When Porsche unveiled the 918 Spyder concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show we were all in amazement. Within that amazement was a sense of a sense of pessimism, as we were unsure exactly how this future successor to the Carrera GT would look and run in the real world. We all know that manufacturers have a habit of “overestimating” its cars at these shows, to put it nicely.
After more than three years, the 918 Spyder ended its testing phase and is ready for its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 918 has made many passes around the “Green Hell,” thrashing its predecessor’s time in the process. All of these laps around the famed Nürburgring and at Porsche’s test facilities have given the automaker enough details to allow it to piece together all of its specs.
So, is the 918 Spyder everything it has been hyped up to be?
Update 10/02/2013: Porsche unveiled a new promo video (above) for the new 918 Spyder in that it explains the design concept behind the new supercar. Enjoy!
Update 11/18/2013: Shortly after the first 918 Spyder units were delivered, Porsche announced a series of improvements for the new electric supercar. With the new improvements, the model equipped with the Weissach package will go from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.6 seconds (-0.2 seconds), from zero to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 7.2 seconds (-0.5 seconds), and from 0 to 300 km/h (186 mph) in 19.9 seconds (-2.1 seconds). Also, when only the two electric motors run, the model goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.2 seconds, without producing any emissions.
Update 12/04/2013: Porsche unveiled a new video showing its new 918 Spyder in action on the on the Valencia racetrack. Enjoy!
Update 12/13/2013: Porsche unveiled today a new gallery for the new 918 Spyder showing for the first time the supercar in a different color than the usual grey. This time the car features a very cool yellow paint combined with lime green brake calipers.
Updated 02/27/2014: Porsche unveiled a new video in which it explains the optional Weissach package that adds a series of a carbon fiber components and makes the 918 Spyder about 90 pounds lighter.
Click past the jump to read our review and find out.
Updated 05/16/2013: Porsche revealed today new images and details on the 918 Spyder - a supercar that combines pedigree motor racing technology with excellent everyday utility, and maximum performance with minimum consumption.
Updated 06/19/2013: Porsche unveiled a new video showing the upcoming 918 Spyder testing in the Valley of Fire outside of Las Vegas Nevada. Enjoy!
Updated 07/01/2013: Porsche U.S.A launched a microsite for the upcoming 918 Spyder. Go online and learn everything you need to know on the supercar set to go on sale this September.
Updated 07/02/2013: In the past few weeks, Porsche took two 918 Spyder prototypes on a tour through the Middle East. During the 52-day-long tour, this pair of supercars visited six countries and Porsche released the "Meet the Prototype" video today, which summarizes the tour. Enjoy!
Updated 07/15/2013: The 918 Spyder made an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Additionally, Porsche also released some new numbers on the 918 Spyder, including its official acceleration times, top speed, curb weight and more.
Updated 08/16/2013: Porsche just Tweeted an image of the "latest production version" of the 918 Spyder. You can see the new image above.
Updated 09/09/2013: The production-version 918 Spyder finally made its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, and for the first time, we can see the supercar in the flesh. Check out the new pictures in the picture gallery!
Update 09/10/2013: Porsche debuted the 918 at the Frankfurt Motor Show by announcing that it crushed the four-year-old OEM-spec, road-legal lap record at Nurburgring with a 6:57 lap time.
Update 09/16/2013: With the new 918 Spyder making its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche decided to launch its initial online configurator today. For now, the configurator only allows you to change exterior and interior colors, and add a small amount of optional equipment, but it’s still nice to see a variety of available colors.
The 918 Spyder is built on a carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) monocoque that is interlocked with a CFRP unit carrier. This provides great stability with lightweight construction, and also provides plenty of protection for the folks in its cabin.
On the outside, you see plenty of Porsche’s trademark characteristics. It boasts a sloped nose, along with a sleek roofline that tapers all the way down to the rear end. Speaking of the roofline, a two-piece Targa top graces this roof, giving you the opportunity to drive in the open air. What makes the 918 Spyder special is where Porsche strayed from its typical styling. Up front, you get shapelier headlights than you will see on the rest of its lineup. The front fenders are also far less bulging than on the other models in its line.
Just in front of the rear wheels, Porsche fitted the engine’s main air intakes. These massive canyons in the rear fenders should be more than up to the responsibility of feeding life-giving O2 to the V-8 monster residing under the chicken-wire-style cage on the rear of the 918 Spyder.
