One of the joys of getting a little longer in the tooth (there aren’t that many to be honest) is that, based on history and experience, you tend to be right much more than wrong. Take EVs for instance, sure they are good for the environment and fine for toodling around the town but they will never replace powerful ICE engines in Supercars – however, this is a fact that Porsche New Zealand respectfully disagrees.
It seems like an age ago that Mission E first came on my radar. The mere thought of an electric Porsche had me tut-tutting, shaking my head and wondering what the automotive world was coming to. Well now, thanks to Porsche New Zealand, I know where we’re heading and it’s quite an eye-opener.
In Turkish, the Taycan translates to ‘lively young horse’ but I have another word for it and that is phenomenal. The Taycan comes in three separate models each with their own power output, I was given the reins of the Turbo, the middle one of the three and to be honest, it was lively enough for me.
Its two Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors, one on each axle, provided 500kW of power and a whopping 850Nm of torque, this translates to a mind-bending 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 260km/h. What’s more, is that thanks to its switching two-speed transmission and an all-wheel-drive system ‘that can be optimally adjusted to the fluctuation between efficiency and dynamics in the various driving modes’ the acceleration is both instant and brutal, even when compared to the 373kW/460Nm and 3.9s 0-100km/h of the 2019 GT3 – the Taycan leaves its ICE powered sibling lost in the rear-view mirror. Ok, so strike one to the Taycan but with the price of an EV powertrain, Porsche would surely have scrimped on the technology right?
As it turns out, the Taycan Turbo comes loaded with technology and smarts (much more than the GT3) and it comes clearly presented on three interactive screens – one of which is curved like a posh TV. Everything from surround view and lane-keeping assist, to adaptive cruise control and even steering wheel heating. Plus of course, there’s all the information that tells you what the battery life and EV side of things is up to.
My specific model came with some extra perks too, like 14-way electric comfort seats, auto-dimming mirrors and a powerful BOSE Surround Sound system, I guess the latter is to make up for the lack of engine sound.
About that sound, alright so the melodic tune of the flat-six at full noise is hard to beat and possibly a strong case for us ICE lovers. However, the Taycan comes with its own unique soundtrack, something between the hum of an amplifier waiting for the wail of an electric guitar and a spaceship hovering above Nevada residents or cows (maybe they’re one the same) ready to beam them up.
On the subject of cows, the finishing on the Taycan’s interior is both uncluttered and luxurious, actually, the 1963 911 dash was the inspiration. Plenty of leather where expected and there are piano blacks and chromes in the high-use areas. The four seats are comfortable and even the those in the rear have space for legs. The boot is usable with 366L at the rear and there’s an additional 79L under the bonnet or Frunk (as there’s no engine there).
The Taycan’s exterior is just as pure. The nose is low and wide with four-point, matrix LED headlights that sit above the large lateral air intakes. Overall the performance Porsche has a drag coefficient of just 0.22 (which tops all current models) and it retains the Porsche ‘flyline’ so the roofline slopes sportily down towards the rear. Aside from LED lights and a lack of exhaust tips, the rear features a 3-stage spoiler (the faster you go the more acute the angle) and a funky full-width light bar.
The Taycan’s superior aerodynamics and ultra-efficient recuperation tricks (including the fact that if you brake hard from 200km/h to zero you can add an extra 4km of range), means that the Turbo version (according to the range calculator’s best case) boasts a range of 464km on a full tank. Obviously, it’s less than that and less than a GT3, but you can’t fill up a GT3 at home. And with the Taycan’s 800v system, you can fully ‘fast-charge’ in around 40 mins, so you’re back on the road PDQ. And let’s not compare emissions shall we.
The big thing for me, (and probably for you too) was how does the Taycan drive and the simple answer is, sublime. The low down and well-positioned battery weight helps keep its centre of gravity low but behind the scenes, there is a multitude of chassis and suspension management systems allowing you to extort as much performance from the powertrain as physically possible. The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) electronic shock absorber control system is standard, its three-chamber air suspension provides a wide range of spring rates (from firm to firmest), the active roll stabilisation system, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) prevents any body roll, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) ensures that the vehicle’s steering response is even more agile and improves traction by specifically locking the differential when accelerating out of corners and all the above is managed by Porsche’s 4D-Chassis Control an intelligent command centre – Phew, seriously, all you have to do is concentrate on where to point this vehicle.
Around town and in the equivalent of comfort or economy, the Taycan is a pussycat, visibility is good it is very mild-mannered. But, when you find a place to turn the drive-mode dial to sports plus and stamp on the accelerator, be prepared to hold on tight and try to hold on to your lunch, it’s epic.
Aside from the fact that it’s smarter, more efficient, quicker, more spacious and a serious ton of fun, like I said at the outset, EVs will never take over the position of an ICE engine in a supercar… who am I kidding, if Porsche New Zealand’s new Taycan is a glimpse into the future, sign me up NOW – mission accomplished!