Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Porsche 918 Spyder Production Car Leaked

Production 918 Spyder
When you can't count on an embargo breaking, you can always hope for a brochure leaking. The Porsche 918 Spyder was always going to go into production, but now we can see what the difference between concept and reality really is. Thankfully, the changes are merely in the details, and this car is in no way watered-down.

For the 918 of you lucky rich fuckers that are buying one, the base price is €768,026, which translates directly to £620,992 or $995,976 (although local taxes and such will not make those the actual prices in the UK or US). That's without the optional Weissach Package - including more carbon fibre, titanium and ceramic parts to shave a somewhat measly 35kg off the 1700kg kerbweight, as well as magnesium wheels and the removal of leather, the air conditioning, the stereo, interior door handles, centre console, armrests, glove compartment and all the carpeting, and finally removal of the wiring for the quick-charging system - which, weirdly, will set you back another €71,400 (~£57,745/~92,589). Porsche: The Masters of Charging More For Less.

UPDATE (26/10): US pricing can be found here.

But what do you get for your big pile of money? Well, the production car (pictured above) is pretty much the same as the concept car, with the only exterior changes being mirrors instead of cameras - will they ever actually make it to a production car? - and the side-exit exhausts being moved to a slightly unusual position, behind the tiny rear windows. This saves weight with short pipes, and ensures that this hybrid is no silent disappointment. And it is still a hybrid; along with a 4.6-litre Direct-Injection V8 making 580bhp and 370lb/ft, there are two electric motors, one on each axle. Their 116 and 129bhp (front and rear respectively) combine for a maximum total output of 795bhp and a meatier 575lb/ft of torque, the latter of which is available between 1000-4000rpm. The motors are fed by a 6.8kWh Li-Ion battery pack and a 3.6kW onboard charging system (although an external 'universal' charger will do the bulk of the battery charging).

I couldn't possibly tell you how that all works together, but there's going to be Electric Torque-Vectoring tying them all together for massive grip and All-Wheel-Drive below 146mph (235km/h) - I guess the electric motors run out of puff shortly after that speed - as well as Stop/Start and a "Sailing" fuel economy mode that presumably lets the motors do the work when the engine isn't really trying. When the engine is trying, it's sending power to the rear wheels via Porsche's 7-speed PDK transmission, and works together with the rear motor. Somehow. All this and we haven't even got to the stunning looks, ultra-modern interior or the fact that this hybrid system will be capable of fuel economy figures which put a Toyota Prius to shame. Although, they haven't actually mentioned the official MPG figures yet...

But why, you might ask, does the world need a hypercar to care about fuel economy? Is the significant added weight of the batteries and massively complex drivetrain something this car needs (it weighs roughly 320kg more than the V10-powered Carrera GT of 2004)? Well, you could look at it as a supercar bogged down with responsibility, or you could think of it as having your cake and eating it. Assuming you can spend a million dollars on a car and don't have many bags or passengers, you needn't buy a silly little economy car, because this one - this 800-horsepower, Nürburgring-shredding beast - is so frugal that you could use it every day and not spend more on running it than you would on something half as powerful. How can I say that without official economy figures? Because the prototype I've mentioned on here before was managing around 3 litres per 100km of fuel consumption in the most economical mode, which translates to a staggering 94.2mpg (UK, or 78.4mpg US). Of course, that figure was given with a '~', so it's not 100% accurate, but even being within 90% of that is amazing for a V8 supercar. Now do you see why it costs so much? You're paying for the future. Also, if you pay a little more (OK, €59,500 more), you can make the future look like the past:

I need say nothing more. You must surely want one now! The 918 will go on sale from 18th September, which using the American date system is 9/18. If you're still unsure about a hybrid hypercar, you're not alone. See below:

2/10/12, 14:58, 208,626 views (when posted here)

Personally, I can't wait for this car to be out and about. It's the best sign of the times I've seen yet, and may well remain so until times change again.

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