On the backside of the 918 Spyder, there’s a massive dual-pedestal spoiler to add a little extra downforce. The one styling cue that the 918 Spyder takes from the rest of the Porsche lineup is its taillights. If you look close enough at the 918’s taillights, you may even see the soul of the 911 still floating around in them. Just below these taillights rest a pair of air vents, which we can only chock up as heat extractors, as there is no way they can be designed to take in air.
An interesting change from conception to production is the axing of the side-exit exhaust that everyone, including us, thought was flat out bad-ass and moving the exits to the top of the car – on pipe behind each seat. This offers up a several little-known benefits. First of all, this more than shortens the traveling distance from the cylinder heads to the exhaust tips, allowing the exhaust to escape more quickly. Secondly, putting the exhaust exits right behind the seats also makes the sweet noise of the exhaust a little more audible inside the cabin. Lastly, it helps lower the temperature in the engine compartment.
At the base of the rear fascia, Porsche fitted a relatively huge diffuser. This should provide plenty of additional downward force and keep the fatter rear end from jiggling around too much at high speeds.
In terms of its footprint, the 918 Spyder measures in at 4,643 mm (182.79 inches) long X 1,940 mm (76.37 inches) wide X 1,167 mm (45.94 inches) tall and it has a 2,730 mm (107.48-inch) wheelbase. The 918 Spyder’s front track measures in at 1,664 mm (65.51 inches) and its rear track measures 1,612 mm (63.46 inches). For those that aren’t familiar with “track width,” this is the gap between the centermost points of each tire.
|Chassis Construction||CFRP Monocoque Interlocked W/ CFRP Unit Carrier|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||4,643 mm (182.79 inches) x 1,940 mm (76.37 inches) x 1,167 mm (45.94 inches)|
|Wheelbase||2,730 mm (107.5 inches)|
|Weight||1,700 kg (3,747 pounds) / 1,640 kg (3,616 lbs) W/ Weissach package|
|Track Width (Front/Rear)||1,664 mm (65.51 inches) / 1,612 mm (63.46 inches)|
The interior is all about offering the driver a great driving experience. There is an ultra-modern center console that looks like something out of a futuristic movie and a trio of rounded, standalone gauges. It is divided into two basic areas: one holding the controls that are important for driving and grouped around the multifunction steering wheel and the infotainment block that is housed in the lifted center console.
The interior will offer a black-and-silver color combination with green contrasting piping on the door panels – Oakland Raider and Seattle Seahawk fans rejoice, the 918 Spyder will match your garb during the football season.
The 918 Spyder will feature a soft-touch interior, leaving all of that ugly hard plastic to lesser-quality cars. Also included will be a 3-spoke, multifunction sports steering wheel and sport seats wrapped in leather. That’s pretty much all of the stuff you expect from a Porsche.
For those audiophiles out there, Porsche is catering to you too. This supercar features a Burmester 11-speaker audio system. Additionally, Porsche Car Connect allows you to connect to the 918’s hybrid system remotely.
Additionally, the 918 Spyder offers up 110 liters (3.8 cubic-feet) of luggage space, so you can carry along a small bag.
Engine and Drivetrain
Now we can talk about the single most awesome part of the 918 Spyder, its engine and drivetrain. It all starts with a 4.6-liter V-8 engine strapped in behind the seats. In order to keep things as light as possible, Porsche fitted the 918 Spyder’s engine with titanium connecting rods, thin-wall, low-pressure casting on the crank case and the cylinder heads, a high-strength, light-weight steel crankshaft, and an extremely thin-walled, alloy steel exhaust system.
Keeping the engine properly lubricated is a dry-sump lubrication system with a separate oil tank and oil extraction. Adding to the weight savings, Porsche fabricated the four oil-extraction pumps out of plastic. That’s a little scary of a tradeoff in our opinion, but every ounce counts.
All of this technology pushes this V-8 to an impressive 608 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 530 Nm (391 foot-pounds) of torque. That power is stout, to say the least, but the 918 Spyder goes beyond that by adding a 115 kW (154 horsepower) electric motor to power the rear axle and a 95 kW (127-horsepower) electric motor on the front axle. This combines for a total of 887 mind-blowing horsepower and a peak torque rating of 1,275 Nm (940 pound-feet) with over 800 Nm (590 pound-feet) available from just 800 rpm.
