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Auto blogWed, 26 Dec 2012 11:25:00 EST
A few images of what looks to be the production Porsche 918 Spyder are here to say hello, courtesy of a patent office in China. If these provide an accurate look at what the hybrid supercar will look like, there are a few differences between it and the latest examples of the pre-production prototypes our spy shooters have seen.
The jerry-rigged turn signals inside the headlight enclosures and on the front fenders on the prototype are replaced with more polished units inside the headlamps located underneath the main beams. Behind that, the door handles have been swapped from horizontal latches on the door to vertical openings located just behind the door shutline.
We've also seen a Martini-liveried version of the 918 Spyder that has extra carbon elements that don't appear on this car. It was at the Nürburgring with carbon lips on the front fenders and another carbon element that hung from the rear fenders and ran down to the rear diffuser. When we saw the car on our Deep Dive piece, the front lips were gone but that rear piece remained, and we can't tell from the brochure and options sheet that we've seen so far what it comes with. The wheels from the concept and the green brake calipers, minus the polycarbonate covers, should be the standard fitment while the ten-spoke magnesium wheels will be a 29,750-euro (about $39,000 US) option.
While Porsche was unveiling the new Nürburgring-dominating 918 Spyder downstairs in Hall 3 here at the Frankfurt Messe, there was another Porsche supercar quietly and discretely on display upstairs in the same hall. That, of course, was the 959. But not just any 959: this was the original Gruppe B prototype.
The 959 was first developed as a rally car in the early 80s to compete with the likes of the original Audi Sport Quattro S1, Ford RS200 and Lancia Delta S4. But Zuffenhausen soon saw its potential as a production road-going supercar, emerging as a technological marvel to challenge the decidedly linear approach of the Ferrari F40. It still stands as a groundbreaking supercar in its own right, but also lead to the first all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo and set the stage for the Carrera GT and aforementioned 918 Spyder that followed to cap the top of the evolving Porsche range.
This original Gruppe B prototype, which presaged the production 959, packed a 450-horsepower 2.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six into an even sleeker form than the final version that followed. We caught up with it on display as part of a display of 80s German classics, of which this 959 prototype immediately stood out as the pick of the proverbial litter. Check out the hotness in the high-resolution image gallery above.
The Porsche 911 wouldn't be the Porsche 911 unless there were twenty-something different models to choose from (note: we are not complaining), and the latest one was just spied by our trusty photographers out on Germany's Nürburgring. Feast your eyes on the 911 Turbo Cabriolet - the droptop version of the new Turbo wonder that debuted in May - looking all sorts of stealth in its black-on-black-on-black prototype scheme.
Mechanically, the 911 Turbo Cab should be identical to the fixed-roof version, meaning a twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six engine will live in the car's rump, putting out something like 520 horsepower. Of course, there's also the hotter Turbo S version of the coupe, and we expect that to get the droptop treatment, as well, with 560 horsepower on tap. The added weight of the folding top and additional structural supports will likely make for slightly slower 0-60 times for both cars, though considering the base Turbo will hit 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds, "slower" is a very relative term indeed. All that force will run to the ground via all-wheel drive, managed by Porsche's seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.
The wide stance of the 911 Turbo Coupe carries over to the Cabriolet, no doubt fitted with the same (standard) 20-inch wheels. Inside, the usual luxury amenities will be on hand, along with nearly endless customization options.