Under cover of darkness, the Spyder was airlifted in to Monterey, to be shown to a select group of potential customers (above) and driven slowly on a closed course for the press. The Porsche guys are good at creating drama. We’ll show you a couple of videos after the break.
Autocar reports that the power and displacement of the present 500-hp V8 will be increased in the production version, which will come as either a hard-top or soft-top. Two, rather than the present three, electric motors are likely.
Some of our readers seem to question why Porsche would go all out to produce a hybrid supercar like the 918 when the cost and complexity of the technology are so great. Michael Mauer, the Porsche design chief, had the answer in one of the videos: Because of environmental concerns, “there are big, big question marks,” he said, about the future of high-performance cars and therefore “the future of the Porsche brand.”
In other words, super-hybrids are being built (and not just by Porsche) because they are a test bed for new drivetrains and propulsion systems—and because they can in fact provide a level of performance beyond that of conventional cars. The 918 lapped the Nürburgring in 7 minutes, 30 seconds, faster than the Carrera GT could do it.
The car has four driving modes for mixing hybrid and gas power, as Porsche’s Gernot Doellner explains below.
You can drive the car on battery power alone (about 16 miles), and pushing a button for race mode gives you full hybrid power and 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. The car has been described as:
similar in length and height to the Boxster and Cayman, but… much wider than both of these. The body and shell are made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, but there is also extensive use of magnesium and aluminium. The concept weighs 1490kg.
See and hear it below, with some great closeups after Mauer’s comments.
Porsche is readying eight new vehicles (including the 918) to launch by 2014. In this economy, are they crazy, or what?