Linked up to this complex mash up of gasoline and electric power in the back end is Porsche’s beautiful piece of engineering called the Doppelkupplungsgetriebe – we know it better as the PDK. The PDK only connects to the engine and the rear electric motor. The front motors have a separate gearbox that disconnects the front motors after the car hits 235 km/h (146 mph).
The driveline is also very tunable on the fly, as you have five different modes to select from that are optimized for certain situations. “E-Power” mode is a full-electric mode that is nearly silent and acts as the default setting. This allows you 25 km (15 miles) of electric-only driving before the engine is forced into action because of depleted batteries. Additionally, you get a kick-down function, which means that if you hammer on the throttle, the gasoline engine kicks in to help out.
The second mode is “Hybrid,” which combines the gasoline and electric power in the most efficient way to maximize fuel economy. Next up is the “Sport Hybrid” mode, which uses primarily the gasoline engine, but the electric motors kick in like an electric “turbo” to increase performance when you nail the throttle.
Next there is the “Race Hybrid.” In this mode, you mostly use the gasoline engine, but the electric motors are set to full power and add in boost as needed. In this mode, the gasoline engine also charges the batteries more aggressively, which leads to huge fluctuation in battery charge while driving in this mode.
The final mode is "Hot Lap". In this mode there is an additional button that releases the final reserves of the 918 Spyder and that pushes the traction battery to its maximum power output limits for a few fast laps. This mode uses all of the available energy in the battery.
All of this crazy technology amounts out to mammoth performance potential with great fuel economy. The 918 Spyder can hit a top speed in excess of of 340 km/h (211 mph) with the gasoline engine and electric motors working together. In E-Power mode, the 918 Spyder can hit a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). In acceleration, the 918 Spyder is literally insane, as it hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds, 200 km/h (124 mph) in just 7.9 seconds, and reaches 300 km/h (186 mph) in 23 seconds. To lend a little more credence to the 918 Spyder’s performance credentials, Porsche took the new hybrid supercar to Nurburgring and smashed the OEM-spec, road-going lap record with a 6:57 run.
With the Weissach package in tow, the 918 Spyder becomes even more of a rocketship, as it sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.6 seconds, to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 7.2 seconds and to 300 km/h (186 mph) in 19.9 seconds. For you green thumbs, with only the two electric motors powering the 918, it hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in an 6.2 seconds with zero emissions.
Now, we know that anyone looking to buy this car is looking for pure performance and fuel economy and emissions are an afterthought. Well, just so your conscious remains clear, the 918 Spyder boasts an astounding estimated fuel economy rating of 3.3L per 100 km (85 mpg) rating and an equally mind blowing 79 g/km CO2 emission rating.
To say the 918 Spyder is amazing is the understatement of the year.
Engine and Driveline Specifications:
|Engine||4.6-Liter V-8 W/ Two Electric Parallel Motors|
|Total Horsepower||887 Horsepower|
|Total Torque||940 Pound-Feet|
|Transmission||7-Speed PDK Automated Manual|
|Fuel Economy||85 mpg|
|CO2 Emissions||79 g/km|
|Top Speed (Hybrid/Electric||211 mph / 93 mph|
|Acceleration (0-62 mph/0-124 mph/0-186 mph)||2.8 Sec. / 7.9 Sec. / 23 Sec. (2.6 Sec. / 7.2 Sec. / 19.9 Sec. W/ Weissach package)|
|Battery||Lithium-Ion W. 6.8 kWh Capacity, 200 kW|
Suspension and Braking
Porsche installed its PASM suspension system under the 918 Spyder, which is an adaptive shock absorber system that automatically adjusts the shocks for varying road conditions and driving styles. Also included is a rear-axle steering system, which steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction at low speeds for more precise turning. At high speed, the rear wheels turn the same way, which helps to lower the pushing that the rear end does when changing lanes too quickly. Now, we’re not talking about full-on turned rear wheels, just small degrees.
Up front, you get a double-wishbone setup and on the rear, you get a multi-link setup. In addition to the PASM, you also get a lift system on the front end to avoid hitting curbs and other low-lying obstacles.
