Those who believe too much is never enough should take heart. This week, Porsche has released new information on its upcoming plug-in hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder, and the latest specs show this already stunning exercise will be even more potent than previously indicated. In its current state of tune, total output of the car's gas/electric parallel hybrid powertrain has risen from the previously quoted 800-820 horsepower to 887 ponies, while peak torque has been boosted to 940 lb-ft. Those figures are sufficient to send the 3,715-pound (3,616 in lighterweight Weissach trim) Targa-topped all-wheel-drive road rocket streaking from 0-60 mph in less than 2.8 seconds and on to an estimated top speed of 213 mph. While slightly less intense running in pure EV mode, it still will reach the 60-mph benchmark pace in less than 7.0 ticks, top out at 93 mph and can go up to 21 miles on a single charge.
Individual specs on the mid-engine 918 Spyder's drivetrain components now tally 608 horsepower for its race-bred 4.6-liter V8, with the motor on the front axle adding 127 to that figure and its rear counterpart contributing another 154. This carbon fiber-intensive exercise is fitted with a special version of the automaker's 7-speed PDK dual-clutch sequential transmission rotated 180 degrees to help lower the center of gravity. It's bolted to the engine/aft hybrid module assembly that ships power to the rear wheels, while the front motor features its own independent electronically controlled gear unit. Capable of enhancing handling via precise torque vectoring, it features an integral decoupler that takes it offline at speeds in excess of 146 mph to prevent over-revving. Although the 918 Spyder's engine and highly efficient and super-light carbon-ceramic brake system incorporate adaptive energy recovery systems to help replenish its 6.8kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack on the fly, the car also is fitted with a 3.6kW on-board charger.
The Porsche 918 Spyder features five distinct operating modes, toggled via a switch mounted on the steering wheel that controls the powertrain elements as well as the front/rear/underfloor Active Aerodynamic devices. Beyond the zero-emission "E-power" setting, "Hybrid" manages the gas/electric mix to most efficiently match the driving conditions while stepping up to "Sport Hybrid" ensures that the engine is always running and tasked with providing the primary propulsive power. Slipping into "Race Hybrid" mode ups the aggression index to a track-optimized setting where the motors can provide additional max boost for short periods of time but the battery still gets fed by the engine as well as the regenerative braking systems. It also changes the shift mapping on the PDK transmission. For the ultimate in performance, the "Hot Lap" button offers short-term max power by freeing up all electric reserves and running the battery to its fully depleted state.
Production of the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder is set to start in September with deliveries of the first cars due late in the year. Only 918 copies of this stunning green-tinged GT will ever be produced and the price of entry begins at $845,000 -- $84,000 more if you opt for the Weissach Package.
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