Have the automotive magicians at Stuttgart created an zero emissions vehicle worthy of the iconic Porsche badge?
Launched in 2020, Porsche’s first electric car has been a huge success – even outselling the iconic 911 sports car in 2021.
The slippery Taycan saloon has now been joined by the estate-like Sport Turismo and more rugged Cross Turismo body styles, so expect this trend to continue.
Priced from £79,200-£148,300, the Porsche Taycan range is seriously expensive, but it embodies everything we’ve come to expect from the brand – cutting-edge tech, kerb appeal, sublime driving dynamics and superb build quality.
Winner of both the World Luxury Car and World Performance Car of the Year categories at the 2020 World Car of the Year Awards, the Taycan is arguably the best EV in the world.
Bigger than a 911 and a little smaller than a Panamera, the low-slung Taycan is a proper four-door performance saloon.
It’s practical too, with space for four full-sized adults in the luxurious cabin, plus a decent luggage capacity (366 litres in the boot and an extra 81 litres under the bonnet).
Except for the rear-wheel drive entry-level model, all Taycans have an electric motor on each axle (delivering all-wheel drive), a two-speed gearbox on the rear motor and a battery pack running the length of the cabin.
The range kicks off with the ‘basic’ rear-wheel drive Taycan, followed by the Taycan 4S and Taycan GTS. However, we tested the flagship Turbo S saloon.
There are two battery sizes (79kWh and 93kWh) and, as ever, the more you pay the better the spec and more options when it comes to performance and range.
The headline figure is that the Turbo S can deliver an equivalent of 751bhp, meaning it will complete the 0-62mph sprint in a staggering 2.8 seconds. Opt for the larger battery (billed as Performance Battery Plus) and the Taycan’s maximum range extends from 268 to 301 miles.
If you haven’t spotted it already, Porsche has kept to its conventional naming convention for the 100% electric Taycan, even though there isn’t a ‘turbo’ in sight. What’s more, the battery range indicator on the dashboard still features a fuel pump.
But, Porsche’s quirks are easily forgotten once you’re behind the wheel of this technical tour de force.
You sit low in the cabin. Ahead, there’s a sculpted bonnet with raised wings that are classic Porsche 911. A glance at the door mirrors reveals muscular haunches enveloping massive tyres. Inside it’s minimalist with three large digital displays – two in the centre console and one in front of the driver.
As with all EVs, there’s just a vague whine from its two electric motors, plus modest road and wind noise. There’s also an optional ‘Electric Sport Sound’, but the novelty wears thin after a while.
Other EVs are also savagely fast, but what sets the Taycan apart is how it handles all that power.
Even though it weighs 2.3 tonnes, it defies physics and is remarkably agile, while the all-wheel drive and rear-axle steering systems mean traction is phenomenal and it steers like a sports car.
Instant torque, flat cornering and a serious amount of grip from those enormous 305/30ZR21 rear tyres add to the thrilling, often playful, behind-the-wheel experience.
The five drive modes, selected by a button on the steering wheel (just like a 911), are energy-saving Range, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual.
The Taycan’s range is certainly realistic, even after some spirited driving, but clearly it’s not best in class, with Tesla still leading the way.
That said, thanks to some clever tech, the Taycan can be charged up to 80% in as little as 20 minutes (if you have access to a 270kW ultra rapid charger). A more common 50kW charger will perform the same task in about 1.5 hours, while a 150kW charger will boost a bigger-battery Taycan in around 35 minutes (1-80%).
Naturally, it will charge at home overnight using a wallbox, and just like other electric cars, the Taycan charges the battery as it drives via regenerative braking – the smoothest and most responsive system we’ve ever experienced in an EV.
All this adds up to a hugely impressive, if expensive, car that’s as happy on a zero-emissions school run as it is lapping up the miles on challenging country roads.
Needless to say, it’s also safe. Awarded a maximum five-star crash test rating by Euro NCAP, it’s brimming with driver assistance feature such as adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and night vision, along with autonomous emergency brakes, lane assist and blind spot monitoring. It’s just a shame that some of these features are optional extras on entry-level models.
Obviously, if you prefer a bit more interior space and extra everyday usability, then we’d recommend testing the Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo body styles.
As with all Porsches, once you start ticking the optional extras list, the ticket price will explode, so beware. Rooftop and rear bike carriers, for instance, range from £130 to £1,600.
The Taycan’s rivals include its cousin, the Audi e-tron GT (they are based on the same platform), the Tesla Model S and Mercedes-Benz EQS.