Exclusive: Porsche 918 Spyder prototype unveiled!

April 25, 2012

The Porsche 918 Spyder seems all set to be the supercar of tomorrow. There’s just 918 of them, at around $1 million each. So touch base with your filthy rich uncle. Now.

Porsche Spyder 918 exclusive - T3me.com

Seaplane ride, Beefy guards, isolated airfield. The event had all the right elements of a thriller. And why not. We were taking an exclusive peek at the Porsche 918 Spyder prototype. Porsche’s much rumored, sometimes-seen supercar.

It’s half in completion, rumors abound of it getting in full production by mid next year with an early 2014 debut. Of course, only 918 pieces of this super-hybrid will be produced. It seems set to be the super sports car of tomorrow with a finger on green as well as raw muscle, the legitimate successor to the Carrera GT.

So where do we start? For one, the first thing that catches your eye is the upward-venting top pipes exhaust system, meaning the tailpipes terminate in the upper part of the rear, immediately above the engine, something no other production vehicle has. This new thermodynamic air channelling concept comes with its benefits since the hot exhaust gases are evacuated by the shortest, direct route ensuring the engine compartment remains cooler (see image above).

With a design heavily influenced by F1, this supercar is wholly constructed of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) with a two-piece Targa roof. The carbon fibre ensures a lightweight design of less than 1,700 kilograms with a low centre of gravity.

Now we realize someone who’ll shell out AED 3.2 million odd (around 1 million dollars) for one of these won’t exactly have to think about fuel efficiency. Yet, as a plug-in hybrid vehicle, the 918 Spyder’s high-performance combustion engine and electric motors combination delivers a massive fuel consumption of approximately three litres per 100 kilometres. This despite packing racing car-worthy 770 hp of power.

The main source of propulsion is the 4.6-litre, eight cylinder engine delivering more than 570 hp of power, with engine speeds of up to 9,000 rpm. In terms of performance, it goes from zero to 100 km/h in less than three seconds.

The core of the 918 Spyder concept is the distribution of propulsive power across three power units. So you have five, right from E-Power mode, which can cover more than 25 kilometres on purely electric power, Hybrid mode, wherein electric motors and combustion engine work together with the focus on maximum efficiency and minimum fuel consumption, Sport Hybrid, where the combustion engine provides the main propulsive force, Race Hybrid, for sporty driving. And finally the highlight Hot Lap, which is very similar to a qualification mode, where it pushes the traction battery to its maximum power output limits for a few fast laps. Or make that awesomely fast.

The Porsche 918 Spyder’s multi-link chassis is inspired by racing car construction, complemented by additional systems such as the adaptive shock-absorber system PASM and rear-axle steering. Basically, this comprises a speed-sensitive electro-mechanical adjustment system on each rear wheel, meaning reduced turning circles at low speeds and stable handling when you step on the gas.

The Porsche 918 Spyder prototype sneek preview is part of an ongoing road show across 13 destinations worldwide, with Dubai being among the first.

We did hear a few more juicy tidbits about the team who worked on the team, on the need for green in a supercar etc, but we need to zip up on those. After all, we did sign a Euro 50,000 bond. And it’s the end of the month too….

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2015 and 2016. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering.  Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.