Ned Jasper: Is the Porsche Taycan the car to bring enthusiasts to EV performance?

Ned Jasper returns to EngageSportMode, and a Porsche with a huge amount of torque has him rather excited. Oh, it just happens to run on battery power and be one of the most exciting new cars of the year…

Porsche TaycanWe’ve been told that EVs are the future for some time now and, that in a few short years, internal combustion engines will die a noisy death. Instead, our streets will be filled with whisper-quiet, clean and efficient vehicles.

As automotive enthusiasts, this has us quite worried. I’d be willing to say that anyone who enjoys cars for more than a method of travelling from A to B, will have more than their two pence to say about it.

With manufacturers offerings such as the Nissan Leaf and Vauxhall Ampera, you can see why we were worried. Even Tesla, as good as they are, do give off a consumable technology vibe. They are more like the latest laptop or phone, with constant updates and improvements over-the-air.  

Porsche TaycanBut for many die-hard petrolheads, they lack that degree of specialness. The lust that makes you say to yourself “one day I will own that car”, then spend the next decade working towards it.

Thankfully though, our needs may have just been filled because Porsche has made and EV. I’m starting to think it is impossible for an automotive enthusiast to not want, or have wanted, a Porsche in some way.

Looks-wise, it’s got it. Classic Porsche shapes and design language everywhere, juxtaposed with futuristic EV styling cues. Squint at the bonnet at the right angles, and it almost looks a bit 964-like. Except they’re just style lines, not an actual vent here.

Porsche TaycanThe lights are the standout feature, with piercing cut-outs into the otherwise smooth curves. Too far? Maybe. But it is certainly striking and visionary.

From the side, the rear-quarter profiles are such you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a Panamera. Compare them side by side though and you’ll find that the Taycan has a far sleeker roofline. Lower by some 50mm, in fact. 

Other styling hints include electric blue ‘PORSCHE’ badging on the rear and, interestingly, shaped charging flaps on the wings. These flaps can actually detect when it’s icy outside, and apply a little more torque when opening up as to literally break the ice!

Porsche TaycanThe wheels on the white launch Turbo S are a Marmite topic, I know. Porsche has clearly tried hard to make this car stand out as electric, and distance itself from the regular range range. However, these rims are a bit too ‘Hot Wheels’ for me. Not to worry though, as there are plenty of optional styles to fit instead. 

On the inside of the Taycan, it’s very much the same story. An evolution of the Panamera interior, which is not a bad thing. Unlike the Panamera though, there are almost no buttons!

Porsche TaycanInstead, you’ll find them swapped with screens, many, many, screens! The dials have had the same treatment too. While it may seem like a technophobes nightmare, there is plenty of digital real estate to host them.

When it comes to performance, on paper it may seem Porsche need to up their game a little. Sprinting from 0-60 mph takes 2.8 seconds in the Taycan Turbo S, whilst the hottest Tesla takes just 2.7 seconds. 

However, the Porsche can do that 0-60 mph run again, and again, up to 20 times. The Tesla, on the other hand, would start to feel a drop in performance after the second run. The internet will soon be flooded from drag race videos, but from the ones that have surfaced so far, it would seem that the Porsche has been surpassing expectations.

Porsche TaycanTo put the final nail in the Silicon Valley company’s coffin, Porsche went out and set a blisteringly quick Nurburgring lap record, claiming the production EV four-door saloon category. Porsche has also created that category with the Taycan, but a lap time of 7 minutes, 42 is still impressive. That time is roughly the same as a Cayman GT4 – not bad considering the Taycan creates no emissions and seats 4!

Tesla has previously claimed a time of 7 minutes 23 seconds, but this may not be all it seems. The Tesla that was used featured semi-slick tyres and had especially dark tinted windows so you couldn’t see inside. Was this something to hide, like a stripped-out interior?

Whatever your take on the Tesla, Porsche has spent some serious time getting the Taycan track-ready. It has 800-volt architecture, and some fancy thermal management, meaning that the Porsche can keep its battery and motors at the optimum temperature all the time.

It’s also got some rather fancy chassis technology too. Well, it is a Porsche, after all. It has Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) with active anti roll bars, four-wheel steering, and carbon-ceramic brakes. It even has a feature which allows the driver to have a little sci-fi electric motor noise, so it’s not just an eerie silence.

Porsche TaycanOther headline figures for the Turbo S are 616 HP being made by two electric motors, with an overboost function of up to 751 HP when you need it. Perfect for the school run. Oh, and don’t ask about the Turbo S name on a car with no turbochargers…

There’s also 774 lb-ft of torque, which is a gigantic amount of twist. A single-speed transmission at the front, and a dual-speed one at the back, are in charge of managing it all

The battery size is 93.4 kWh, giving a total range of about 250 miles. Charging takes 11 hours with a standard wall plug, but can be as fast as 80% in 22.5 minutes with a fast charger. My hint – opt for the fast charger!

The price for all this madness? A snip under £140,000. Expensive, yes, but the performance and green credentials make it almost unbeatable.

However, if that’s a little too pricey for you, don’t panic.  There is also a comparatively tame Taycan 4S model starting at £83,000. You will have to live with just 523 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque, though.  

Porsche TaycanOn the whole, it looks like Porsche have smashed it out of the park with the Taycan, and tackled a lot of the issues that prevented car enthusiasts from going down the EV route.

In fact, while writing this article, I can’t deny that I’ve felt my heartstrings move a little closer to the Taycan. If a wagon version is waiting in the wings, I might have some serious want for this EV, sometime soon. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry!

Ned Jasper

 

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