Pricing starts at: €115,375 for the 4S; Turbo from €160,341.
Engine: twin permanent magnet synchronous motors, nominal 625hp output.
Emissions: 0g/km (€120 per year)
Porsche, like every other car manufacturer right now, is feeling the pressure to move to a more ecological product portfolio in the near future.
Tough Europe-wide emissions laws mean that the customer consumption of plug-in hybrids and electric cars is being accelerated, which is fine if your company makes regular hatchbacks, SUVs and estates that can be (relatively) easily converted to such methods of propulsion. But when you’re an automotive company that specialises in high-end, high-performance exotica with a strong emotional content, how do you adapt to an increasingly electrified future?
Well, if you’re Porsche, you put your best engineering genii to it and let them loose on creating the best sporting electric vehicle (EV) they can think of. The result is this car, the Taycan. It is rendered as a four-door saloon that actually fits into Porsche’s product catalogue slightly below its existing Panamera, but it aims to deliver the same sort of driving thrills and excitement that any other model in the German company’s line-up could provide.
This particular model is the Turbo, the middle of three Taycans currently available. While the use of the word ‘Turbo’ is a complete misnomer from an engineering standpoint – as in, the Taycan does not have a combustion engine at all, meaning it is impossible to turbocharge as a result – the use of the word was rationalised by Porsche as it believed its customer base understood that Turbo means more in people’s minds in terms of model prestige than it does when connected to the sort of induction the motor is using.
So this Turbo is surpassed by a Turbo S at the top of the Taycan tree, while the entry-level Porsche EV is the €115,375 Taycan 4S. This latter vehicle uses smaller electric motors for a peak output of 390kW (530hp), rising to 420kW (571hp) with a Performance Battery option – which also sees its single-charge range increased to 462km.
The Turbo, though, runs a 460kW (625hp) twin set of motors as standard, which is the same setup as in the Turbo S. The difference between the two is that the latter rises to 560kW (761hp) on an ‘overboost’ function, allowing it to run 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds and go up to 420 kilometres on a single charge. The Turbo has to ‘make do’ with an overboost increase to 500kW (680hp), but as that still allows for a 0-100km/h run in 3.2 seconds and a 453km range, it’s an EV infused with true Porsche spirit.
It’s also a simply wonderful vehicle that should give keen driving enthusiasts succour for the future of motoring, while simultaneously satisfying the environmentally conscious that big, powerful cars can run convincingly in zero-emission fashion if required.
Yet the first things that strike you about the Taycan Turbo are both how good it looks and how magnificent its interior is. On the former score, it is so obviously a Porsche that if the badges were taken off it, most people would correctly identify its parent manufacturer, and yet it also appears sufficiently different that it’s clear it is not powered by a conventional engine.
Fitted with optional 20-inch wheels and finished in a subdued colour, the Taycan conveys the air of a luxury, premium product, without having to be over-the-top in signifying its EV genealogy.
The cabin is even nicer. Porsche’s decision to site the battery pack in the floor of the Taycan means it frees up cabin space, so there’s plenty of legroom for passengers in the back two seats of the car, even if headroom will be limited for those taller than six foot due to the rakish slope of the Taycan’s roofline.
Up front, however, a futuristic and pin-sharp digital display is housed in an instrument binnacle without a cowl, the screen framed by soft-touch electric ‘buttons’ for various ancillary controls, while there’s a large and angled third digital display on the centre console that sits below the main 10.9-inch infotainment screen. Shorn of physical switchgear, finished in sumptuous materials and bolted together with that Teutonic solidity that signifies expensive German machinery, the Taycan’s interior is a fabulous place to be.
But then, once you’re moving, you’ll be revelling in the incredible refinement of this vehicle. Without a combustion engine with reciprocating, moving parts causing vibrations, and with Adaptive Air Suspension plus Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and optional noise-insulated glass, the Taycan positively glides along motorways in almost total silence. The most noise you can hear is wind rustling around the glasshouse, but even that is minimal at best and, despite the big tyres occasionally sending minor jolts through the cabin, driving the Taycan Turbo at a constant speed is an exercise in serenity.
It’s also exceptionally easy to drive, with light, nicely calibrated controls and excellent visibility out in all directions, save directly through the somewhat narrow rear screen. And yet, when the mood takes you and you decide to unleash the full power of the Taycan’s impressive drivetrain, the ferocity of its acceleration will take you aback – not just the first, unwitting time you try it, but again, and again, and again.
It also handles beautifully, belying its 2.3-tonne mass to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable drive on curvier roads. With the optional Porsche Electronic Sport Sound (PESS) fitted, it also makes a great noise, and one that isn’t trying to synthesise a combustion engine but is instead playing up the Taycan’s electric strengths.
In truth, the Taycan Turbo is a car with few flaws. It doesn’t have the greatest single-charge range going and there are other EVs that can match its stunning acceleration, but few can match its inherent sense of quality, its astonishing refinement and its sharp, invigorating drive. It’s perhaps not quite all things to all humankind just yet, but the Taycan is a fantastic signpost to an EV future where driving is still rewarding, fun and enjoyable.