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Porsche debuts 198mph 918 Spider plug-in hybrid

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Porsche has released details of the 918 Spider hybrid - a performance-orientated mid-engined sports car with plug-in hybrid technology.

The 918 Spyder emits 70g/km CO2 and offers mileage equivalent to 94mpg on the combined cycle, says Porsche.

While you might expect performance to suffer, the 62mph sprint takes 3.2 seconds and top speed is north of 198mph. Porsche says the 918 Spider lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than 7.30 minutes.

The 918 Spyder is one of three Porsche models with hybrid drive making their world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, along with the new Cayenne S Hybrid SUV - Porsche's first production hybrid - and 911 GT3 R Hybrid racing car.

The two-seater open-top is powered by a 500bhp+ 3.4-liter V8 amidships, running at maximum speed engine of 9,200 rpm.

It runs in tandem with electric motors on the front and rear axle with 218bhp overall, transmitting power through the seven-speed PDK double clutch, which also feeds the power of the electric drive system to the rear axle.

The front-wheel electric drive powers the wheels through a fixed transmission ratio. Most of the drive power goes to the rear wheels, which benefit from torque vectoring.

Energy is stored in lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged using an electric socket. Kinetic energy is also recovered while driving.

The Porsche 918 offers four different running modes, depending on driving conditions, and including an electric-only mode – good for 16 miles.

A monocoque bodyshell is made of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic and also uses lightweight magnesium and aluminium to bring down weight to 1,490kg.

Inside are sports bucket seats and driver-orientated cockpit. Instrument illumination on the dash varies from green for the consumption-oriented running modes to red for the performance-oriented driving programmes.

The new Cayenne S Hybrid, capable of returning 34.4mpg, and 911 GT3 R Hybrid combine with the 918 Spider to spearhead Porsche's move towards high-performance hybrid technology.

While the 918 Spider is not intended as a production model, Porsche says the car points towards the marque's future use of hybrid tech, already seen on the Cayenne.