Geneva Show 2011 – Porsche 918 RSR

Up close with Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid A year ago Porsche’s 918 surprise at the Geneva Motor Show blew us away. Looking small and dainty but extraordinarily desirable it was pitched as a Carrera GT replacement. Yet it didn’t quite have the commanding presence of the GT, even if it’s spec and integration of hybrid [...]

2011 Geneva Motor Show - Porsche 918 RSR

Up close with Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid

A year ago Porsche’s 918 surprise at the Geneva Motor Show blew us away. Looking small and dainty but extraordinarily desirable it was pitched as a Carrera GT replacement. Yet it didn’t quite have the commanding presence of the GT, even if it’s spec and integration of hybrid technology made it worthy. If it’s 7:30min Nürburgring lap time is anything to go on, then it certainly qualified on speed and agility. Something about the folded paper look, lack of roof and delicate detailing of the show car made us want to put some horny rims on, install a loud exhaust and wake up the neighbours.

Geneva Motor Show 2011 - Porsche 918 RSR - embroidered seat and electro fill cap

Now exhibited in racing trim at the 2011 Geneva Show, that desire is mostly answered. the fixed roof, arch-filling racing slicks, additional carbon aerodynamic aids and orange “racing” decals vaguely recalling Gulf Oil sponsorship of the past, give it a butchness it was otherwise lacking. If Batman turned up in this beast, Gotham City would stand back and know what was coming. If Batman had turned up in the 918 “prototype”, he’d have Robin mince out slyly, while he conducted proceedings from his iPad3.


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YW reflects on the luxury of silence that hybrids and electric cars promise

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are [...]

Hybrids contribute to the luxury of silence

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids

Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are a few observations from the launch of Lexus’s latest hybrid, the CT200h, which would equally apply to electric cars.

Hybrids await at Lexus CT200h press launch near Paris

Picture the scene: a sumptuous hotel set in forested hills, pleasantly removed from the city bustle of Paris. A serene calmness accompanies this hilltop location belying it’s proximity to both Charles De Gaulle airport and the main autoroute to Lille. A semicircular arrangement of gleaming cars awaits journalists eager to sample Lexus’s latest mini-limousines. Above the twitter of birds you can hear the pleasant banter of scribes and their hosts exchanging technobabble worthy of a sub-atomic particle convention. But wait; there’s something missing. Where’s the coughing of combustion engines waking from their slumber? Where’s the thrum of jockeys blipping their mount’s throttles ready for the off? Where’s the distant scream of engines being let loose once released from the gaze of the PR’s and speed bumps of the hotel drive? Answer: these CT200h’s are hybrids, with electric motors to manoeuvre and assist departure and with them comes an intoxicating calm.


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Lexus CT200h – We drive this latest hybrid only model

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be [...]

Lexus CT200h - We drive this latest hybrid

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model

You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be a sports car too. Warm-hatch would be a more accurate description, but with many positive qualities. Our top tester Timtim left the virtual world to taste the little Lexus for us.



I’m in Chantilly, near Paris; capital of the horse according to the local tourist flyer I’ve stumbled on in my hotel room. Outside the Mont Royal Hotel a cluster of new Lexus’s await testers from around the globe. Without a moment’s hesitation I pick a golden yellow sample. Hey, don’t want to disappoint the YW office, although to be honest it looks most exciting in white! All the engine options are identical so there’s no squabble with my scribbling brethren for the horniest lump in the beast. In fact by the sound of it none of them come with engines at all! As journo’s hit the engine start button and saunter off on an exploratory loop there’s a barrage of, err nothing, discreetly interrupted by tyre on tarmac and a few tweeting birds (the real kind). Rather than contemplating the deafening silence (what a stupid, though familiar expression) I’m watching the instruments. I’ve hit the start button and am only convinced that I’m up and running by the “Lexus Hybrid Drive” welcome screen as the instruments light up. I grab the chrome faced, switch sized gear lever. There’s only R, N, D and the more mysterious B to choose from. D will do, B is for user selected regenerative braking, and release the anachronistic foot brake. Shouldn’t the “P” switch below gear lever just double up as an electric foot/handbrake?