Outside of the suspension system, you have a high-performance hybrid brake system with adaptive recuperation braking system. Included in the standard 918 Spyder is Porsche’s famed ceramic brake discs, otherwise known as PCCB. The front rotors measure in at 410 mm (16.14 inches) x 36 mm (1.41 inches) and a cross-drilled and slotted. The rear rotors are also cross-drilled and slotted, and measure in at 390 mm (15.35 inches) x 32 mm (1.26 inches).
With this supercar keeping its center of gravity so low for optimal handling, you may have issues getting up ramps without causing damage. To help in these situations, Porsche installed a lift system that raises the 918 by 1.1 inches at speeds up to 31 mph.
Just outside of the brakes, you get 9.5J x 20 front rims wrapped in 265/35ZR20 rubber and 12.5J x 21 rear rims wrapped in 325/30ZR21 rubber. The magnesium wheel upgrade comes as part of the Weissach package.
Handling and Suspension Specs
|Front Suspension||Double-Wishbone W/ Lift System and PASM|
|Rear Suspension||Multi-Link W/ PASM|
|Front Brakes||Porsche PCCB W/ 410 mm (16.14-Inch) x 36 mm (1.41-Inch) Cross-Drilled And Slotted Discs|
|Rear Brakes||Porsche PCCB W/ 390 mm (15.35-Inch) x 32 mm (1.26-Inch) Cross-Drilled And Slotted Discs|
|Rims (Front/Rear)||9.5J x 20 / 12.5J x 21|
|Tires (Front/Rear)||265/35ZR20 / 325/30ZR21|
The Weissach Package
The Weissach Package has been a hot topic when discussing the future if the 918 Spyder. This package shaves 77 pounds off of the supercar’s overall weight to help maximize its power-to-weight ratio. Additionally, this package adds in a carbon-fiber roof, rear wing, side-view mirrors and windshield surround.
On the inside, the Weissach Package adds in carbon-fiber trimming, and an Alcantara-covered steering wheel, and center console.
For those that want a little something extra on the outside, the Weissach package also has two optional liveries. First is the notorious Martini Racing Livery, which first saw use in 1969 , and is one of the most recognizable Porsche racing liveries.
The second optional livery is the Salzburg Racing Design, which combines red stripes over a white body to give the 918 the look of the fastest Porsche racecar of all time, the 917.
In the U.S. market the Porsche 918 Spyder will be priced at €781,155 in Europe and $845,000 in the U.S. for the base model. For a grand total of $929,000 — an $84k bump — you can add in the weight-savings package known as the Weissach Package on U.S.-spec models. In Europe, the 918 Spyder with the Weissach Package comes in at €853,155.
In the European market, the model will be priced at €768,026 Optional equipment are priced at follow (U.S. prices of options are at the current Euro-to-USD exchange rates unless noted by "official"):
|Option||European Price||U.S. Price|
|Weissach Package||€72,000||$84,000 (official)|
|Car Foil||€11,900||$15,500 (estimate)|
|Liquid Metal Paint||€47,600||$62,000 (estimate)|
|Magnesium Wheels||€29,750||$38,700 (estimate)|
|Special German Leather||€23,800||$30,800 (estimate)|
|Five-Piece Luggage Set||€17,731||$23,000 (estimate)|
|Lift System||€8,925||$11,500 (estimate)|
Befitting its status as Porsche’s ultimate supercar, acquiring the 918 Spyder will be a little more complicated than most standard Porsche models. First of all, there’s that all important matter of having $845,000-plus at your disposal. When you’ve settled that, you need to find an authorized Porsche dealer - by ’authorized’, we mean those that have signed a participation agreement with the company - that can process your order. Once you’ve found that dealership, they will be the ones to pass along an order to Porsche where they are obligated to submit an "Allocation Request Form." Once submitted, the dealership will have to wait for a reply from Porsche, with the latter telling the former if they can order one. When that happens, the dealer will have to submit $200,000 as down payment for the order. Porsche will then respond with its own confirmation letter and an estimated time frame for production. Then, a year before the car’s production date, the buyer will have to fork over another $200,000 with the remaining balance of $445,000 set to be paid when the car is built. Owners will have to settle all the payments before the company ships the 918 Spyder.
And why exactly is Porsche making its potential buyers jump through a dozen and a half flaming hoops, while an archer launches flaming arrows at the buyers? Well, because Porsche is too damn smart to build 918 nearly-$1-million cars based purely on interest. They are making you pay $400K before they even pick up a body panel on your 918 Spyder. That’s just another example of the brilliant insanity that drives Volkswagen and Porsche.
