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Porsche 918 Spyder sheds disguise

Putting in the development miles...

Porsche has completed the first prototypes of the 918 Spyder and has got them pounding the racetracks doing development miles. We can see the body shape very clearly resembles the concept car, but rumour has it that this body will change significantly in design and that these prototypes are somewhat of a red herring.

Wearing camouflage reminiscent of the classic 917 racing cars, the prototypes focus "on the interplay between the highly sophisticated individual drive components." As Porsche explains, the car's plug-hybrid powertrain - which includes a 556 bhp 4.6-litre V8 engine, a 106 bhp electric motor on the front axle and a 120 bhp electric motor on the rear axle - represents a new set of engineering challenges for supercar development.

Despite the difficulties, Porsche has said the initial trials were "in line with the high expectations placed on the 918 Spyder." As such, the prototypes have a combined output of around 780 bhp which enables them to accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than 3 seconds and hit a top speed in excess of 202 mph. Porsche is making big claims in terms of efficiency - drivers can apparently expect to average approximately 94.1 mpg with CO2 emissions of roughly 70 g/km. Now call us cynical, but any car with 780 bhp and a low slung Supercar body isn’t going to be driven slowly and where it will certainly be more efficient than a normal Supercar, we would bet a fair amount of money that it will never achieve 90+ mpg. But even if it manages 45 mpg it will still be 30 mpg more than the rivals.

As an added bonus (to some people), due to the 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery the model can travel more than 15.5 miles on electricity alone at speeds up to 95 mph. One of the unique issues Porsche has come across is the routing of the exhaust pipes. When they tried having the exhausts coming out at the rear, the tubing passed far too close to the cooling systems for the engine, batteries and ECUs, so they now exit out of the top of the engine. With the ability to remove the roof panel this should make for quite an aurally stimulating drive.

The 918 Spyder will go into production in September 2013 and the first deliveries are set to take place later that year. The price is set to be over £500,000.

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more