Porsche has released detailed new information about its hotly-anticipated 918 Spyder hypercar, spied and previewed more than a few times over the past year.
Driving the rear wheels of the 918 is a a 447kW V8, partnered with a 115kW electric motor. And there's another 95kW electric motor driving the front wheels.
Together, Porsche claims a combined 653kW will be available, with a 0-100km/h time of just 2.8 seconds. And the carmaker reckons fuel consumption is as low as 3.0 l/100Km.
So what else do we know?
The interior is divided into two areas - surprise, surprise, but Porsche wants you to tune-in with its design.
The car's core driving controls are grouped around the multi-function steering wheel, with driver information displayed on the three large round instruments.
Then there is the “infotainment block” in the raised centre console, with controls for wing adjustment, lighting, climate control and Porsche Communication Management (PCM).
Now, onto the important parts...
There is plenty of motorsport heritage in the lightweight carbon monocoque. The car has a low centre of gravity - approximately the height of the wheel hubs - and an un-laden weight of 1,640Kg.
Porsche set a goal to locate all components weighing 50Kg or more (such as the traction battery located behind the driver) as low as possible. The weight distribution is 57 percent rear, 43 percent front.
An electro-mechanical rear-wheel-steer system is also fitted, and it's speed sensitive. At low speeds, it steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front to reduce the turning circle.
At high speeds, it turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front to improve rear end stability.
Porsche Active Aerodynamic (PAA) allows the driver to adjust the aerodynamics between race, sport and optimal efficiency (“E”) modes. Race mode achieves maximum down force and a “ground effect” at the front axle.
A seven-speed transmission has been turned “upside down” and is, again, mounted as low as possible. If no power is required for the rear axle, the transmission can decouple the two rear engines to allow a “coasting” mode with the petrol engine switched off.
A key feature of the 918 Spyder is independent all-wheel-drive; a petrol electric hybrid for the rear and an electric motor for the front which alone produces 95kW. At high speed, the front electric motors are decoupled to prevent over-revving.
There are three power plants, and five modes for the driver to decide how they all behave.
The main power plant is a 4.6 litre V8 which produces 447kW. The big V8 features a separate oil tank, lightweight everything (such as titanium conrods) and a 9150 RPM redline.
As the engine no longer supports auxiliary components - such as air conditioning - there are no external drive belts, which helps to reduce the overall size.
The V8 has a unique sound too, thanks to Porsche’s new “top pipes” exhaust design.
The tailpipes terminate immediately above the engine to improve heat displacement and reduce back pressure. This keeps the temperature of the engine bay down, which also benefits the lithium-ion battery.
The five selectable modes are 'E-power', Hybrid, Sport Hybrid, Race Hybrid and Hot Lap.
E-power is the default setting whenever the battery is sufficiently charged. The 918 can cover 30Km on electric power alone, yet it can still achieve 0-100km/h in less than seven seconds!
Hybrid mode is self-explanatory, while in Sport Hybrid the petrol engine will run constantly.
In Hot Lap mode, all available battery energy is devoted to maximum performance and will not recharge. Porsche says this should see the car at its best for at least a few laps.
Porsche has also simplified maximum acceleration to simply pushing the throttle pedal to the floor; the car will do the rest. Sounds simple enough, but Porsche says that even drivers with no motorsport experience can “experience the potential of advanced longitudinal and transverse dynamics”.
The lithium-ion battery is liquid cooled and has a plug-in charging system. The charge port is standardised to the country of purchase and the battery can be charged within four hours.
The Porsche Speed Charging Station is available as an optional extra. This will reduce the charging time to just 25 minutes. The global warranty period for the battery is seven years.
For Those Who Want More (And Less)
The 'Weissach Package' will feature special colours and the roof, rear wings and rear-view mirrors are all made from visible carbon fibre.
The interior will feature Alcantara instead of leather, six-point racing harnesses for passenger and driver and more carbon fibre instead if aluminium.
The Weissach will also feature lightweight magnesium wheels which help to lower the overall weight by 35Kg.
Porsche claim around 50 percent of its 918 Spyder customers have chosen this option.
Earlier this year, Porsche confirmed €645,000/US$845,000 (approx. AU$791,000) starting prices for the 918 Spyder, significantly undercutting the £866,000 (AU$1.25 million) P1, while LaFerrari’s unconfirmed price is expected to be more than $1.3 million.
The Porsche 918 Spyder is heavier and less powerful than the LaFerrari or the Mclaren P1 but product boss James Eastwood’s claim that the 918 can be faster than both is not without merit.
Brimming with technology, a 0-100km/h time of 2.8 seconds and a previous Nurburgring lap of 7m14s prove that the 918 is in with a chance.
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