Oh and by the way… The 918 Spyder is already sold out, so even if you had the cash to get one, you are going to have to wait until one hits the used market and likely pay much more than the original buyer did.
When the 918 Spyder first started testing, we were unsure where it would receive competition from , but McLaren was quick to pop in with its P1. With an 800-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-8 engine and a an electric motor in tow, this supercar pumps out 903 horsepower and 1,100 pound-feet of torque. With this much power, the P1 hits a top speed of 217 mph and sprints to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds. With a $1.15 million price tag, it does check in a lot pricier than the 918.
Gallery McLaren P1
The LaFerrari is super sexy and a mighty foe with its 963 total horsepower. With its V-12 engine and a pair of electric motors, this powerful prancing horse can hit a top speed of 217 mph and 62 mph in under 3 seconds. Like the P1, the LaFerrari is certainly more powerful than the 918, but its price tag will likely be well over the 918’s price.
Gallery Ferrari LaFerrari
To say that we are a tad bit excited about the 918 Spyder is certainly an understatement. Its combination of power, speed, fuel economy and low emissions is a modern marvel. It’s price, on the other hand, is a deterrent – though it certainly didn’t deter it from selling out in short order.
EVO Diaries reviews the Porsche 918 Spyder Prototype
- 795 Horsepower
- Huge mpg and low emissions
- Awesome styling
- Phew, may be over $900K when all said and done
- We are a little skeptical of Porsche’s testing numbers
- That buying process, oh my...
Gallery Porsche 918 Spyder
The 918 Spyder embodies the essence of the Porsche idea: it combines pedigree motor racing technology with excellent everyday utility, and maximum performance with minimum consumption. The task faced by the development team was to create the super sports car for the next decade with a highly efficient and powerful hybrid drive. Developing the car from scratch, appropriately beginning with a sheet of white paper, allowed the team to come up with a no-compromise concept. The entire car was designed around the hybrid drive. The 918 Spyder therefore demonstrates the potential of the hybrid drive to a degree never seen before: the parallel improvement of both efficiency and performance without one being at the cost of the other. This is the idea that has made the Porsche 911 the most successful sports car in the world for 50 years. In short, the 918 Spyder will act as the gene pool for the Porsche sports cars of the future.
The 918 Spyder reveals its close links to motorsport in a variety of ways. It has been designed, developed and produced by Porsche engineers who build race cars, in cooperation with series production specialists. A great deal of insight gained from the development of Porsche race cars for the 24 hours race in Le Mans in 2014 is thus integrated into the 918 Spyder – and vice versa. The structural concept of the 918 Spyder with a rolling chassis as its basis – a basic vehicle that can be driven even without a body – is race car tradition at Porsche. The concept of the V8 engine originates from the LMP2 RS Spyder race car. The load-bearing structures, the monocoque and subframe, are made of carbon fibre reinforced polymer. Porsche has many years of experience with this high-strength, lightweight construction material and has again achieved top results with the development of the series production 918 Spyder. Many parts of the super sports car come from manufacturers who have a proven record as suppliers for motorsport vehicles.
Hybrid drive brings advantages in terms of driving dynamics
A key message of the 918 Spyder is that the hybrid drive from Porsche is a plus for no-compromise driving dynamics. Drivers can experience this thanks to the unique all-wheel drive concept with a combination of combustion engine and electric motor on the rear axle and the second electric motor on the front axle. It is based on knowledge gained by Porsche during motor races with the successful 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Due to the additional, individually controllable front drive, new driving strategies for extremely high, safe cornering speeds can be implemented, especially for bends. Furthermore, the advanced “boost" strategy manages the energy of the electric drive so intelligently that, for every sprint with maximum acceleration, the full power of the 918 Spyder can be tapped into by simply pressing the accelerator down fully. In short, the 918 Spyder allows even drivers without motorsport training to experience the potential of advanced longitudinal and transverse dynamics.
The Porsche 918 Spyder also has the potential to break many records. The current lap time for the North Loop of the Nürburgring is 7:14 minutes. This time was achieved in the presence of international journalists during test drives in September 2012 – more than a year before start of production. The 918 Spyder prototype was therefore approximately 20 seconds quicker than the Porsche Carrera GT. More test drives on the Nürburgring North Loop will follow. An even more important factor is that the 918 Spyder surpasses previous models and competitors by far in its efficiency as well. As a plug-in hybrid vehicle, it systematically combines the dynamic performance of a racing machine with over 880 hp and low NEDC fuel consumption, which at about three litres fuel per 100 km is better than that of most small cars today. To sum it up: maximum driving fun with minimal fuel consumption.
