Porsche revealed some important information about its upcoming 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, but probably more than it wanted to. The company says this engineering marvel will lap Germany’s infamous Nürburgring in seven minutes and 14 seconds, but it also allowed the 918’s brochure to be leaked.
The Nürburgring is the benchmark for performance cars, so a fast time around the track known as the “Green Hell” comes with serious bragging rights. A 7:14 lap time not only makes the 918 Spyder the fastest hybrid at the ‘Ring, it also puts it just a few seconds behind the current record holder, the Gumpert Apollo Speed, which went around in 7:11.57.
The 918 also trounces conventional exotics like the Ferrari Enzo, Nissan GT-R, and Porsche’s last supercar, the V10-powered Carrera GT. Ah, progress.
The leaked brochure doesn’t offer many surprises; the production 918 Spyder appears virtually identical to the concept first shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, right down to its thin-spoked wheels and green brake calipers.
The brochure does provide a first glimpse at the production 918’s interior. The cockpit echoes the Carrera GT’s, but it definitely shows that nearly a decade has gone by since that car first turned a wheel in anger.
The center console rises diagonally from the floor, meeting the top of the dashboard and bringing all of it controls within easy reach of the driver’s right hand. On the Carrera GT, this bit of sculpture was topped by a wooden-knobbed shifter, but on the 918 it seems to have been replaced with an elongated iPad.
The individual gauges look very cool; it’s nice to see round dials instead of display screens on a new supercar. Per Porsche tradition (not that Ferrari doesn’t do this), the tachometer is in the center, with the speedometer on the left and fuel gauge and other diagnostics on the right.
Porsche did stick to current supercar fashion by covering the steering wheel with buttons. This will allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times (a good thing, considering the 918’s rumored 202 mph top speed), but will probably be confusing to operate. The giant red button appears to be for launching nuclear missiles.
The 918 is a road missile, after all. Its 4.6-liter V8 and pair of electric motors produce a combined 795 horsepower and 552 pound-feet of torque, more than any Ferrari or Lamborghini currently being produced. Yet Porsche also expects it to achieve 78 mpg on the European cycle.
Production of the 918 Spyder begins in 2013. Porsche’s hybrid supercar carries of a price tag of $845,000, and only 918 will be made.
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