Weekend Roundup: Chevrolet Volt Priced, Porsche 918 Approved, Ford Explorer Unve

Stepped away from your Blackberry, PC, or iPad for the week? Here are a few of the top news stories for the past week, along with some auto shows to visit and racing action you may want to tune into during your weekend.

Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Will Enter Production
It’s been a poorly kept secret, but now it’s absolutely official: after receiving considerable customer demand, Porsche’s board of directors have given the green light for production of the 918 Spyder, first seen as a concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. If the final product is anything like the show car, the plug-in supercar will be powered by a 495-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-8, but a trio of electric motors can render it a 700-horsepower convertible. Look for a production car to carry a pricetag of roughly $630,000.

2011 Chevrolet Volt Carries MSRP of $41,000
We’ve been talking about the price tag Chevrolet will affix to its forthcoming Volt for just about as long as the hybrid car has been public. We finally have an answer: General Motors announced earlier this week that the plug-in hybrid starts at $41,000 (including destination), although consumers purchasing the car outright may benefit from the $7500 federal tax incentive. Leasing is somewhat more attractive — a 36-month lease will run $350 a month, although a down payment of $2500. That’s similar to the lease program offered for the Nissan Leaf EV — which, we also learned earlier this week, will carry

2011 Ford Explorer Unveiled; Priced at $28,995
After weeks of teasing, we’ve finally seen the 2011 Ford Explorer in its entirety. Additionally, we were also able to glean a good look at pricing for the all-new crossover/SUV. Base models start at $28,995 (including an $805 delivery fee), and are fitted with a 3.5-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic. Ford hasn’t talked pricing for the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4, but it’s widely believed the boosted four banger will carry a premium over the V-6 engine.

Saab CEO Talks About Corporate Future, EV Test Fleet
Saab’s new management held a conference in New York City earlier this week, where Saab-Spyker CEO Victor Muller outlined a few details of the company’s future plans. Early next year, the automaker plans on crafting a fleet of 100 electric vehicles — all based on the 9-3 — that would be used around the world for testing. Saab won’t commit to a plan to push an EV into production, but officials say it will be possible only when the time is right.

2011 Audi R8 5.2 Spyder Priced at $162,250
Ka-ching. Power and prestige carry a hefty price, and it’s no different when it comes to the gorgeous 2011 Audi R8 5.2 Spyder. The V-10 drop-top will start at $162,250, assuming you opt for a six-speed manual transmission. If the six-speed R-Tronic sequential manual gearbox is more to your liking, tack another $9000 to that price figure. Audi expects to have the R8 Spyders at U.S. dealers next month — just in time for the end of summer — but we’ve yet to hear if the V-8 R8 4.2 Spyder is destined for our shores.

Weekend Racing:
– Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring Sunday August 1, on Speed at 8 a.m.
– NASCAR Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway Sunday August 1, on ESPN at 1 p.m.