“Things are better at Porsche now with our new CEO (Matthias Müller)”, says Michael Mauer, head of Style Porsche, at the Porsche stand this past March in Geneva. “Design is considered more important now and we have been given a lot of freedom.” It seems that since Müller's appointment as CEO of Porsche AG in July 2010 the doors of creativity have been opened at Porsche. Today with the news that the 918 Spyder Hybrid will not only go into production but on sale in 2013 must make its creator, Mauer, a very happy Chief of Design.
The unique technology featured in the 918 Spyder Hybrid super sports car is none other than a V8 engine assisted by two electric motors. It will accelerate from 0-62pmh in 3.2 sec and emit a combined 70g/CO2 emissions! It is well known that sports cars can benefit the most from hybrid or electric technologies because they are naturally built to be lightweight and aerodynamic. With a consumption rate of 3 litres per 100km this super car will soon sell out its limited edition of 918 units to be built late 2013. Porsche is keen to let us know that eventhough the 918 is green she will not be performed with a top speed of more than 320km/h they reckon the Spyder will be able to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than seven minutes and 30 seconds! Top speed on pure electric, not to be sneered at, is a lovely 150 km/h.
The design is said not change much from the concept car featured last year at the Geneva Motor Show 2010. Gone are the not so loved frosted rim covers that apparently increased aerodynamics, as well as the open top; instead the car will feature a manual roof system with removable roof panels. If the sketches released today are anything to go by then the interior will also pretty much stick to the original concept with the central T design that reinforces the driver position as paramount. For the first 918 units that driver position will only be left-hand drive only and although the colour and trim differs from the concept with a price-tag of Euro 645,000 there will no doubt be room for some customisation.
Porsche have been reluctant to bow to trends in favour of technology yet it seems that by continually exploring the hybrid option they have found their luxury niche ahead of other super luxury brands. Asking Mauer if he thought that being ‘green’ is important he admits, “Our customers are highly visible, with high profiles, and affluent. They are worried about the environment and its our job to combine luxury and performance with that concern.” The show of commitment to hybrid technology by showcasing the production Panamera Hybird at the Geneva Motor Show and now the announcement of the production of the 918 Spyder Hybrid Porsche has turned a new page for Porsche and its CO2 rati. GCD knows from behind the scenes that it was not easy to bring the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid concept to the Geneva Motor Show last year. It was plagued by delays, internal discord, and production doubts. But now as the economic cloud seems to be lifting on the automotive industry Mauer and his team can thankfully go back to what they do best, designing awesome signature Porsche ‘bling bling’ icons.