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PORSCHE 918 SPYDER
PORSCHE 918 SPYDER
The 918 Spyder is a lightning-fast hybrid-powered slot car. The crazy fast techno marvel is a sign of our future.
THE PORSCHE 918 SPYDER
The Porsche 918 Spyder is the most complicated car Porsche has ever built. With a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain has a race-bred 4.6-liter V8 accompanied by two electric motors drawing power from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. It will mozy along in electric only mode and not harm the environment or you can put it in race mode, push the accelerator to the floor and have science-fiction levels of acceleration that blasts you to 200 mph in a screaming ball of fury. We absolutely love this car.
ABOUT THE PORSCHE 918
The Porsche 918 Spyder is crazy bat shit fast. Yep, mind-boggling, change your perception of what a car can do fast. It shouldn't be a surprise, given Porsche's history, but nobody expected 0 to 60 in less than three seconds and 202mph top speed. And if that isn't crazy enough for you, it also gets 78 miles per gallon.
The Porsche is the first entry into the world of hybrid supercars. Ferrari and McLaren are close behind with their mental models too, but it is arguably Porsche that has pushed the limits further. The Porsche 918 Spyder proves that you can have an eco friendly, electric only mode daily car and a noisy, crazy fast monster in the same vehicle.
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PORSCHE 918 SPYDER SPECS
The powertrain is the key to this supercar. The 918's 4.6-liter dry-sump V8 is based on the race engine from the RS Spyder. It generates 580 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 370 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. Redline is a stratospheric 9,000 rpm. Power is supplemented by a single drive electric motor with 127 horsepower. With both units combined. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed PDK dual clutch gearbox.
But there is more to the powertrain, as the 918 Spyder is actually all-wheel drive. Mounted on the front axle is an 85-kW (114 horsepower) electric motor, sending power to both front wheels completely independent of the rear powertrain.
The power pack is charged via regenerative braking from both of the driven axles, from the combustion engine or with an external plug connected to the passenger side of the vehicle, just aft of the cabin (the gasoline filler door is on the exact opposite side of the vehicle).
The gasoline-electric hybrid system offers five drive modes: Electric, Hybrid, Sport, Race, and Hot Lap. They are selected via rotary dial in the lower right-hand side of the steering wheel, providing the new Porsche with a truly multifaceted character.
Aerodynamics contribute heavily to how the 918 Spyder drives and operates. A large active rear wing, retracted flush with the rear decklid when not called for, moves through several positions based on speed, driving style and driving mode (all of the concept models had fixed rear wings for development). At higher speeds, and to maximize efficiency, the wing is leveled for low drag. In sport modes, the wing tilts upwards to maximize downforce. In addition, there are aerodynamic flaps beneath the 918's flush underbelly in front of the front axle that automatically open to channel air to the rear diffuser, creating ground effect downforce.
PORSCHE 918 PERFORMANCE
The V8 and electric motors work together to catapult the Porsche 918 into the next century. There is no other way to describe it other than the Porsche 918 is an absolute rocket ship. The 918 Spyder hits 60mph in just 2.8 seconds, 124mph in under 8 seconds all on its way to a top speed of 211 mph.
It isn't just straight line speed either, with the new hybrid supercar making a trip to Nurburgring and annihilating the OEM-spec, road-going lap record with a 6:57 run. For those who think that the Porsche 918 is still not fast enough, make sure to spec your one in the Weissach package, which lops .2 second to 60mph, down to 2.6 seconds.
For the Tesla loving folks out there, put this in your tailpipe and smoke it because the Porsche gets 87 miles to the gallon and an amazing estimated fuel economy rating of 3.3L per 100 km (85 mpg) rating and an equally game changing 79 g/km CO2 emission rating.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE
The amazing thing about the Porsche 918 is that while it delivers super fast performance, its state-of-the-art gasoline-electric hybrid driveline allows it to record outstanding economy figures when driven at a leisurely pace. It also masks its heavy weight amazingly well.
Let's start with the most sedate mode, the electric mode, basically you would drive around in this mode to get any real world long mileage. The electric motors help you trundle along at a reasonable pace in this mode. Total power in all electric mode is 129 hp up front and rear motor providing 156 hp. Porsche claims between a 10- and 19-mile electric range.
As you lean on the accelerator you wake the V8 with a seamless roar at the engine purrs to life. The V8 has a distinctive sound, a combo electric and combustions chemistry. Click the dial into Hybrid and all three power sources are instantly meshed -- front electric motor, rear electric motor and combustion engine. This is the mode to choose for highway cruising.
The car changes character and gets awesome when you select Sport mode. A whole bunch of stuff changes (throttle mapping, steering, electric motors, combustion engine and gearboxes) and things get sharper, gear changes are faster and the steering tightens up. If you want to get crazy, you can also choose Race mode. Race mode delivers the full beans, all 875 hp and 944 lb-ft of torque. Exhaust howls and performance is astonishing.
While we have talked about the acceleration and top speed earlier in the article, perhaps the best thing about the 918 Spyder is handling and speed from point to point. It would rung rings around the Carrera GT. There is a rewarding intimacy to the way the new Porsche corners with whip-crack turn in, outstanding composure with hardly any body roll and an ability to carry extraordinary speeds up to and beyond the apex.
The standard locking rear differential and the ability to deliver power to each wheel individually (thanks to a torque-vectoring function up front and at the rear) enhances the car dynamically. This helps to flatter the driver with phenomenal midcorner grip and astonishing traction exiting the corners.
In this full power setting, the combustion engine runs constantly and the electric motors operate at their maximum limit. As this setting is designed only to deliver a few fast laps, all of the available energy in the storage battery is depleted – the Spyder is running at ten-tenths.
As it turns out, the 918 Spyder is surprisingly easy to drive at blistering speeds, and its library of electronic aids accomplishes everything short of rewriting the established laws of physics. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) provides additional turn-in during spirited driving, active rear steering improves turn-in and stability and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) ensures that the staggered wheels are always in contact with the pavement. I deliberately chose not to think about the sophisticated subsystems that were making me look good – instead, I chose to take advantage of them.
Today, as its competitors continue the battle for performance supremacy, Porsche has again introduced a super sports car that strives for the highest level of technical superiority. Not only is the new carbon-fiber hybrid every bit as historically significant as the 959 that paved its path, it is an advanced look at the excitement of automotive transportation for the next decade or more. As I said 14 months ago, the 918 Spyder is the future – today
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