Malcolm Flynn | Jul 19, 2012

Porsche has taken to the track once again with its upcoming 918 supercar, the clean white prototype decked out this time in the famous Martini racing livery.

Driven by racing legend Walter Röhrl and wearing almost zero camouflage, the spied car hints at several production details.

The test car's styling remains faithful to the Spyder and RSR concepts revealed previously. The most noticeable change being that the exhaust outlets now exit from above the engine rather than behind the door openings.

This suggests that the production car will employ exhaust manifolds that exit within the valley of the 4.0+ litre V8 engine (mated to the hybrid drivetrain).

Such a design would assist in the dispersion of exhaust heat, making it easier to cool the lithium-ion battery pack and maximise its efficiency.

The mule pictured is also fitted with what appears to be a two-piece removable hardtop, marking a compromise between the open-top Spyder and fixed-roof RSR concepts.

Other road-car realities include conventional door handles and rear-view mirrors in place of the concepts’ rearward-facing cameras – along with additional cooling ducts behind the front wheelarches.

The prototype’s headlight design remains true to the concepts, however the tail-lights fitted appear to be cobbled up 991 units, hinting at a unique design for the production items.

porsche918 proto16
Like the Spyder concept, the rear wing appears to be retractable, although with its uprights mounted further apart for added strength.

Porsche has confirmed that the production car’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain will utilise a new V8 engine and two electric motors fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. It remains mum however on any final output or performance figures.

A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has also been confirmed.

Porsche claims the powertrain will deliver upwards of 575kW, while consuming as little as 3.0 l/100km and offering an electric-only range of around 25km.

Official expectations are of a 3.2 second 0-100km/h acceleration and 320km/h-plus top speeds.

The production 918 is expected to be officially unveiled at next year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, with total production aptly limited to just 918 units.

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