2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Redefining the Future of Super Cars

Published January 2, 2015

The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is a way of paying homage to the car company’s illustrious past, but today’s real goal is to redefine future supercar possibilities. The company is using smartly advanced technology in eliminating traditional conflicts between overall performance and efficiency of use. Their main goal is to produce a much faster, and a more fuel efficient model compared to any past model. The company is venturing beyond expectations of current hybrid technology in ensuring that extreme performance and driving fun will continue to be provided. This is considered by Porsche the new age of their company in increasing environmental responsibility.

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Racing Perfection

Porsche’s exotic supercar engineering team designed it so extreme that its hood cannot be popped open. This is basically to save the additional weight from latches, prop, and hinge systems that are needed in conventional engine covers. Though the car company stated that if the newest version’s hood can be opened, all it would reveal is its 608 horsepower V8 4.6-liter engine’s exhaust piping, colossal mufflers, and large catalytic converters. This is mainly because the engine is basically buried within the chassis. All that can be seen are its twin exhaust stacks similar looking to antiaircraft cannons which produces a symphony mix between NASCAR and Formula 1 exhaust sound. Frank Walliser, the project leader, is calling their latest creation the “manchine,” because the engine can rev up to 9150 RPM with much ease and conviction.

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Racing Bred

The latest Porsche 918 Spyder is certainly powered by a race-bred engine that has descended from the RS Spyder’s championship-winning V-8 power plant. Its high performance is attributed to direct fuel injectors  that are centrally located, variable intakes, timing of exhaust-valves, hydraulic lash controlled valve actuation, dry-sump lubrication, titanium forged connecting rods, and also its 180 degree flat forged-steel crankshaft. No accessories that are belt-driven are used and a clutch is used between its V8 engine and its 154 horsepower electric motor that provides both stop and start operation that eliminates fuel consumption in certain operating modes. It is the first engine that is naturally aspirated that features exhaust ports that are using a hot-V configuration.

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Power Delivery

A total of three clutches added with seven forward gears without a clutch pedal can be seen, with two engine type’s to serve, with fuel efficiency and speed in mind, the technology implemented has certainly moved past conventional Porsche manual transmission systems. The latest seven-speed dual-clutch system provides a 37% greater ratio spread, with no upshift power interruption, and superb operation that doesn’t need a skilled or professional driver. The new dual-clutch system is way quicker and also more fuel efficient. It features shift paddles and park, drive, neutral, and reverse toggles in the dash that is somewhat similar to the Prius’s shifter. It shares the 911 Carrera PDK’s transaxle three gear ratios basic layout. This is a perfect match for its mid-engine design and it also lowers the overall height of both engines. This results in a center of gravity that is lower than the existing 911 Carrera.

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Overall Light Weight

In designing and creating the 2015 918 Spyder, minimizing the overall weight was top priority and this was achieved by using exotic materials with the aim of maximizing overall performance and of course fuel efficiency. The structural core of the newest 918 is a passenger tub that is resin-injection-molded and bolted with a space frame that supports and surrounds the engine, rear suspension, and transaxle. This supplements the almost 100% carbon-fiber body panels and structure, carbon ceramic brake rotors, optional magnesium forged wheels, the Inconel exhaust system, and its aluminum fuel tank (super-formed). The engineering team focused on every gram just to maximize in reducing the overall weight. Porsche is claiming that it weighs around 3616 to 3715 pounds. Which is considerably light when it uses two electric motors, battery pack, copper wiring, added with a second differential that is needed in providing all-wheel drive on-demand. With also the focus on agility, most heavy parts are placed very low in its chassis that yields an overall center of gravity that is only a bit higher than its wheel centers, that also leads to a power distribution (front-to-rear) of 57/43%.

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Racing Driving Feel

The new Porsche 918 Spyder provides quick turn-in and crisp response, and to further enhance stability, its rear wheels also steer with the front during high speed turns. It makes it a very easy machine to drive, perfect for challenging tracks like the Leipzig circuit. It provides good steering feedback because of its quick-ratio and electrically assisted steering, in sweeping bends, understeer is very manageable, and its counter-steering reacts fast when the car’s rear wheels start to drift, and it also offers enthusiastic throttle reaction time. It is already being considered the latest sports car that can assist every driver caliber. Its automatic clutch system engages four wheels during launch control and delivers amazing thrust. It rides on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (front: 265/35ZR-20, back: 325/30ZR-21) that ensures virtually no wheel-spin during acceleration. Acceleration that is clocked at 2.8 seconds from zero to 60 mph, which is almost a full second faster than the current Carrera GT.

