Porsche 918 Spyder: The pride of Stuttgart arrives in Malaysia – only 3 units


Der 918 Spyder stole the limelight away from its two siblings that were being launched here in Porsche Malaysia’s latest flagship centre in Sungai Besi. This is the first time Malaysians have seen Porsche’s new halo car in the flesh thanks to Sime Darby Auto Performance (SDAP).

Malaysia will be receiving three units out of the 918 units that will ever be produced. It’s unconfirmed who the owners are.

Porsche 918 Spyder (14)

QUICK FACTS

NamePorsche 918 Spyder
Engine4.6L V8 with 2 electric motors, one on each axle
Transmission7-speed transaxle PDK
Max Power887 hp + 2 electric motors @ 9,000 rpm
Max Torque1,275 Nm
0 – 100 km/h; 0 – 200 km/h; 0 – 300 km/h2.5 seconds; 7.2 seconds; 19.9 seconds
Fuel Economy3.0 litre per 100km
PriceRM7,000,000 (est)

In march 2010, Porsche made the boldest decision to announce at the Geneva Motor Show, that they will be making what is essentially a daily-driver plug-in hybrid hypercar. There were two target goals the development team had to accomplish. Firstly, the 918 Spyder must be able to achieve a fuel efficiency rate of  3.0 litre per 100km. Secondly it must be able to clock the fastest lap time at the Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack.

Two polar opposites on the automotive scale. At first, even the team wasn’t sure if this project was possible and with less than 1,000 days; the team had to develop, build and test one of the most ultra-lightweight, powerful Porsche hypercars ever built.

Porsche 918 Spyder (19)

The 918 Spyder, uses a carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) monocoque chassis taken from the rare, limited-edition run Porsche Carrera GT supercar of which only 1,720 prime examples were built. The engineers made lightness an absolute priority, and this is evident in the fact the they’ve managed to get up to 80 percent of the total weight below the center line of the car.

This exercise greatly improves the cornering speed of the 918 Spyder. Typically, in sports cars of this nature, the weight is a 50:50 balance. However, in the 918 Spyder, 56 percent of the weight is towards the rear of the car. Even the bespoke made rims are made from magnesium, saving up to 14kg of weight. All in the quest for featherweight lightness.

Porsche 918 Spyder (20)

Powering Porsche’s hypercar is a Le Mans derived 4.6L direct-injection V8 engine taken straight from the RS Spyder, after which was put on a crash diet by Porsche’s engineers to be further lightened and modified. The con-rods are made from forged titanium; the walls of the cylinder have been thinned down, the crankshaft has been redesigned so that an oil channel runs through it, saving unsprung weight whereas the airbox for the intakes is made from – you guessed it – carbon fiber.

The result is a whaling banshee that’s able to rev its engine all the way up to 9,000 rpm. At a mere 140kg, this engine is almost 100kg lighter than the heart that beats in the Porsche 911. The engine is built by a single engineer that takes up to 20 hours to build from the scratch.

But that’s not all. The 918 Spyder, in addition to it glorious V8 engine, is also powered by two electric motors. Located in the front of the car, a 130hp motor is tasked with powering the V8 to life and is in charge of the Stop/Start function of the car. The second motor is located at the back, providing a 160hp and works in tandem with the gasoline engine to ferry the 918 along very quickly, effectively making the 918 an all-wheel-drive hypercar.

Porsche 918 Spyder (1)

Made bespoke by ZF in their state-of-the-art Friedrichshaufen factory in Germany, these motors start out in life as a 200-sheet metal stator motor core that is coiled over with copper wires, which is then attached to the rotor assembly that has 32 high-powered magnets built into the motor.

To keep heat away from these liquid cooled electric motors, the engineers had to find another way to divert the hot exhaust gases away from them. The solution was form following function. The 900°C gases emitted from the engine are channeled via the twin top mounted exhaust pipes.

Powering these immense motors is a 312 cell, 6.8 kW/h lithium-ion battery pack. That’s the equivalent to almost 2,600 AA batteries that you would normally find in your TV’s remote controller. The result of all of these technological advancements means the 918 Spyder has a combined output of 887hp at 9000 rpm providing an unbelievable 1,275 Nm of torque. It does the century sprint in 2.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 340kph via a transaxle mounted seven-speed PDK gearbox. The Spyder would make Dominic Toretto proud with a quarter mile time of 9.8 seconds.

The guys at Porsche have come up with a rather handy Driving Mode Selector knob on the steering wheel that comes with five settings. The first is the E-mode following, which makes the 918 Spyder a front-wheel-drive only Electric Vehicle (EV) with a range of up to 20km and capable of speeds of up to 150km/h. Exhausting the charge in the battery pack, it switches over to the H-Mode, or Hybrid-mode which fires up the engine and uses a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and recharge the battery pack.

In S-mode or Sports mode, the 918 comes to life by first activating its Active Aerodynamic features such as the opening a flap in the front grille to allow cooling of the 406mm Brembo built carbon-ceramic brakes which is capable of braking the 918 Spyder from 100kph to standstill in 28.6 meters and deploying its wing which is engineered to withstand up to 3,200 newtons of force – that or the weight of three adults sitting on it.

Porsche 918 Spyder (13)

In Race-mode the huge rear spoiler is inclined a further 8° to maximise downforce. Hitting the red button in the center of the selector, engages the Hot Lap mode, which throws caution and energy conservation to the wind, all three elements are there for one reason only. Speed. And to coincidentally shatter the production car lap record at the Nurburgring circuit with an impressive time of 6 minutes 57 seconds.


IMAGE GALLERY


Nicholas Raj

Nicholas Raj

This author was born with an undying love for cars. As the mantra goes, the faster, the better. A hotelier-cum-entrepreneur, he soon gave up the life in pursuit of joining the brinks of the local automotive industry. He spends his days, aside from writing obviously, plotting and scheming his plan ever so carefully in the hopes of bagging a Porsche 991 Turbo in white with the Martini racing colours.
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