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Porsche opens order books for 918 Spyder (2011)

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0700

We already know that Porsche is going to build its stunning 918 Spyder, but today the German sports car company has opened the order book, confirmed some technical highlights, and announced when and where the hybrid supercar will be built.

Where do we begin? Okay, let’s have the Porsche 918 Spyder’s technical spec first please…

The hard stats first: the 918 Spyder will sprint to 62mph in 3.2 seconds or less, and will top 199mph. Porsche reckons the 918 Spyder will be quick enough to lap the Nurburgring in under 7 minutes and 30 seconds, making it quicker than the Carrera GT. But at the same time (or at least on the NEDC combined fuel cycle) Porsche hopes the 918 will achieve 94mpg and only emit 70g/km.

Underneath the amazing bodywork the 918 will have a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic monocoque, and there will be two carbon roof panels that can be manually removed and stored in the nose.

How does the Porsche 918 Spyder manage those amazing figures?

Because it’s a plug-in hybrid.  There are two electric motors – one each on the front and rear axle – with a combined output of at least 160kw (215bhp). Not only does the set-up mean variable four-wheel drive, but a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery provides enough power so the 918 can travel 16 miles on purely electric power. The top speed on purely electric power will be 94mph, and Porsche believes you’ll be able to recharge the 918 in three hours from a 230v supply. A quick-charging option is also planned.

Don’t worry, there’s petrol power too, and the engine itself is based on the 3.4-litre V8 from the RS Spyder LMP2 endurance racer, but will be enlarged to over 4.0-litres for its road-going application. Back when the 918 Spyder was first unveiled at the 2010 Geneva motor show, then-Porsche R&D boss Dr Durheimer revealed to CAR that a 4.6-litre V8 had been calculated as an ideal capacity. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s true, but Porsche is promising that the engine will produce over 500bhp; the V8 engine powers the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

The cost of this amazing blend of race-bred engine and hybrid technology? €645,000, plus tax. Call it £645k. Porsche will build just 918 units – all in left-hand drive form – with production commencing on 18 September 2013 at the company’s main factory in Zuffenhausen on the edge of Stuttgart. The first vehicles are due for delivery to customers in November 2013.

So what’s the algae-green 911 Turbo S?

It’s yours (for £125,865 in coupe form and £133,553 as a cabriolet) if you place an order for the Porsche 918 Spyder. Think of it as Porsche’s polar-opposite answer to Aston Martin’s Cygnet – order an Aston and you can buy a 116/gkm city car too; buy a super-clean Porsche supercar and a 268g/km 911 is an optional extra.

Both coupe and cab cost the same as the standard Turbo S and are available exclusively to those Porsche customers lucky enough to be placing an order for the 918. Again, just 918 versions of the 911 Turbo S ‘918 Spyder Edition’ will ever be built. There are no mechanical changes, but the brake calipers, door mirrors, interior stitching and instrument needles are all bright green, plus there’s with some extra leather and carbon trim and a special plaque on the glovebox. And while customers will have to wait until 2013 for their 918s, deliveries of the Porsche 911 Turbo S ‘918 Spyder Edition’ start in June 2011.  


By Ben Pulman