Carbon monocoque guarantees lightweight design with a low centre of gravity
The 918 Spyder utilizes the best state-of-the-art technologies, taken straight from motor racing, to achieve its top performance. The entire load-bearing structure is made of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) for extreme torsional rigidity. Additional crash elements at the front and rear absorb and reduce the energy of a collision. The car’s unladen weight of approximately 1,640 kg (“Weissach" package), an excellent low weight for a hybrid vehicle of this performance class, is largely attributable to this concept. The drivetrain components and all components weighing over 50 kg are located as low and as centrally as possible within the vehicle. This results in a slightly rear end biased axle load distribution of 57 per cent on the rear axle and 43 per cent on the front axle, combined with an extremely low centre of gravity at approximately the height of the wheel hubs, which is ideal for driving dynamics. The central and low position of the traction battery directly behind the driver not only supports efforts to concentrate masses and lower the centre of gravity; it also provides the best temperature conditions for optimum battery power capacity.
Chassis with race car genes and rear-axle steering
The multi-link chassis of the Porsche 918 Spyder is inspired by motorsport design, complemented by additional systems such as the PASM adaptive shock-absorber system and rear-axle steering. Basically, this incorporates an electro-mechanical adjustment system at each rear wheel. The adjustment is speed-sensitive and executes steering angles of up to three degrees in each direction. The rear axle can therefore be steered in the same direction as the front wheels or in opposition to them. At low speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in a direction opposite to that of the front wheels. This makes cornering even more direct, faster and more precise, and it reduces the turning circle. At higher speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels. This significantly improves the stability of the rear end when changing lanes quickly. The result is very secure and stable handling.
Porsche Active Aerodynamic (PAA) for different driving modes
Porsche Active Aerodynamic (PAA), a system of adjustable aerodynamic elements, ensures unique and variable aerodynamics; its layout is automatically varied over three modes ranging from optimal efficiency to maximum downforce and is tuned to the operating modes of the hybrid drive system. In “Race" mode, the retractable rear wing is set to a steep angle to generate high downforce at the rear axle. The spoiler positioned between the two wing supports near the trailing edge of the airflow also extends. In addition, two adjustable air flaps are opened in the underfloor in front of the front axle, and they direct a portion of the air into the diffuser channels of the underbody structure. This also produces a “ground effect" at the front axle.
In “Sport" mode, the aerodynamic control system reduces the attack angle of the rear wing somewhat, which enables a higher top speed. The spoiler remains extended. The aerodynamic flaps in the underfloor area close, which also reduces aerodynamic drag and increases attainable vehicle speeds. In “E" mode, the control is configured entirely for low aerodynamic drag; the rear wing and spoiler are retracted and the underfloor flaps are closed.
Adjustable air inlets under the main headlights round off the adaptive aerodynamic system. When the vehicle is stationary and in “Race" and “Sport" mode, they are opened for maximum cooling air intake. In “E-Power" and “Hybrid" modes, they close immediately after the car is driven off in order to keep aerodynamic drag to a minimum. They are not opened until the car reaches speeds of approximately 130 km/h or when cooling requirements are higher.
From comfortable to race-ready: five modes for three motors
The core of the 918 Spyder concept is its distribution of propulsive power among the three power units; their cooperation is controlled by an intelligent management system. To best exploit these different approaches, the Porsche developers defined five operating modes that can be activated via a “map switch" on the steering wheel, just like in motorsport cars. On the basis of this pre-selection, the 918 Spyder applies the most suitable operating and boost strategy without driver intervention, thus allowing the driver to concentrate fully on the road.
Quiet and elegant: “E-Power"
When the vehicle is started up, the “E-Power" mode is the default operating mode as long as the battery is sufficiently charged. In ideal conditions, the 918 Spyder can cover over 30 kilometres on purely electric power. Even in pure electric mode, the 918 Spyder accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than seven seconds and can reach speeds of up to 150 km/h. In this mode, the combustion engine is only used when needed. If the battery’s charge state drops below a set minimum value, the vehicle automatically switches to hybrid mode.
