Officially it’s only a concept, but have no doubt that the stunning petrol-electric 918 Spyder will pave the way for Porsche's next supercar, which our sources say will go on sale in 2012.
The hybrid stunner also looks to be the car that will kick-start a new direction for supercars in general, ensuring the very survival of the species in the face of diminishing oil reserves and climate concerns.
The sexy spiritual successor to the Carrera GT packs a 373kW mid-mounted petrol V8, all-wheel drive and three electric motors – two driving the front wheels, the other assisting the rears. The V8 engine and rear electric motor channel power rearwards via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, while the two front-mounted electric motors drive the front wheels exclusively.
The electric combination adds 160kW to the Spyder’s already impressive petrol-V8 bite, enabling Porsche to claim a 0-100km/h sprint of just 3.2sec en route to a 320km/h top speed, pus the potential to lap Germany’s famed Nurburgring in a Carrera GT-humbling 7m 30s.
That's good, but what’s even better is that the 918 has the ability to silence grumbling Greenies by travelling up to 25km on electric-only power, meaning zero-emissions for shorter trips. On longer journeys careful drivers can still expect to extract an impressive 3.0L/100km with the car operating in frugal hybrid petrol-electric mode. That's Ferrari fast with Fiesta frugality and it all comes packaged in simply stunning sheet metal.
Want to know more about the Porsche 918 Spyder, or simply stay abreast of the best motoring news, views and reviews? Then grab a copy of Wheels' April issue – on sale now at newsagents, supermarkets and convenience stores.