There's a lot we don't know about the hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder concept. Is its 500 HP combined or gas-only? Does performance really tail-off as charge runs down? So what do we know? Porsche might actually build this.
Porsche claims the Spyder can accelerate to 60 MPH in 3.2 seconds, max out at 198 MPH and beat the Carrera GT around the Nurburgring with a 7:30 lap. Although we're guessing it can do none of those things and still return 78 MPG, its claimed fuel economy.
The mid-mounted 3.4-liter V8 revs to 9,200 although Porsche's press material makes its output somewhat vague. We're not sure if that "more than 500 HP" figure includes the 218 HP generated by the batteries or is the gas engine alone.
A 7-speed PDK flappy paddle gearbox sends gas and some electric power to the rear wheels, while most of the electric power is directed to the fronts through a fixed ratio.
The batteries are liquid-cooled lithium ion items positioned aft of the passenger compartment and forward of the engine. You can plug them in and they're also charged by regenerative braking. We're educatedly guessing that the 78 MPH figure is only attainable for the first 40 miles or so after a complete charge from a wall socket. Worryingly it seems that the car's headline performance numbers are also going to be reachable with that full charge. How're they going to spin that one? 0-60 in 3.4 seconds for 40 miles, then 5.0 seconds thereafter? Hopefully that charge will get you around the 13-mile nurburgring or it's going to be embarrassing when that polluting Carrera GT passes you in the carousel.
Still, according to new Porsche chairman Michael Macht, the 918 Spyder hybrid concept has "a fair chance for seeing production." We'll be watching.
Photo Credit: Máté Petrány