It's only a concept car, but every time I think about the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept, the only thought is, "It's the only sports car I'd ever need." And I'm serious. Usually when someone asks what my dream car is, I have an aneurysm. Do I want a fast car? AWD? RWD? V8? Turbo? How many doors? Do I want any practicality at all or just go for the full insanity hyper-car package?
But this car brings a calm to my mind usually only attained by a bald man chanting on top of a Himalaya. This car satisifies practically every urge and craving I have for an automobile.
The performance of this car is extraordinary. It has a 500hp V8, so it has plenty of power but it will also sound great, which is a prized possession of any good dream car. Now, a Porsche with a 500hp V8 is pretty good, right? Well this car is something special. In addition to to that V8, there are 2 electric motors that put out an additional 218hp. Yes, it's a hybrid. This is what hybrids can-and will-be. This is no Prius, a car so boring they had to add a computer screen showing which way the electricity is going, just to keep you awake. This is a glimpse at the future of hybrids. Hybrids that aren't only for people that talk about shakras, recycled dog poo bags and Al Gore. This is they type of Hyrbid that appeals to everyone. This hybrid will give you 78mpg, but it will also hit 60mph in 3.2 seconds and scream (hum?) all the way up to 198mph.
This is a hybrid for people like me.
You could put this powertrain in an old garbage can and I would probably buy it. 718hp and 78mpg? Sign me up.
But it's not in a garbge can. In fact, it resides in one of the most beautiful Porsches I have ever seen. The design is forward-thinking without being from the Jetsons. It's classic Porsche, without looking like a 911. It's good enough to sit next to a Carrera GT without being called, "the ugly one." It's like a Porsche with some Ferrari sprinkled in it. It's just fantastic looking.
Whether they build this or not (bet you $100000 they do.) what Porsche has done is show us what hybrids can be. They don't have to be designed in a wind tunnel first, with aesthetics as an afterthought. They don't have to be built with tunnel-vision, looking only at the efficiency of the engine, thinking that's all people care about. This car would draw a crowd of car geeks, gear-heads, moms, dads, hippies, and oil barons. Everyone can appreciate a beautiful car, but it often comes with a caveat, like, "It's a gorgeous Lamorghini Frederick, but 11mpg is just offensive nowadays." Not with the 918. This car can get on the freeway at the same time as a Honda Insight, and the Insight will be pulling into a gas station first. It's the supercar of the future, that could preserve the future. If I had a car that did 200mph and got 78mpg, I don't think I would need anything else.
I'm an automotive journalist, actor and comedian. Currently I'm a writer for www.sub5zero.com, specializing in performance cars, and www.TheSmokingTire.com, an entertaining and informative automotive … more
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The Porsche 918 Spyder is a mid-engined concept sports car designed by Porsche and first shown at the 80th edition of the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. It is the first plug-in hybrid car from Porsche.
The 3.4 litre V8 engine (500 horsepower (370 kW)) is a development of the engine used in the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype racing car. This is coupled to two electric motors each delivering 106 horsepower (79 kW) to both axles. The transmission is a 7-speed gearbox coupled to Porsche's own (PDK) double clutch system. This gives the 918 Spyder a 0-100 km/h in just under 3.2 seconds and a top speed of over 198 miles per hour (319 km/h) . The energy storage system is a fluid-cooled lithium-ion battery positioned behind the passenger cell. CO2 emissions are 70g/km and fuel consumption is 3L/100 km (94 mpg). The 918 Spyder offers 4 different running modes. E-Drive allows the car to run under battery power alone giving it a range of 16 miles (26 km). Three hybrid mode (Hybrid, Sport and Race) use both the engine and electric motors to provide the desired levels of economy and performance. In Race mode a push-to-pass button is available to delivery additional electrical power.
The chassis is a carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic monocoque. Magnesium and aluminium are extensively used in the construction of the car which helps keep the 918 Spyder's weight down to 1,490 kilograms (3,300 lb).