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surprises go, this is right up there with Rachel Riley bursting out of a giant
cake on your birthday. Porsche has unveiled the 918 Spyder - a hybrid electric
concept that previews a future Carrera GT successor - in Geneva, and it’s
already looking like the star of the show.

starters, just look at it. The 918 Spyder is gorgeous: familiarly Porsche
without looking 911-generic, perfectly proportioned and bursting with lovely
details. Check out those side exit exhausts, the ‘flying buttresses’ behind the
roll hoops and that carbon fibre rear diffuser. As we said, gorgeous.

the stuff under that stunning shell is equally important. If you’re thinking,
‘oh, great, another bloody hybrid’, listen to this: Porsche says the 918 Spyder
can lap the Nurburgring is less than 7m30s - that’s faster than a Carrera GT.

concept is powered by the 3.4-litre V8 from the American Le Mans Series RS Spyder,
revving to 9,200rpm and putting out over 500bhp, and three electric motors on
the front axle with a maximum output of 218bhp. So it’s a four-wheel-drive,
700-and-something-bhp supercar that’s green. Well, just about.

918’s hybrid system is different to the technology seen on either the 911 GT3
Hybrid or the new Cayenne Hybrid. Uniquely, it can be recharged from the mains,
and will manage up to 16 miles in all-electric mode. Driven conservatively in
hybrid mode, Porsche says it will return 94mpg and 70g/km of CO2.

you want to know about the fastness, right? As well as that Nurburgring-flattening
lap time, the 918 will manage 62mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed very close
to 200mph.

fastness is thanks in part to the 918’s reasonably svelte kerbweight. Despite
packing a set of lithium ion batteries, it tips the scales at just under 1490kg
thanks to a monocoque bodyshell made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFP)
with a liberal sprinking of aluminium and magnesium.

plenty of clever aero to keep things in check around the Green Hell: those two
flying buttresses feature retractable air intakes, while the rear spoiler
raises at speed to improve downforce.

will the 918 reach production? We’re optimistic. Porsche knows how to turn
racers into road cars: the Carrera GT started life as the LMP2, so the 918
stands every chance of becoming the road-going, production version of the RS
Spyder racer.

as Porsche CEO Michael Macht claims, his company has never made a concept car
that wasn’t put into production. Sounds like a statement of intent to us…

See what else is being revealed in Geneva

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