2014 PORSCHE 918 REVEALED
There was little left to see, but Porsche's new 918 Spyder roadster has made its official world debut at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show.
Details and images of the new hybrid hypercar have been on a drip feed since it first appeared as a concept in 2010, and buyers have even been able to place orders for the past year.
But now it's official, it's all out there. So what does the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar have going for it? Quite a bit.
As one of the first examples of a production-ready high-powered hybrid system, the 918 concept was a promising sign of things to come.
Power in the 918 is sent to the rear wheels by a big 4.6 litre race-bred V8 and an electric motor - through a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission - while a second electric motor turns the front wheels for extra power and all-wheel traction.
The V8 engine, which is based on the racing engine found in the RS Spyder Le Mans prototype, churns out 453kW of power. Comparisons? LaFerrari: 588kW 6.3 litre, P1: 542kW 3.8 litre.
The rear electric motor produces 114kW while the front motor offers 95kW. In all, Porsche claims a system output of 661kW and a massive 1274Nm of torque.
With the full powertrain in action, the 918 will hit 100km/h in "under 2.8" seconds, but even the electric motors on their own can deliver a sprint time below seven seconds.
And the carmaker reckons fuel consumption is as low as 3.0 l/100Km.
This is all helped by the 918's lightweight carbon monocoque. The car has a low centre of gravity - approximately the height of the wheel hubs - and an unladen weight of 1640Kg.
All components weighing 50Kg or more (such as the traction battery located behind the driver) are set as low as possible, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Unveiled at 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show: Audi A3 Cabrio | Audi A8 update | Audi Sport Quattro concept | Audi Nanuk Quattro | BMW i8 | BMW X5 eDrive | Citroen Cactus | Ferrari 458 Speciale | Ford S-Max | Formula E race car | Honda Civic Tourer | Honda Civic Type R details | Infiniti Q30 | Jaguar C-X17 | Kia Niro | Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse | Lexus LF-NX | Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Racing | Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe | Mercedes-Benz GLA | Nissan X-Trail | Opel Monza | Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE | Peugeot 308 R | Peugeot 3008 and 5008 updates | Porsche 918 Spyder | Renault Initiale Paris | Skoda Yeti update | Skoda Rapid Spaceback | Suzuki iV-4 | Toyota Yaris Hybrid R | Volkswagen e-Golf | Volkswagen Golf R | Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan | Volvo Coupe Concept