2010 Geneva Motor Show Preview: Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

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Porsche's Carrera GT supercar has been out of production for a few years now, and its numbers have been rapidly diminishing as tuners and ill-talented drivers do their worst. At this year's Geneva Motor Show, Porsche is planning a 918 Spyder Concept that looks staged to replace it, and though it doesn't share much in common with the previous supercar, it builds on its spirit with a huge dose of modern technology and style.

Powered by a 3.4-liter V-8 engine and a hybrid drive system, the 918 Spyder Concept could preview a new supercar from the company. We're not expecting it for another year or two at the earliest, however, as its 9,200-rpm, 500-horsepower output and 78-mpg efficiency are sure to prove difficult to render in production. Performance isn't hampered by the hybrid drive system, however: 3.2 seconds to 62 mph, 198 mph top speed, and a promised Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time of under 7:30--faster than the Carrera GT that preceded it. Electric motors on the front and rear axles contribute 218 horsepower to the mix.

The power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch unit, while the front wheels are driven by a fixed transmission ratio.

Drivers lucky enough to hop behind the wheel can choose from four driving modes, including E-Drive, which maximizes efficiency by using electric power only for up to 16 miles. Hybrid mode uses both systems in conjunction to deliver an efficienct around-town ride. Sport Hybrid mode adds some spunk to the system, using Torque Vectoring to improve the car's dynamics further. Finally, there's Race Hybrid mode, which pulls out all stops and maximizes performance of both systems. The hybrid system becomes a push-to-pass system in Race Hybrid mode, helping to boost power for overtaking.

A high-tech exterior of lightweight materials is complemented by the latest in Porsche interior design and features, indicating the car is in fact headed down a production path despite its current concept-car status.

Two other Porsche hybrids will join the 918 Spyder on the stand at Geneva, including the Cayenne hybrid and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car, which uses a F1-derived KERS kinetic hybrid system.


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