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Where’s KITT..?!

It’s Friday, February 7th, 2020, I’m coming home from work and decide to watch an episode of Knight Rider to wind down from the week, of course. The episode is from the second season and called “Brother’s Keeper”.

Suddenly I realize it’s been over three months since I last drove KITT. Winter really is a sad time of the year in Switzerland if you care about your car and want to protect it from mother nature. 😉 Anyhow, it’s dry and super sunny outside and I decide to finally bring KITT out of hibernation and get the 2020 season started. But where is KITT..?!

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder @ Autobau

Swabian rocket science

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

The second car of Autobau I want to show you is the Porsche 918 Spyder. A supercar like the prancing horse I reported about earlier. Unlike the Ferrari LaFerrari supercar this is a Porsche, a seriously engineered piece of German craftsmanship. The 918 Spyder is taking the reigns of the Carrera GT. After its discontinuation in 2007, Porsche supercar aficionados had to wait six years before the production version of the latest iteration was presented at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

Outside

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

Unsurprisingly, the 918 is instantly recognizable as a Porsche. The front part actually looks very similar to the famous 1970’s 917 race car of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Even though every brand has their own trade marks, their own visual styling queues, the Weissach supercar shares the same type of architecture as the LaFerrari; a carbon fiber monocoque. Yes, there is a front splitter on either side, big air intakes in the front, following air outlets just behind the front wheels. And yes, there is a big rear spoiler and a rear diffusor to keep the massive 21″ Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 wheels on the tarmac, but it doesn’t look as wild as a Pagani or as brutal as a Noble. Long story short, just as in traditional Porsche fashion, the attention to details they have given to it, make the functionality and efficiency look gorgeous.

Under the skin

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

The 4.6 litre V8 engine mounted between the seats and the rear axle produces 608 hp and 528 Nm of torque. Being a hybrid, it’s completed with a 125 hp electric motor in the front, as well as a 154 hp electric motor in the back. The latter one is coupled to the V8, giving it a total of 887 hp. Porsche claims it can do 0 – 100 km/h in just 2.6 s and reach a top speed of 345 km/h – just a little bit slower than the Ferrari LaFerrari. But than bear in mind that it shows 1’634 kg on the scales. For those of you who are interested in finding out which is faster, why don’t you take a look on what the illustrious Chris Harris has to say about them.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

The transmission is a seven speed dual-clutch item, or as Porsche say: PDK, meaning Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (Porsche double clutch transmission). 🙂 The battery that powers the two electric motors is a 6.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery installed behind the cockpit. As you can see in the picture above, it is a plug-in hybrid, but the batteries are also charged by regenerative braking or of course by the V8 engine itself. What makes the 918 Spyder special is the fact that it can run on electric power only. This distinguishes it from the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) that regenerates just as well but only stores the electricity to assist the gasoline powered engine when it needs that extra boost.

Inside the cockpit

In a supercar I think it’s save to say that the cabin is not just a cabin but a cockpit, a place where every detail has been thought trough to make the driving experience as precise and thrilling as it can be. The 918 Spyder is no exception on that matter. Believe or not, the most important feature of this car is the little switch positioned on the steering wheel, allowing the driver, or shall I say pilot, to switch between four different driving modes that radically transform the car’s personality:

  1. E-Power: This is the default mode of the car upon firing it up. When fully charged, it can drive up to 31 km on electric power only and reach a top speed of 150 km/h. The gasoline powered V8 only kicks in when needed.
  2. Hybrid: In this mode the car uses both, gasoline engine and electric motors to drive as fuel efficiently as possible.
  3. Sport-Hybrid: In the sport mode, the gasoline engine is always on. The electric motors are only punctually used to give the car some extra boost.
  4. Race-Hybrid: This is basically a more performance oriented mode of the sport-hybrid mode: More boost, the batteries are charged faster and the gear changes are quicker.

That’s the ticket

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

What about the price? 847’000 $. Sure, a lot of green bills, but still a lot less than the Ferrari LaFerrari (I daren’t use the word cheap^^), but then Porsche also made a total of 918 of them and by December 2014 every single one of them was sold out.

Jaguar F-Type GTR by Ritter Design – 2015 Zurich Auto Show

New suit for the cat

Jaguar F-Type GTR by Ritter Design
Jaguar F-Type GTR by Ritter Design

As I walk through the 2015 Zurich Auto Show I’m taking a quick look at the Jaguar F-Type by Ritter Design. They call it the GTR. It’s based on the entry level V6 model with 340 hp and has been increased to 440 hp. You can tell it’s the V6 because it has the dual center exhaust pipe. Just as the factory model has. What else is new besides a couple of GTR badges? You get a front and rear spoiler, some side flaps, a bespoke diffusor and of course, custom 20 inch wheels.

Anyway, Ritter Design are specialized in Jaguar Cars, so check out their website if you want to see what other cars they work on.

Jaguar F-Type GTR by Ritter Design
Jaguar F-Type GTR by Ritter Design

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