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Porsche’s hybrid 918 Spyder supercar ‘leaked’

Web of intrigue: Images of Porsche’s 2013 plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder are said to have come from an official brochure leaked on the internet.

Fastest Porsche gets early outing as plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder ‘brochure’ hits web

Porsche logo20 Sep 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

PORSCHE’S upcoming 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar appears to have been exposed in leaked brochure photos circulating on the internet.

The realistic-looking shots even include brochure pages describing the 12 paint colours and optional race-style body artwork – including a classic Martini Racing look-alike design – available to buyers of the left-hand-drive only sportscar that is due to go into production in almost exactly 12 months.

The pictures hit the web just as Porsche announced the 585kW petrol-electric 918 had set the fastest official Nurburgring lap time – 7 minutes and 14 seconds – for a road-legal car.

This bettered by 18 seconds Porsche’s previous best time set by the Carrera GT in 2004.

The range-topping 918 – propelled by a combination of 4.6-litre V8 turbo petrol engine and two electric motors creating an all-wheel drive powertrain – will not be sold officially in Australia.

However there is no stopping a cashed-up car collector from buying one of the exclusive 918 vehicles to be built in Germany, as long as they are willing to fork out an estimated $A1.3 million starting price, including more than $400,000 in Australian taxes.

25 center imageSo far, Porsche Cars Australia has heard of no-one doing so.

Porsche is yet to announce when it will publicly unveil the highly anticipated two-seater, which is not only capable of supercar performance – including a 3.2-second 0-100km/h sprint time – but Pruis-beating fuel economy of about 3.0 litres per 100km.

The car is not scheduled to be unveiled at next week’s Paris motor show, which leaves the possibility of the 2013 Detroit or Geneva shows as potential launch pads.

Porsche is also working under the radar, holding VIP briefings to ensure genuine customers around the world get the information they require.

The images that emerged overnight are largely faithful to the original 2010 918 Spyder concept, but shows some changes such as top-venting twin exhaust tail pipes in place of pipes exiting from the side panels, as well as an additional vent in the front mudguard, behind the front wheel.

Fanciful touches such as rear-mounted air scoops above the mid-mounted engine and tiny video rear vision mirrors on the concept have disappeared, with conventional exterior mirrors now in place.

The active high-lift rear wing appears to remain, although all the images show it in its tucked, low-speed position.

The LED headlamp clusters also seem to have been retained, but the mesh inserts in the big front air scoops have been replaced with black horizontal bars.

The black carbon-fibre removable roof is shown in place in some of the shots, apparently left unpainted in contrast with the remainder of the body that is also said to made of lightweight but super-strong composite materials.

Interior images show the same massive elongated centre console with touch-sensitive switches – a la Holden Volt – angled down from a dashboard that has motorcycle-style separate dials for the tacho, speedo and gauges.

An interesting red button is mounted separately, indicating that the 918 will have a high-power mode.

A small LCD screen in the dash shows a message “On my way”, indicating a voice-activated phone text technology.

Two styles of alloy wheels are shown, along with green-painted brake callipers on the ceramic front and rear discs – perhaps indicating the 918’s regenerative braking system and differentiating it from conventional petrol-powered Porsches with their red (iron disc) and yellow (carbon disc) brake callipers.

The new-generation regenerative braking system – in which both electric motors apply stopping force through all four wheels – will power up the 6.8kWh lithium-ion battery that will be liquid cooled to maximum durability and performance.

The battery can be charged at a power point and carry the 918 for about 25km on a full charge.

The two-seater is fitted with two electric motors – an 80kW unit driving the front wheels and a 90kW unit between the mid-mounted 425kW V8 engine and dual-clutch transmission, sending power through the rear wheels.

Top speed is said to be 325km/h, or 150km/h on electric power alone.

Meanwhile, the new-generation Porsche Boxster has gone into production at parent company Volkswagen’s Osnabruck plant in Germany, supplementing production at Porsche’s own Zuffenhausen plant near Stuttgart to meet a current shortfall.

Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkorn said Boxster production in Osnabrück was “a clear sign of the rapid coalescence of Volkswagen and Porsche”.

“Production in Osnabrück means creating synergies that will benefit customers, staff and location alike,” he said.

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