to snag the new 918 Spyder, because only 918 of these hybrid-supercars will be manufactured.

So what is it about this particular Porsche supercar that would justify such rarity and such an astonishing price? The 918 Spyder is said to feature a high revving, mid-mounted V8 engine with over 500 horsepower. The engine is based on the same unit found in Porsche's RS Spyder racing car which competed in the Michelin Green X Challenge. Engine power will be transferred to the rear wheels by a compact seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.

In addition to the engine, two electric motors will also provide power for the 918. According to Porsche, their combined output will be rated at approximately 218 horsepower, which pushes total vehicle output to over 700 horsepower. The 918 Spyder will also benefit from a variable all-wheel drive system, because one electric motor will be connected to the front axle while the other electric motor connects to the rear axle in similar fashion to how the Lexus RX 450h derives its real-wheel torque.

It is estimated that the production version of the 918 Spyder will complete a 0-100 km/h sprint in just 3.1 seconds, while the car's top speed is estimated to be 320 km/h (199 mph). Despite the impressive performance, Porsche estimates that the 918 will consume just 3.0L/100 km if driven more cautiously. That figure is based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

While the production version of the 918 Spyder should have stunning credentials, its estimated top speed is not as high as a number of less expensive supercars. In fact, when the 918 Spyder hits the streets in 2013, it will actually have a lower top speed than the Porsche Carrera GT, which claimed 330 km/h (205 mph) and debuted  nearly a decade earlier in 2004. Furthermore, the Carrera GT is a car that the 918 bears significant resemblance to in its styling and power-train layout, minus the hybrid technology. The Carrera GT was also priced several hundred-thousand dollars less than the 918 Spyder.

So, if the 918 will be no faster than other less expensive supercars, especially the Carrera GT upon which it is based, what is the point of this car? Perhaps it is the rarity and incredible fuel economy, as well as the performance and good looks that all help to make the 918 Spyder an enticing package. Exceptionally affluent owners will be able to judge this for themselves in 2013.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Roadster, Hybrid, HEV, Porsche, 2013, 918 Spyder, $99,999+, Supercar,

Organizations: Porsche

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