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Porsche 918 Spyder looks race ready

Though it won’t be on the roads of Australia till late 2013 or early 2014, the local importer has revealed more details about the styling and design.

Scheduled to be the world’s fastest road going hybrid car, the Porsche 918 hints at the frontal styling to the legendary 917 Le Mans winning machine of the early 1970s. On a racing note, it’s interesting that the German prototype is shown with Aussie Peter Brock’s racing number, 05! Forty years on and the world has changed forever.

Though the Porsche 918 Spyder is aimed directly at the high-performance market, it has the sort of fuel consumption only the most frugal of small cars can dream of. “Minimal fuel consumption and maximum performance,” is the aim says Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development of Porsche. 

A petrol-electric hybrid, the hot Porsche has two independent electric motors; one on the front axle driving the front wheels, the other set into the driveline and acting on the rear wheels. The super Porsche will also have what the company describes as a “high-performance combustion engine” though details are yet to be released. 

All up the three powerplants can produce as much as 770 horsepower, or 566 kW. Fuel consumption is “in the region of three litres per hundred kilometres,” say the Porsche engineers. Obviously the car won’t be producing that maximum horsepower and minimum fuel use simultaneously, but the combination of the two extremes in one supercar is simply astonishing. 

Lightweight materials – the body is a full carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque – will be used throughout the 918 as a major factor in getting high performance from this brute of a machine. Fascinatingly, all-wheel drive and electric power are far from being recent developments in the history of Porsche. 

Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the iconic marque, experimented with both forms of engineering in the early years of the 20th century. Though he died over 60 years ago we are sure he could soon grasp the technology behind the latest car to carry his name were he around today. The price? Who knows? But it’s likely to be on the wrong side of a million dollars...