Mike Stevens | May 5, 2011

Porsche's 918 Spyder supercar edges closer to its extremely limited release, with the order books already open in Europe.

This week, reports out of Europe suggest Porsche is developing a hardtop version that would join the family as a permanent member.

According to German magazine Autobild, the new model will be named the 961. If the reports are true, the 961 will be the second Porsche to bear those numbers; the first being a racing version of the popular 959 (which started life as a rally project).

The report adds that the 961 will enter the Porsche line-up above the 911 as a new flagship, drawing power from the same V8 petrol-electric hybrid combination that drives the 918 Spyder.

In concept form, the 918 Spyder features a 373kW V8 petrol engine and two axle-mounted electric motors offering a combined output of 160kW.

Thanks to the V8 and the additional all-wheel-drive poke provided by the electric motors, the 918 Spyder reaches 100km/h in 3.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 320km/h.

Rumours of a hardtop 918 have circulated for a while now, with January's 918-based RSR racecar (pictured above) offering a glimpse of what we might expect to see.

Porsche itself has yet to confirm details of a 918-based hardtop, limited-edition or otherwise. With the 918 Spyder not set to debut until 2013, confirmation of any variant offspring will likely be some time off.

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