Efficient and comfortable: “Hybrid"
In “Hybrid" mode, the electric motors and combustion engine work alternately with a focus on maximum efficiency and minimum fuel consumption. The use of individual drive components is modified as a function of the current driving situation and the desired performance. The Hybrid mode is typically used for a fuel economy-oriented driving style.
Sporty and dynamic: “Sport Hybrid"
In more dynamic situations, the 918 Spyder selects the “Sport Hybrid" mode for its power sources. The combustion engine now operates continuously and provides the main propulsive force. In addition, the electric motors provide support in the form of electric boosting or when the operating point of the combustion engine can be optimised for greater efficiency. The focus of this mode is on performance and a sporty driving style at top speed.
For fast laps: “Race Hybrid"
“Race Hybrid" is the mode for maximum performance and an especially sporty driving style. The combustion engine is chiefly used under high load, and charges the battery when the driver is not utilising its maximum output. Again, the electric motors provide additional support in the form of boosting. Furthermore, the gear-shifting programme of the PDK is set up for even sportier driving. The electric motors are used up to the maximum power output limit to deliver the best possible performance for the race track. In this mode, the battery charge state is not kept constant, rather it fluctuates over the entire charge range. In contrast to Sport Hybrid mode, the electric motors run at their maximum power output limit for a short time for better boosting. This increased output is balanced by the combustion engine charging the battery more intensively. Electric power is thus available even with several very fast laps.
For pole position: “Hot Lap"
The “Hot Lap" button in the middle of the map switch releases the final reserves of the 918 Spyder and can only be activated in “Race Hybrid" mode. Similar to a qualification mode, this pushes the traction battery to its maximum power output limits for a few fast laps. This mode uses all of the available energy in the battery.
Main propulsion: the race car’s eight cylinder engine
The main source of propulsion is the 4.6-litre, eight cylinder engine that produces 608 hp of power. The engine is derived directly from the power unit of the successful RS Spyder, which explains why it can deliver engine speeds of up to 9,150 rpm. Like the race engine of the RS Spyder, the 918 Spyder power unit features dry-sump lubrication with a separate oil tank and oil extraction. To save weight, components such as the oil tank, the air filter box integrated into the subframe and the air induction are made of carbon fibre reinforced polymer. Further extensive lightweight design measures have resulted in such features as titanium connecting rods, thin-wall, low-pressure casting on the crank case and the cylinder heads, a high-strength, lightweight steel crankshaft with 180 degrees crankpin offset and the extremely thin-walled alloy steel/nickel exhaust system. Striking features of the V8 are that it no longer supports any auxiliary systems, there are no external belt drives and the engine is therefore particularly compact. Weight and performance optimisations achieve a power output per litre of approx. 132 hp/l – the highest power output per litre of a Porsche naturally aspirated engine – which is significantly higher than that of the Carrera GT (106 hp/l) and outstanding for a naturally aspirated engine.
Unique race car design heritage: top pipes
It isn’t just this engine’s performance but also the sound it makes that stokes the emotionality of the 918 Spyder. This is attributable first and foremost to the so-called top pipes: the tailpipes terminate in the upper part of the rear end immediately above the engine. No other production vehicle uses this solution. The top pipes’ greatest benefit is optimal heat removal, because the hot exhaust gases are released via the shortest possible route, and exhaust gas back pressure remains low. This design requires a new thermodynamic air channelling concept. With the HSI engine, the hot side is located inside the cylinder V, the intake channels are on the outside. There is another benefit as well: the engine compartment remains cooler. This is especially beneficial to the lithium-ion traction battery, as it provides optimum performance at temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius. Consequently, less energy needs to be used for active cooling of the battery.
In parallel in the drivetrain: hybrid module
The V8 engine is coupled to the hybrid module, since the 918 Spyder is designed as a parallel hybrid like the current hybrid models from Porsche. Essentially, the hybrid module comprises a 115 kW electric motor and a decoupler that serves as the connection with the combustion engine. Because of its parallel hybrid configuration, the 918 Spyder can be powered at the rear axle either individually by the combustion engine or electric motor or via both drives jointly. As is typical for a Porsche super sports car, the power pack in the 918 Spyder has been placed in front of the rear axle, and does not have any direct mechanical connection to the front axle.
