FRANKFURT – It’s been a long time since we first saw the concept that spawned the Porsche 918 Spyder shown this week here at the 2013 International Motor Show. Fortunately, the 887-horsepower hybrid super sports car that debuted at the show seems to be worth it. the wait.
Let’s start just behind the driver’s head in the engine compartment where you’ll find a 4.6-liter eight-cylinder engine that produces 608 horsepower. To save weight, the engine uses carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) for components such as the oil tank and air intake system, titanium for its connecting rods, a high-strength lightweight steel for the crankshaft and a thin-walled alloy steel / nickel exhaust system.
The exhaust system is noteworthy for its upper pipes, which exit from the top of the engine compartment, providing the shortest exit path for hot exhaust gases, keeping the weight low thanks to shorter piping and giving the 918 Spyder A Medium Race Car Look.
The V-8 engine is linked to a 115 kW electric motor and the torque is linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that has been installed upside down from its setup in other Porsche cars to hang its center of gravity closer to the land. From the PDK, the torque switches to the rear wheels. The 918 can be motivated by the combustion engine, the electric motor, both or neither. The electric motor can be used to boost the output of the V-8 or the V-8 can be used to spin the electric motor to generate electricity to charge the batteries.
The 918 Spyder gets all-wheel drive thanks to a 95 kW electric motor located on the front axle. This motor spins the wheel with a single gear ratio, then a decoupler completely disconnects the electric motor from the front wheels at high speeds to prevent overspeeding.
Total system power from the gasoline and electric systems is claimed to be 887 horsepower. Torque is more difficult to measure, so Porsche provides several numbers, the largest being 940 lb-ft for the full system in seventh gear. Top speed is stated at 211 mph with 0 to 60 occurring in “less than 2.8 seconds”.
Electricity is stored in a liquid-cooled 6.8kWh lithium-ion battery designed to meet the fast-discharging needs of a high-performance hybrid. Lithium-ion batteries generally don’t like to be abused in this way, but Porsche says liquid cooling will help the cells maintain their performance and offers a seven-year warranty on the battery pack.
Energy is generated by the electric motors when decelerating or by the petrol engine when the Porsche computer deems it necessary. The 918 Spyder can also be plugged in to charge the battery with mains power.
Porsche’s on-board 3.6kW Universal Charger (AC) will fill the battery with juice from a regular US 110-volt household electrical outlet in 7 hours. Install a more powerful Porsche Charging Dock to reduce the charging time to just 2 hours. If even that’s too long for you, there’s an even faster Porsche Speed Charging Station (DC) that can fully charge the 918 Spyder’s battery in just 25 minutes.
The flexible hybrid powertrain under the glossy skin of the 918 Spyder offers the driver five different driving modes to choose from.
E-Power mode is the default operating mode when the battery has a healthy charge. The 918 Spyder will glide electrically for approximately 18 miles in almost silence. Unlike the EV modes of most hybrids, in this one the 918 Spyder will still hit 62mph in 7 seconds to reach a top speed of 93mph. This will likely take a good chunk of that 18-mile range, and once the battery runs out, the 918 switches to hybrid mode, which gives the petrol engine life to work in tandem with the electric motors for efficient driving.
Fuel economy for the 918 Spyder has not yet been announced.
In addition to Hybrid mode, the 918 Spyder also boasts Sport Hybrid and Race Hybrid modes. In these modes, the gasoline engine is the primary source of energy, with the electric motors providing support. In Sport mode, there is still some optimization for efficiency, but the track-ready Race mode uses the electric motors to their maximum potential, discharging and charging the battery much more aggressively. Race Hybrid mode also puts PDK shifting in a more aggressive setting.
While in Race Hybrid mode, the rider can press a Hot Lap button which throws efficiency to the wind giving the hybrid system a boost to its full power potential, but only for a few quick laps. The 918 Spyder’s battery will be completely discharged at the end of those laps, as the system makes the most of the electric assistance in this mode.
The 918 Spyder is built around a carbon fiber monocoque; in fact, the entire load-bearing structure to which the suspension and engine are attached is made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) for high rigidity and low weight. The Spyder weighs a meager 3,715 pounds for a hybrid and hangs most of its weight on the ground, which improves stability. The sports car also sports a slightly skewed 43/57 weight distribution from front to rear, which seems to appeal to Porsche engineers.
The suspension and chassis of the 918 are almost as high-tech as the engine that cradles it. Between the lightweight body and the wheels lies the adaptive PASM suspension, which adapts to the needs of the vehicle. The rear wheels are steered, spinning with the front wheels at high speed to increase stability and counteract the front wheels at low speed to increase agility.
The vehicle is also equipped with Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA), a system of adjustable aerodynamic elements: a retractable rear wing, a spoiler between the wing supports and two adjustable air flaps in the subfloor in front of the front axle that can create “downforce” downforce. Usually, the spoiler and wing are configured to reduce drag and the flaps are closed. However, in the Sport Hybrid and Race Hybrid modes, the wing angle becomes progressively steeper to generate more downforce, the spoiler extends to guide airflow, and the flaps open to help with front grip.
There are also adjustable vents under the headlights that close when the vehicle is in motion for a smoother aerodynamic surface and open when the 918 vehicle needs additional cooling.
Record holder of the Nürburgring
Coinciding with the debut of the 918 Spyder at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche has announced further news relating to Nürburg, Germany, where the Targa roadster has set a new production car record for dubbing the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in just 6 minutes. and 57 seconds. You can watch and hear the 918 Spyder break that record in the Porsche video below.