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Porsche has unveiled the all-new Porsche 918 Spyder on the eve of the supercar’s official debut at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.

Billed as the successor to the legendary Carrera GT, the Porsche 918 Spyder can go from zero to triple figures in less than 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of around 350km/h.

But unlike the Carrera GT, which used a 5.7-litre V10 petrol engine, the Porsche 918 Spyder is a hybrid – combining a 4.6-litre V8 petrol and two electric motors, one for each axle, meaning the 918 is actually four-wheel drive.

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The stats are impressive: the naturally aspirated V8 engine produces 453kW at 8600rpm, but revs to 9150rpm. The rear wheels are driven via a seven-speed twin-clutch PDK gearbox.

Now add in the 95kW of the electric motor that powers the front wheels, and the 115kW from the motor that drives the rear wheels and the numbers add up to 663kW (889hp).

The V8 powertrain is mid-mounted with twin exhaust outlets venting through the rear deck of the Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Porsche quote 887hp (661kW) with the explanation, “The engine and motors reach max power at different rpm, so the combined power output at any given point is not necessarily cumulative.”

Total torque of the powertrain in seventh gear when you combine the petrol and electric motors is a staggering 1273Nm. Up front is a separate gearbox that handles the front wheels, but decouples from them once the car hits 237km/h.

There are five different drive modes that act on the engine and motors. E-Power is essentially an electric-only setting, unless the battery power falls and the V8 fires up to recharge the system.

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Hybrid is as the name implies, combining petrol and electric power for maximum fuel efficiency.

Sport Hybrid maintains V8 power continuously, but gains additional acceleration from the electric motors.

Race Hybrid combines the petrol engine and full power from the electric motors with the PDK transmission in its most aggressive state. Hot Laps uses all available battery power.

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The Porsche 918 uses a carbonfibre monocoque chassis with a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) skin. There’s a two-piece removable Targa-style roof, adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres in spilt sizes: 265/35 20-inch up front and 325/30 21-inch at the rear.

There’s also active aerodynamics with a variety different modes available that alter the position of the rear wing.

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The 918’s lithium-ion batteries have a 7kWh capacity and plug-in capability so they can charge in four hours using Porsche’s Universal Charger, or in just 25 minutes with its Speed Charging Station.




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