Upside-down for a low centre of gravity: Doppelkupplung
A seven-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission handles power transmission to the rear axle. The high-performance transmission is the sportiest version of the successful PDK; it has undergone a complete redesign for the 918 Spyder and has been further optimised for high performance. To ensure a low mounting position for a low centre of gravity of the entire vehicle, the gear unit was turned “upside down" by rotating it 180 degrees about its longitudinal axis, in contrast to other Porsche series. If no power is required on the rear axle, the two motors can be decoupled by opening the decoupler and PDK clutches. This is the action behind the Porsche hybrid drive’s typical “coasting" with the combustion engine switched off.
Independent all-wheel drive: front axle with electric motor
On the front axle, there is another independent electric motor with an output of approximately 95 kW. The front electric drive unit drives the wheels at a fixed ratio. A decoupler decouples the electric motor at high speeds to prevent the motor from over-revving. Drive torque is independently controlled for each axle. This makes for very responsive all-wheel drive functionality that offers great potential in terms of traction and driving dynamics.
Lithium-ion battery with plug-in charging system
The electric energy for the electric motors is stored by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery comprising 312 individual cells with an energy content of about seven kilowatt hours. The battery of the 918 Spyder has a performance-oriented design in terms of both power charging and output, so that it can fulfil the performance requirements of the electric motor. The power capacity and the operating life of the lithium-ion traction battery depend on several factors, including thermal conditions. That is why the battery of the 918 Spyder is liquid-cooled by a dedicated cooling circuit. The global warranty period for the traction battery is seven years.
To supply it with energy, Porsche developed a new system with a plug-in vehicle charge port and improved recuperation potential. This vehicle charge port in the B-column on the front passenger side lets users connect the storage battery to a mains supply at home and charge it. The charge port is standardised for the country of purchase. The on-board charger is located close to the traction battery. It converts the alternating current of the mains supply into direct current with a maximum charge output of 3.6 kW. Using the supplied Porsche Universal Charger (AC), the traction battery can be charged within four hours from a ten ampere rated, fused power socket on the German 230 Volt mains supply, for example. Furthermore, the Porsche Universal Charger (AC) can be installed at home in the garage using the Charging Dock. It enables rapid and convenient charging within approximately two hours, irrespective of regional conditions. The Porsche Speed Charging Station (DC) is available as an optional extra. It can fully charge the high-voltage battery of the 918 Spyder in just 25 minutes.
Pioneering control concept: clear organisation of the cockpit
The driver is the focus of all technology in the future Porsche super sports car. A cockpit was created for the driver that is typical of the brand and pioneering in its clarity. It is partitioned into two basic areas. First, there are the controls that are important for driving, which are grouped around the multifunction steering wheel, combined with driver information displayed on three large round instruments. Second, there is the infotainment block that is housed in the lifted centre console, which was introduced in the Carrera GT. Control functions, e.g. for the automatic climate control system, wing adjustment, lighting and Porsche Communication Management (PCM), including a Burmester high-end sound system, can be intuitively operated by multitouch with a new type of black panel technology.
For even higher performance: the Weissach package
For very performance-oriented customers of the 918 Spyder, Porsche offers the “Weissach" package. These modified super sports cars can be recognised at first glance by special colours and designs that are based on legendary Porsche race cars. The roof, rear wings, rear-view mirrors and frames of the windscreen are made of visible carbon. Parts of the interior are upholstered with Alcantara instead of leather, and visible carbon replaces much of the aluminium. Sound insulation has been reduced. The emphasis on performance is not just visual: very lightweight magnesium wheels reduce unsprung masses; gross weight was reduced by about 35 kg. The benefits are experienced in further improved dynamic performance. Other references from motorsport are six-point seatbelts for driver and front passenger, optional film-coating instead of body paint, as well as additional aerodynamic body parts in visible carbon.
Porsche redefined: a new super sports car for a new decade
The 918 Spyder continues a long tradition of super sports cars at Porsche; as technology platforms, as the driving force behind both car emotion and car evolution and as the ultimate sports cars of their decades: the Carrera GTS, the first Porsche Turbo, the 959, the 911 GT1, the Carrera GT. More than any of its predecessors, the 918 Spyder is providing key impetus for developing technologies for future vehicle concepts. It offers a complete package of components that reflect Porsche DNA – more concentrated than ever before.