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Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder concept roof rendering

Ever since seeing the gorgeous Porsche 918 concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show we couldn’t help wondering how the roof would fit and what it would look like. The Carrera GT it will replace has a detachable lid that stores in the front luggage compartment and we presume the 918 will too. Artist Jack [...]

Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder render with roof and new seats and rims


Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder at the 2010 Geneva Show

Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder Concept at 2010 Geneva Show


Ever since seeing the gorgeous Porsche 918 concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show

we couldn’t help wondering how the roof would fit and what it would look like. The Carrera GT it will replace has a detachable lid that stores in the front luggage compartment and we presume the 918 will too. Artist Jack Davies sent us a rendering of just this, a 918 with the roof panel in place, but also with some horny rims to replace the show wheels. Many people commented that the semi see through wheel plates were ugly so those have gone too. We asked Jack why he did this rendering


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Geneva Motor Show Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid Racer

Not content to launch a new Cayenne in hybrid form and a stonking 918 hybrid concept at Geneva, Porsche showed a hybrid version of its new GT3R racing car. Set to race for real at the Nürburgring, this is no concept but a fully fledged 911 endurance racer. What sets it apart from the competition, [...]

Geneva Motor Show Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid Racer and kinetic drive


Not content to launch a new Cayenne in hybrid form and a stonking 918 hybrid concept at Geneva, Porsche showed a hybrid version of its new GT3R racing car. Set to race for real at the Nürburgring, this is no concept but a fully fledged 911 endurance racer. What sets it apart from the competition, particularly in the hybrid sense, is that it runs a flywheel type energy recovery, storage and power plant to supplement the 4 litre flat-six petrol engine engine in the tail rather than a battery pack.

Geneva Motor Show - Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid racer

Electrically spun, the flywheel stores kinetic energy and transfers it back to twin front electric drive motors, effectively giving 4 wheel drive on demand. Braking electrically respins the flywheel for a 6-8 second burst of extra power and traction. No word from Porsche as to whether there are any negative gyroscopic effects in the corners (or at all), but it should be more stable at high speed if the flywheel mass is sufficient. The system appears to rely on its high rotation speed rather than pure spinning weight. And anyway most cars have four spinning gyroscopes covered in rubber; one at each corner ;-)
So how would you feel about sitting next to what looks like a personal nuclear fusion reactor ? Should be fine really as it’s just a disc spinning at, err, 40,000rpm….but at least it has been developed by Williams Hybrid Power Ltd and Torotrak so does have some F1 technology built in.


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Geneva Motor Show Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe

CR-Z Hybrid Coupe at the Geneva Auto Show One of the cars we were eager to see in the flesh at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show was the Honda CR-Z. Would it look as sleek and purposeful as the Honda released press pics. Verdict: yes it’s refreshingly small and light looking. Many new cars have [...]

Geneva Motor Show - Honda CR-Z Hybrid Coupe front view


CR-Z Hybrid Coupe at the Geneva Auto Show

One of the cars we were eager to see in the flesh at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show was the Honda CR-Z. Would it look as sleek and purposeful as the Honda released press pics. Verdict: yes it’s refreshingly small and light looking. Many new cars have tended to bulk up their look, but this Honda flows, tilted from the back window forwards, with grill box low and lights pointing downwards arrow-like. The stance is that of a crouched animal, head down to minimise wind drag. The shape is uncontroversial and easily digested and should appeal immediately. We were drawn to a red CR-Z complete with purchaser spec-cable carbon front chin and door sill addons, and 10 spoke alloys – much more inviting than the standard spec cars. Inside there’s a “carbon” look dash that wouldn’t look out of place on a Klingon starship, especially with the instruments lit up. It’s the sort of car you just want to get in and drive; it’s got enthusiasts DNA written all over it. Just a quick reminder though: it’s a hybrid, but that’s not what’s on your mind when you see it unlike Honda’s old 4 door Civic Hybrid. But you’ll like the claimed 54mpg and low CO2.


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Geneva Motor Show 2010 Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder

Porsche 918 stars at the Geneva Motor Show Very much making a statement about Porsche’s hybrid intentions, the GT3R Hybrid and Cayenne hybrid turned out to be sideshows with the 918 Hybrid Spyder thrusting through between the other two cars on the main display area. Cast aside any doubts about compromising performance with these dual [...]

