Porsche Taycan Turbo – First Drive Review
Whether we like it or not, fast forward a decade or so and electric cars will be the norm. What does all this mean for the car enthusiast? Will we all be driving around in anonymous battery powered boxes, devoid of any character? Well not if Porsche has anything to do with it!
What is it?
Launched last year, and on test here is Porsche’s first fully electric car, the Taycan. You could be forgiven for thinking that the ‘Turbo’ badge indicates a powerful petrol engine, but instead it merely indicates that this is a more powerful version.
A Taycan could be on your driveway for as little as £70,690, but as tested and with a raft of desirable options, my test car listed at more or less double that.
The car is unmistakably a Porsche, with a blood line clearly derived from the iconic 911. I guess you would classify it as a four-door sports coupe. Resplendent in ‘Gentian Blue’, the car attracted a huge amount of attention on my meanderings through the Dales. Understandable, and had we not been in lockdown, I have no doubt that I would have had a steady stream of people keen for a quick trip round the block.
The headline figures are simply astonishing. Deploy launch control and the Taycan Turbo will catapult you from 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds. Bearing in mind the car weighs in at a hefty 2,305kg and that is some power.
The car is always so fast that it takes a while for your brain to compute what is happening. A little wind noise is the only indication of increased speed, that and the speedometer rapidly heading into licence-losing territory.
Straight line speed is all very well, but Porsche make some of the very best handling cars for sale today. The Taycan does not disappoint. Pin-sharp steering and a lack of body roll help guide the Taycan through the bends at breakneck speeds and with a motor driving each axle, traction is plentiful whatever the weather.
My test car had the optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control fitted (£2,315) and it is highly recommended, and the rear axle steering (£1,650) may well be a box worth ticking.
All that high-speed cornering prowess does not come at the expense of ride quality either. Even with optional 21-inch alloy wheels, the car’s low speed ride is always firm, but never uncomfortable, allowing the Taycan to take on the role of grand tourer rather well. Thank the air suspension, though I found it best to leave it in Normal mode, with only occasional forays into Sport. Sport+ I would suggest is only suitable for the racetrack.
Porsche quotes a combined range of 253 miles. The 10-day test period encompassed the coldest snap this winter and fully charged, the Taycan’s display read a slightly disappointing 190 miles. It proved to be accurate as measured distances corresponded accurately to the range lost.
Charging was simple enough with a flap on both front wings for attaching the cables. Connected to my 7kW Rolec home charger, I calculated that a 50% charge cost a little over £7.00.
The Taycan can accept rapid charging up to 270kW, which means you can add a 5-80% charge in around 22 minutes. For a 50kW charger, you will be looking at 93 minutes.
On the inside
I found getting in and out a little challenging. With the seat set for my long legs, I found I had to manoeuvre myself around the B-pillar and the gap between it and the steering wheel. Once ensconced however, the driving position is first rate. There are comfortable seats, with support in all the right places, imperative for a car likely to be driven in a spirited manner.
The coupe looks do impinge on rear headroom and legroom will be tight for the very tallest of rear seat passengers. Luggage space is reasonable with 366 litres at the rear and a smaller 81 litre compartment at the front.
Equipment count is high, but there is huge scope to personalise the Taycan to your exact specification. Over £30,000 worth of options adorned the test car, and it is easy to get carried away.
Build quality is exemplary, one of Porsche’s undoubted strong points. Material quality is excellent too but do pick a brighter colour for the leather as I find a sea of black a tad gloomy.
Touchscreen controls are here to stay it would appear and all the Porsche’s main functions need to be accessed from one of the two central screens. Both were easy enough to use, but on the move your eyes are diverted from the road for too long…
The most obvious rival is the Tesla Model S. In top spec guise, the price of £100,000 begats a car that can on paper out sprint the Taycan Turbo. Figures only tell half the story however as the Porsche’s ride and handling is in a completely different league. Build quality might satisfy the American market, but across the pond we are more discerning. No comparison!
The Model S does boast a more family-friendly interior and a far superior range. And let us not forget the Supercharger network.
If you are not ready for a fully electric car, then the hybrid Panamera from the Porsche stable might perfectly suit. It is almost as quick as the Taycan and can manage up to 33 miles on electricity alone. It is roomier too and removes the need to charge if you regularly undertake longer journeys.
Sadly, Jaguar has just announced that the fully electric XJ is no more, but we can expect electrified rivals from the other premium German brands in the next few years.
As a car to get from A to B in haste, the Taycan Turbo is incredibly impressive. It is doubtful that many cars on sale in the UK today could keep up, such is the usable power on offer. It drives and handles as a Porsche should, yet driven in a more sedate manner, the refinement and comfort on offer will impress.
Only the rather disappointing range lets the side down, but for some this will not be a deal breaker.
I can imagine many 911 owners adding a Taycan to their stable and in so doing they will be adding another great driver’s car to their collection.
Porsche Taycan Turbo
Price - £115,858 (£139,252 as tested)
Maximum power 625hp
Maximum torque 850Nm
Electrical consumption combined - 25.3kWh/100km
CO2 emissions 0g/km
Combined official range 253 miles
0-62mph in 3.2 seconds (with launch control)
Acceleration 49-74mph in 1.9 seconds
Warranty 3 years
Service intervals 2 years (20,000 miles)
Battery warranty 8 years
All pictures by Will Larmour.
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