Porsche 918 RSR

Porsche 918 RSR

Porsche returns to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit after a 3-year hiatus to celebrate its 60th anniversary here in the United States. Ever since the initial 15 356 Speedsters went on sale in 1950, the "No Substitute" automaker's brand strategy has essentially been the same: to focus on its reputation as a cutting-edge manufacturer of premium, performance-oriented vehicles. That isn't going to change any time soon. The proof is in the vehicles it brought to the show, which include the new, most extreme Cayman and a world premiere of the 918 RSR hybrid race car.

While many automakers are now starting to consider the performance potential of hybrid powertrains, Porsche has actually done something about it. The success of its recent GT3 RS hybrid race car has not gone unnoticed by the auto world, and the company is intending to take it up a big notch with the 918 RSR supercar.

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Porsche 918 RSR

What is it? An extreme hybrid supercar
What makes it special? Everything. Porsche refers to the car as a racing laboratory, and it's obvious why. The chassis is made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The direct-injection V8 gasoline engine alone is good for 563 horsepower at an ear-splitting 10,300 rpm. When combined with the two 75-kilowatt electric motors — one for each front wheel — total vehicle power leaps to an incredible 767 horses. These motors also give the car the benefits of an all-wheel-drive system complete with advanced torque-vectoring capabilities. Then there's the flywheel accumulator. Using regenerative braking technology, the futuristic-looking device allows the vehicle to use stored energy to enhance its performance. Rather than the avant-garde interior of the recent 918 Spyder concept, Porsche has opted for a more functional cockpit, complete with gear information shown directly on the steering wheel and an energy recuperation display on the steering column.
When will it be available? To be announced.
How much will it cost? Unknown, but safe to assume it won't be for the faint of heart.
MSN Autos' take? Look at this thing. Check out its ludicrous specs. How can we not love it? Like the recent 918 Spyder concept, its sculpted curves are drop-dead gorgeous, and as far as we're concerned, it's by far the most technologically advanced performance vehicle to date. Plus, the way that flywheel accumulator and all its exposed piping and wiring take the place of the passenger seat is just bonkers — in a great way.

James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side as Senior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.