Porsche 918 Hybrid prototype


Porsche 918 stars at the Geneva Motor Show

Very much making a statement about Porsche’s hybrid intentions, the GT3R Hybrid and Cayenne hybrid turned out to be sideshows with the 918 Hybrid Spyder thrusting through between the other two cars on the main display area. Cast aside any doubts about compromising performance with these dual power cars; the 918′s cooled lithium-ion battery pack is there to supplement the mid-mounted 500bhp V8, provide power boost on demand, and pure electric drive to pull into your drive quietly at night! Porsche claim a 7:30 laptime around the Nordschleiffe, beating even their Carrera GT times…

Let’s hope this Concept, referred to also as Prototype, makes into production speedily, as this has to be the most exciting new shape to come out of Stuttgart for sometime. Let’s also remind Porsche that the fantastic detailing of the Boxster concept got watered down somewhat in the production version. The 918 needs to keep a lot of those artful, but no doubt purposeful touches. What it doesn’t need is the lash-up tent that the recent Boxster Spyder got as a roof.


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Geneva Motor Show 2010 – Porsche 918 hybrid spyder concept

Porsche spring a hybrid concept that isn’t a GT3 but a 918 The Porsche concept car is their interpretation of a hybrid sportscar. Nominally retro and recalling the famous racing car of the same number, it’s purpose in life is to give us Porsche performance with outstanding CO2 output and fuel efficiency. Claiming 70 grams [...]

Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder Concept


Porsche spring a hybrid concept that isn’t a GT3 but a 918

The Porsche concept car is their interpretation of a hybrid sportscar.

Porsche 918 hybrid Concept with Walter Röhrl and Michael Mac

Nominally retro and recalling the famous racing car of the same number, it’s purpose in life is to give us Porsche performance with outstanding CO2 output and fuel efficiency. Claiming 70 grams CO2 per kilometre and fuel consumption to 3.0 litres/100 kilometres (94 mpg imp, this mid-engined two-seater combines the performance of a super-sports car with the CO2 emissions of a small compact. Porsche also claim that by combining both power sources they can eqaul the output of a V8! More tomorrow….

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2009 IAA Frankfurt Auto / Motor Show – BMW Vision

BMW’s impressive, indoor-track dominated hall featured the Vision hybrid concept car. Adrian van Hooydonk’s design rotated on display as Efficient Dynamics liveried cars from BMW’s lineup sailed past. How cool to have your own track to display and drive right in the exhibition hall ! As we moved over to the Mini stand we could [...]

BMW Vision hybrid concept leads the pack on the track

BMW Vision hybrid concept leads the pack on the track

BMW’s impressive, indoor-track dominated hall featured the Vision hybrid concept car. Adrian van Hooydonk’s design rotated on display as Efficient Dynamics liveried cars from BMW’s lineup sailed past. How cool to have your own track to display and drive right in the exhibition hall ! As we moved over to the Mini stand we could hear some tasteful V8 sounds emanating from above us, proving that there was more to BMW’s display than showing their efforts to control emission outputs and improve efficiency.

BMW Vision hybrid concept

BMW Vision hybrid concept


At the heart of their future eco-plans lies the hybrid chassis that the Vision’s aggressive yet svelte bodywork was draped over. Does this mark a swing away from BMW’s plans for hydrogen fuelled cars? Remember the 7 series hydrogen that was being produced on a limited trial basis. Certainly, the whole eco-car movement has pushed towards hybrids and pure electrics, rather than hydrogen, unless in fuel celled cars. Fuel density and transport problems are mostly responsible, and the convenience of converting existing engine technology which was already looking cynical.

We like the principles enshrined in BMW’s philosophy: eco-cars that retain performance and driving pleasure by cutting down weight, and kinetic and aerodynamic losses. But we do question the weight penalty of carrying around a turbodiesel as well as electric motors. This is still intermediate technology to make the all-important range acceptable to ordinary car users. Lose the combustion engine and it’s electric generator and think how much weight you could save. The world still needs a more efficient battery, despite recent advances.

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