Officially it’s only a concept, but there’s no doubt that project XG10 -- or the 918 Spyder concept -- will pave the way for the next Porsche supercar. And what a supercar it is going to be: in addition to the normally aspirated, high-revving, 3.4-liter V-8 good for more than 495 hp, the striking 918 Spyder has three electric motors onboard that add another 215 hp to the tally. Says Wolfgang Dürheimer, board member in charge of R&D: “This car can lap the Nürburgring faster than the Carrera GT. At the same time, it averages 78 mpg [on the EU driving cycle] when driven gently. Are we going to build it? We will definitely bring some blank sales contracts to the Geneva show, but it’s too early to talk pricing, production volumes, and timing.
"The strategic aim is to demonstrate that even a supercar can be environmentally friendly. XG10 promises total driving pleasure—and a clear conscience. This is a trendsetting and sustainable premium product that uses the issue of social acceptability to its advantage. And it reflects the legacy of Ferry Porsche, who was convinced that sports cars would never go out of fashion.”
XG10 stands for X1, Geneva 2010. X1 is the code name of the 918 Spyder, which is only one version of many. Potential variations include a 918 coupe, an electric 918, and a 918 RS/RSR. This car can be either two- or four-wheel drive, have plug-in electric or gasoline power, come with an open top or a fixed roof, and be either a racer or a street machine. Its genetic evolution dates back to the 1997 Porsche GT1, which was a Le Mans–winning 911 on steroids. That car triggered project LMP 2000 (Porsche’s exciting Le Mans comeback car), which was halted at the eleventh hour by then-chairman Wendelin Wiedeking, who was always more of a numbers man than a car guy.
Thankfully, Wiedeking and his controller, Holger Härter, allowed Dürheimer to pick up the LMP pieces and convert them into the street-legal Carrera GT, which was launched in 2003 and found 1250 takers. In 2006, Porsche moved on to form the basis of the successful RS Spyder. Four years later, we’re witnessing the debut of XG10, which still uses several Carrera GT elements, such as the front suspension and the forward structure. For 2011, insiders are already predicting LMP1, a race version of the 918 Spyder, which would comply with planned hybrid-friendly Le Mans regulations.