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Electric Charging Process

About one of the third of the 918’s deceleration effort are from two electric motors which acts like a generator and recharges its battery pack. The system’s electric brake boosters modulate hydraulic pressure that results in a seamless combination of regenerative braking and friction. A step on the pedal gives a linear action, quick bite, and also superb modulation control braking. It is created for the track and its braking system can easily stop and control the power the car dishes out.

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Pure Electric Driving

One of the most essential feature of this new-age sports car is its ability to drive with pure-electric propulsion. This is perfect for city centers that prohibited or discourage CO2 emissions. It’s E-mode is very useful in impressing nature lovers all over the world. The 127 horsepower electric motor (front-mounted) can move the front wheels at approximately 20 miles. The overall electric range will depend on how the driver makes the car accelerate and also how much the electric-only option is used. In order to prevent the front motor from over-speeding, the system automatically disengages it when speeds reach more than 146 mph.

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Battery Specs

The 918 uses a battery pack that consists a total of 312 lithium-ion cells (prismatic-series-parallel). It is wired to three 3.4 X 4.8 X 0.5 inch cells and then connected to 104 parallel assemblies that produces a total of 6.8 kWh at 385 volts. The battery pack is located between the engine and the cabin and covered by a warranty (seven-year). A power connection at the passenger-side supplies needed electricity during recharging. With the use of special direct-current connectivity, it bypasses the car’s power inverter. A fully discharged battery will only take 25 minutes recharge time while a 120V charger will take a total of 11 hours to fully recharge.

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Advanced Aerodynamics

The advance aerodynamic devices that are movable includes two undercar flaps in the front, air inlet shutters in the bumper up front, rear spoiler, and also an adjustable rear wing (height and pitch). There are also undercar diffusers (fixed, front, and rear) that contributes needed downforce. These movable devices can be controlled in three positions that aims to balance drag, minimize drag, and control overall downforce, during track runs.

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Interior Goodness

Even if the new 918 is designed and created mainly for the track, it still features a lot of comfort features. Its instrument cluster does feature three dials, namely the 10,000-RPM tachometer with an indicated 9000-RPM red line in the center, a smaller digital speedometer (350-km/h) located at the left side, and also a driver-information multifunction display on the right. It uses an 8-inch TFT screen that provides 3D navigation display. The center console features a friendly combination of three conventional twist knobs for managing climate control, entertainment, and other infotainment functions. Its trunk (2.5-cubic-foot) is enough to accommodate two roof panels. It also is fitted with sport bucket seats that have manual aft and fore and also with power height adjustments without altering the backrest angle. It offers a telescopic steering column, but it does not tilt. Though because of its high door sills added with almost rigid side bolsters in the seats, flexibility and patience are required when entering and exiting maneuvers.

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Estimated Pricing

Porsche already received deposits for approximately half of its production run, with initial deliveries in 2014’s first quarter. It includes Porsche’s VIP program that ensures priority status on upcoming new Porsche models arriving for the coming 10 years as long as ownership of the car is maintained. Though U.S. pricing has not been released, Porsche gave estimates of its base price (standard model) will be approximately $845K plus another $1K for delivery and destination. The Weissach option can be added as an option for about another $84k. EPA mileage details were not yet shared, it is still not sure if it will be rated in a gas-guzzler tax category. Porsche is expecting it to provide 71 mpg basing on “new European driving cycle” because of its capability of completing a big percentage of the test while solely operating on electric power.

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Targeted Achievements

The engineering team of the 2015 release Porsche 918 Spyder aims to break the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife 7-minute lap-time barrier. Last summer, the early prototype clocked at 7 minutes and 14 seconds, making the 7 seconds feat within reach. Walter Röhrl, test driver, predicted that it has a great chance of achieving 6:55 minutes to 7:05 minutes. Thanks to technological advancements and hardworking engineers, Porsche was able to create a hybrid speed freaks love to own.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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