Porsche displayed its new Cayenne 911 Turbo S and GT3 R Hybrid at Geneva this week but the real jaw-dropper was the new 918 Spyder.
The mid-engined sports car combines a high-tech racing persona with an electric motor to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. According to Porsche, the fuel consumption is equivalent to 94mpg! But yet, it still performs like how a Porsche should with acceleration 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 198mph. And when pushed around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, it pulled a lap time of less than 7:30 minutes - that's faster than the Porsche Carrera GT!
The engine under the spotlight is a 3.4 liter V8 capable of more than 500hp and a redline of 9200rpm. The electric motors on the front and rear axles have an overall output of 218hp. Power is transmitted to a seven-speed double-clutch tranny which feeds power to the rear wheels. The front-wheel electric drive powers the wheels through a fixed transmission ratio. The energy storage is a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery positioned behind the passenger cell. The big advantage of a plug-in hybrid is that the battery can be charged on the regular electrical network. A further point is that the car's kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy and fed into the battery when applying the brakes, thus providing additional energy for fast and dynamic acceleration.
For adjustability and ease of use, a button on the steering wheel allows the driver to choose among four different running modes. The E-Drive mode is for running the car under electric power alone with a range of up to 16 miles. In the Hybrid mode, the 918 Spyder uses both the electric motors and the combustion engine as a function of driving conditions and requirements, offering a range from particularly fuel-efficient all the way to extra-powerful. The Sport Hybrid mode uses both drive systems, but with the focus on performance. Most of the drive power goes to the rear wheels, with Torque Vectoring serving to additionally improve the car's driving dynamics. And of course, the Race Hybrid mode, the drive systems are focused on pure performance with the highest standard of driving dynamics on the track, running at the limit to their power and dynamic output. Like the drivetrain, the lightweight body structure of the 918 Spyder also bears out the car's DNA carried over directly from motorsport: The modular structure with its monocoque bodyshell made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFP) and the appropriate use of magnesium and aluminium not only reduce weight to less than 3285 lbs, but also ensure supreme driving precision thanks to the very high level of torsional stiffness.