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Porsche 918 Spyder Concept
Porsche really wants to build the 918, however, the company insists that it doesn't want to lose money on the vehicle.

Reaction to Porsche's 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept was overwhelmingly positive when it was unveiled last week at the Geneva auto show -- its sleek lines and impressive hybrid powertrain won over those who have been critical of Porsche's somewhat "stagnant" design philosophy and even those who turn up their noses at hybrid vehicles.

According to AutoCar, the people within Porsche love the vehicle as well, and they want to build it. The 918 Spyder would be made as the new "halo" vehicle for the automaker -- a distinction that was recently bestowed upon the Porsche Carrera GT. The $440,000+ Carrera GT weighs 3,000 pounds, gets its motivation from a 5.5-liter V10 which develops 605 hp, and can scoot to 60 mph in around three and a half seconds.

The 918, on the other hand, is powered by a 3.4-liter V8 engine which produces 500 hp. Two electric motors bring the total combined horsepower of the vehicle to 718 hp. All of that power is harnessed within a roadster that weighs just under 3,300 pounds.

"There is no one inside Porsche who doesn't want to build the 918," said Porsche CEO Michael Macht to AutoCar. "The response has been marvelous; we will ask buyers to sign letters of intent."

Macht went on to add, "The 918 Spyder provides the answer to whether there can be high-performance cars in the future. Many have said they are finished. This car shows they are not."

If the 918 Spyder does make it to production, it will arrive within the next five years according to company insiders (the Porsche Carrera GT was shown in concept form in 2000 and entered production four years later). Given the technology that is crammed into the 918 Spyder, it wouldn't be surprising if its price tag far surpassed that of the Carrera GT.

Porsche is determined to not lose money on its next halo vehicle, unlike Toyota with its ultra-exotic Lexus LFA supercar. The 552 hp LFA is a priced at a whopping $375,000 USD – however, at that price, Toyota is still losing money on every one it produces.

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RE: why hybrid?
By Veerappan on 3/10/2010 2:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Electric motors can provide full torque at 0 rpm, which should help the 0-60 times, and it might help the fuel efficiency as well when driving at reasonable speeds.

RE: why hybrid?
By bhieb on 3/10/2010 3:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yah but again why. Corvette zr1 already hits 60 in 3.4 for $105K. So why buy 1 of these (if they are in the $400K range like the GT) when you could have 4 that are arguably just as good.

Now if you have the money and just want to blow it sure, but make no mistake the electric thing is really more about PR than performance. In this level of car the weight of the system is very hard to overcome. There are quite a few cars in the 3.5 sec range with no electric. But if it helps set them apart and boosts a few sales, why not.

RE: why hybrid?
By clovell on 3/10/2010 5:39:04 PM , Rating: 2
if the motors can apply power to individual wheels, this thing should handle like a dream, and be able to accelerate in (not out of) curves. That's the largest advantage to this type of design. I'd be interested in the 60-100 time, too.

RE: why hybrid?
By BZDTemp on 3/11/2010 4:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
Being hybrid may also make a difference with regards to parking and traffic charges. The later properly matters little for people that can afford an expensive car but access to reserved parking spot can be a huge benefit in some cities.

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