Porsche 918 Spyder
The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is nothing less than the plug-in hybrid supercar of tomorrow, available today.
That's because the 918 Spyder's front and rear electric motors can propel it up to 93 mph on battery power alone. At the opposite end of the performance spectrum, when the 918's 4.6-liter V8 comes roaring to life, this Porsche will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in an astonishing 2.6 seconds and top out at a dizzying 214 mph. Impressive performance numbers to be sure, but maybe not all that surprising when you consider that the combined output of these three power sources amounts to 887 hp, just waiting for a liberal application of your right foot.
Of course, any car wearing the Porsche badge is about more than straight-line speed. The 918's handling is equally impressive, thanks in part to the engineers' decision to place the heaviest powertrain components below the car's horizontal centerline to give it an extremely low center of gravity. Add a combination of a racecar-style carbon-fiber chassis, a sophisticated adaptive suspension, communicative electromechanical steering of both the front and rear wheels, massive tires and carbon-ceramic brakes and you have a car that's supremely easy to drive ridiculously fast.
The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is a two-seat luxury sports car with a two-piece removable roof that's offered in a single well-equipped trim level.
Features include 20-inch front and 21-inch rear alloy wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, an adaptive suspension, automatic LED headlights, an automatic windshield wiper, heated mirrors, automatically adaptive aerodynamic body panels, dual-zone automatic climate control, carbon-fiber sport seats (power driver height adjustment, manual fore/aft), full leather interior trim, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, a trip computer, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an 11-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system with two USB ports, satellite radio, HD radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The mid engine 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that puts out 608 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a 129-hp front electric motor and a 156-hp rear electric motor, both supplied by a 6.8-kWh lithium-ion battery. Total powertrain output is a staggering 887 hp and 944 lb-ft of torque.
A seven-speed PDK automated manual is the only transmission offered. This sophisticated gearbox can shunt power to the front wheels, the rear wheels or all four, depending on conditions and five driver-selectable powertrain mode settings chosen by a rotary dial located on the steering wheel.
These include Electric, where battery power alone drives just the front wheels under light loads. Hybrid mode calls up power from both the electric motors and gasoline engine and sends it to all four wheels, though in a more relaxed state of tune suitable for everyday driving. Dialing up Sport mode also utilizes all power sources, but sharpens throttle response, steering and transmission settings for a decidedly snappier feel.
Race mode takes those improvements to the next level, and makes all 887 hp available. The final setting, called Hot Lap, is designed for use on a racetrack, as it allows the electric motors to run the car's battery pack down beyond normal limits, relaxes stability control settings and sends more torque to the front wheels for improved cornering.
For a car with this level of performance, the 918 Spyder gets impressive EPA fuel economy ratings of 67 MPGe (miles-per-gallon-equivalent) in all-electric mode, and a still respectable 22 mpg on gasoline. The EPA also estimates it can go 12 miles on electricity alone, although that's based on normal driving. Porsche claims recharging the plug-in hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack should take roughly 2.5 hours on a 220-volt home charger.
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