Review: Porsche Taycan, all-electric Cross Turismo
- Credit: Barry Hayden
Porsche’s first all-electric model gains an extra dose of practicality in Cross Turismo form
Going electric is a big step for any car manufacturer. But the stakes are particularly high for a brand like Porsche that has the internal combustion engine so deeply ingrained within its DNA.
It’s not just the noise. Adding an electric battery is like having a pair of Shetland ponies sat on the back seats – and it can have a corresponding impact on the car’s agility. Even the styling cues that we’ve come to associate with sports cars, such as the short nose and long sloping tail of the Porsche 911, stem from the layout of the mechanical gubbins underneath. Take away the engine and everything changes.
It’s remarkable, then, that the Porsche Taycan feels so familiar – so instantly Porsche – when you get inside. You sit low, with the steeply raked windscreen and the bonnet’s curving flanks framing the view ahead, while the small Alcantara rimmed steering wheel sits in your hand just like a 911’s.
Other elements of the design feel more futuristic. The instrument panel, for instance, is a free-standing touchscreen that curves around you. Two further touchscreens come as standard and you can pay for a fourth display in front of the passenger. It’s all beautifully put together too, with a level of fit and finish that feels authentically Porsche.
The big difference is that the Taycan comes with four doors and enough room to seat four adults (five at a push). That’s particularly true of this Cross Turismo variant, which offers a useful increase in rear headroom and boot space over the standard saloon.
The Cross Turismo also comes with an extra 20mm of ground clearance. Tick the Off Road package and you’ll get a Gravel mode button that raises the suspension further and optimises the four-wheel drive system for slippery conditions. It still looks and feels like a sports car, but it does mean you can tackle the occasional farm track or festival campsite.
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The Taycan’s stand out feature, however, is the way that it drives. We’re used to electric cars being fast in a straight line, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s only the mid-range ‘4S’ model and yet full throttle is still enough to prompt an involuntary stream of expletives from your passengers.
But what really makes the Taycan stand out is the way it handles. The steering is nicely-weighted and precise, while the level of agility on offer utterly defies this car’s 2.3-tonne kerb weight. It doesn’t feel as lithe as a 911, but it’s roughly on a par with a petrol-powered sports saloon like Porsche’s own Panamera.
It’s comfortable too. Even in its firmest Sport Plus setting, the Taycan is far from harsh, and in Normal mode it offers a genuinely supple ride, combined with eerily-low noise levels. The optional Electric Sport Sound function does a surprisingly good job of restoring the visceral element that you lose without a conventional engine – it’s a box we’d seriously consider ticking – but it can be turned off for quieter cruising.
And the Taycan is a car that you could happily use for long distances. With a real-world range of nearly 250 miles, and ultra-fast 800-volt charging, you rarely need to worry about plugging it in.
The Taycan offers more driver appeal than any other mainstream electric car – and by some margin. Yet, in Cross Turismo form, it’s also practical enough to serve as family transport or carry a couple of mountain bikes at the weekend. It’s not cheap, but it has to rank as one of the most complete performance cars on sale, regardless of the type of propulsion.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Taycan 4S Cross Turismo £102,961 as tested (range from £72,850)
Powertrain: 571PS (overboost), Dual motor four-wheel drive, 93.4kWh battery
Performance: 0 to 62mph in 4.1 seconds; top speed 149 mph
Range: 277 miles (combined)