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Porsche 918 Spyder Concept
Porsche is bringing sexy back with the 918 Spyder Concept

Porsche is not a company that produces concept cars very often. Come to think of it, only the Porsche Boxster and Carrera GT spring to mind as concept cars that the German sports car manufacturers has displayed within the past twenty years. That's not to say that Porsche can't pull out a nice concept whenever it wants to -- and today, the company has done just that.

Porsche unveiled its new 918 Spyder concept that not only brings sleek styling to the table, but also a wealth of high-tech powertrain goodness. Looking somewhat like a gorgeous mashup up of a Ferrari F430, Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche Boxster, and Porsche 911 GT1, the 918 Spyder concept features a mid-engine layout, seating for two people, and all-wheel drive.

The roadster also features dual side-exiting exhaust pipes on either side of the vehicle along with a nod to the past with an intriguing "disk" wheel design.

Being that this is a Porsche first and foremost, this vehicle is all about performance. Gone is the flat-6 that powers the mid-engined Boxster and Cayman (along with the rear-engined 911) and in its place is a high-revving (9,200 rpm) V8 engine producing 500 hp. As if that wasn't enough, there are also two electric motors installed in the vehicle (one for the front axle, one for the rear axle). The electric motors add another 218 hp to the mix.

Porsche isn't spoiling the fun by using a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the 918 Spyder -- instead, the company is using a version of its seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual-clutch transmission which transmits power to the rear wheels. The front wheels are driven by a fixated ratio transmission.

Porsche says that the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder can bolt to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and can travel 16 miles on battery power alone. The 3,285-pound vehicle is said to deliver an estimated 78 mpg (U.S.) according to Porsche.

No one knows if all of this performance goodness will ever make its way into a production vehicle, but one can hope that at least the styling cues and maybe a toned down version of the hybrid system could make it into a production vehicle.

Porsche is also readying a hybrid version of its second generation Cayenne SUV. The hybrid powertrain is said to achieve 34.5 mpg on the European cycle.

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Correction: Boxster and Cayman have the H6
By joeRocket on 3/1/2010 6:23:17 PM , Rating: 2
"...flat-6 that powers the mid-engined Boxster and Cayenne..." Boxster and Cayman have the H6 (as well as many others...) Porsche has had a V8 for some time, in the Cayenne SUV and recently now for the Panamera. By way of history, the first Porsche V8 was in 1978, featured in the 928.

By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/1/2010 6:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
I had a brain fart moment. I was just too giddy with excitement when I was writing the piece -- I had the same euphoric grin on my face when I saw the first Boxster concept in 1993 :-)

As for the V8, the one in the 918 is much smaller than the V8s used in the Cayenne/Panamera. It uses a 3.4-liter unit.

By joeRocket on 3/1/2010 6:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
Haha - I see. The engine comes from the RS Spyder race car... 500 bhp from 3.4 litres! I agree, this is a very beautiful car, I'd love to have a chance to see it in person.

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