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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Porsche Spyder nearly a reality?

2010-04-28 07:23
Porsche’s 918 Spyder hybrid prototype was simply the car of this year’s Geneva motor show.

The hybrid supercar was kept properly secret until its unveiling and wowed showgoers and industry pundits with its fluid design, whilst offering a real world low-emission performance solution for the supercar market.

The only issue concerning the 918’s place in automotive history is its prototype billing.

Rapture inducing styling trimmed with all manner of environmentally sensitive hybrid trinkets. Spyder is what future supercars will be like. We find solace in its presence.

The magic number

At Geneva Porsche was keen to espouse the car’s virtues yet refused any production speculation. This was a state of affairs strikingly familiar to the Carrera GT supercar conception, where it was also unveiled as a prototype then effortlessly guided to roadcar homologation.

Speaking last week at the Beijing Motor Show, Porsche’s development chief, Wolfgang Duerheimer, admitted the company is keen to build the 918.

The magic figure being bandied about to make a suitable business case for the 918 is 1 000 serious customers. Duerheimer said he has 900 keen Porschephiles on a potential 918 waiting list already…

Duerheimer estimates the waiting list for potential orders will soon swell in to four figures. This should appease the Porsche board and liberate the necessary funding to enable an engineering team’s homologation programme for the 918.

Boasting 911 Turbo performance and characteristic Porsche dynamics, it's good for you (to drive) and won't drown baby polar bears either.

All the right ingredients

Why is the 918 Spyder is so vitally important to petrolheads everywhere? Consider its 3.4l V8 petrol engine (capable of 9 200r/min) powering up to 368kW, and an additional 160kW available from an electric motor - performance is plainly astounding.

Although purists might scoff at the 918’s all-wheel drive torque distribution, drive to the rear wheels is via the company’s excellent seven-speed PDK transmission. The 918’s front wheels are motorised by a fixed-ratio shift regime channelling electric power.

Porsche claims 0-100km/h is achievable in 3.2 seconds and if you happen upon a quiet enough piece of autobahn, it should see off 318km/h.

If you think the performance figures are startling, brace yourself for the fuel economy and emission numbers. Seriously, when last did you hear of a supercar able to return 3l/100km, whilst only emitting 70g of CO2 per km?

Of course the 918 looks epic too, cueing just enough contemporary styling cues throughout the Carrera GT inspired proportions to make it requisite bedroom wall poster material for teenage boys.

We’d like to thank the 900 rather wealthy individuals who’ve added their names to the potential waiting list thus far for essentially securing the future of high performance motoring.

Is Porsche's 918 a worthy successor to the Carrera GT? Have your say here.


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