Porsche 918 Spyder (2010) at Geneva motor show

Published: 01 March 2010

Porsche has shown off this stunning new 918 Spyder concept car on the eve of the 2010 Geneva motor show. It’s a mid-engined two-seater in the mould of the Porsche Carrera GT – a landmark supercar to showcase Porsche’s technical nous.

Michael Macht, president and chief executive officer of Porsche, unveiled the 918 Spyder in Switzerland, and intriguingly proclaimed that Porsche has never shown a concept car that it hasn’t put into production…

Wow! What do we know about the Porsche 918 Spyder?

Porsche’s official press release was light on the details, but after the unveil Porsche’s R&D chief Wolfgang Durheimer talked CAR around the 918 Spyder and revealed some eye-popping figures for this part-electric hybrid supercar which weighs in at 'less than 1490kg'.

For a start, we need to think of the 918 Spyder as the latest Porsche road car to be born from a race car. ‘Just as the GT1 race car became a GT1 road car, and the LMP1 morphed into the Carrera GT, so the 918 Spyder is the street car version of the RS Spyder’, Durheimer told CAR.

In concept car form, the 918 Spyder uses the same mid-mounted 3.4-litre V8 that has powered the American Le Mans Series RS Spyder, but the engine will grow if (or when) the concept reaches production. Just as the Carrera GT’s 5.7-litre V10 was born as a 5.5, Durheimer revealed that a 4.6-litre V8 had been calculated as ideal for the stunning new 918 supercar. A seven-speed PDK gearbox sends the engine’s power to the rear wheels.

But the 918 Spyder isn’t just petrol powered – there are three electric motors which drive the front axle. It’s not a flywheel system similar to that on the GT3 R Hybrid racer, or a hybrid system as in the new Cayenne Hybrid, but a third plug-in solution.

The 918 Spyder is claimed to produce just 70g/km of CO2 and consume fuel at the rate of 94mpg when its plug-in hybrid module is working – yet it can lap the Nurburgring in under 7min 30sec.

The lithium ion batteries can power the 918 for 25km on electric power alone; a dial on the steering wheel lets the driver choose between Electric, Hybrid, Sport and Race modes.

Phew! Anything else about the new Porsche 918 Spyder?

Yes. There’s active aerodynamics: the rear spoiler lifts up at speed, and two intakes rise from the twin flying buttresses to help ram air into the hungry V8 engine.

Most of the major controls are also grouped onto the steering wheel, and Durheimer told CAR that the 918 Spyder showcases Porsche’s future interior design ideas.

Finally, the 918 Spyder has cameras that replace the door mirrors, and although they are not currently legal, Durheimer is hoping Porsche can convince the relevant legislators to give the technology the green light.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet