Futures Market

Porsche Taycan

The one thing that automotive manufacturers the world over can do in order to succinctly demonstrate their absolute confidence in the cutting-edge doesn’t actually revolve around technology at all. It’s a much simpler action than that.
All that needs to be done is to ensure their latest roadgoing vehicle resembles the concept version that previewed its arrival as closely as possible.

A slightly otherworldly ‘look-at-us’ concept which showcases new engineering and design advances, yet also manages to render in 1:1 scale what us mere mortals might one day drive, is a winning ticket in the great marketing charm offensive lottery.

Suffice to say, I was already impressed with the new Porsche Taycan before I’d even seen one in the metal. Yes, the stats behind it are astounding. More so than the numbers, however, the production Taycan also looks almost exactly like the Mission E concept teaser which, back in 2015, introduced the world to Zuffenhausen’s idea of what an electric sports car would look like. And it still does. It has taken five years, but here
we are – the future.

The first thing that strikes you about the Taycan – and there are many things that strike you as you get to grips with this all-new electric model – is how compact it is.

Two-dimensional images fool you into thinking it will share the dimensions of a Panamera – it’s a low-slung, slippery looking four door, after all. But the Taycan is more akin to a stretched 911 than a Panamera and debuts an allnew design. All new? In essence yes, with lateral ‘air curtains’ feeding air over the wheels to dispel turbulence and a softer curve to its rear haunches beyond the c-pillar. Yet its silhouette is immediately familiar, both as a future echo of the Mission E concept and as a Porsche.

The first thing that strikes you about the Taycan – and there are many things that strike you as you get to grips with this all-new electric model – is how compact it is.

Two-dimensional images fool you into thinking it will share the dimensions of a Panamera – it’s a low-slung, slippery looking four door, after all. But the Taycan is more akin to a stretched 911 than a Panamera and debuts an allnew design. All new? In essence yes, with lateral ‘air curtains’ feeding air over the wheels to dispel turbulence and a softer curve to its rear haunches beyond the c-pillar. Yet its silhouette is immediately familiar, both as a future echo of the Mission E concept and as a Porsche.

The Taycan’s exterior styling isn’t shouty – a 718 GTS would be more likely to turn heads in traffic – but there’s a low menace there too.
‘Taycan’ is apparently the amalgamation of two Turkish phrases which translates as the “soul of a spirited young horse”. Watching one slink silently away into traffic, I can’t help but feel a nameplate referencing sharks mightn’t have been a more appropriate option.
Underneath the Taycan’s wide hips is Porsche’s new ‘J1’ platform, featuring a 93.4kWh lithium-ion battery nestled between the two axles, each with a Permanent Magnet Synchronous motor attached, all-wheel drive and a rearmounted two-speed gearbox which enables you to set off at rocket speed from standstill with the instantaneous torque that is characteristic of EVs, but is also capable of eking out maximum efficiency when cruising.

The flagship Turbo S version can generate up to 560kW overboost power in combination with Launch Control and can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds. Power is limited across the three-grade range (4S, Turbo, Turbo S) to 250km/h. Imagine what an ungoverned Taycan could do…
Beyond party-piece acceleration, the Taycan remains thoroughly engaging to drive, offering plenty of feedback through the wheel and the flat, physics-defying way it gets around corners – it has a lower centre of gravity than a 911 – feels cartoonishly unbelievable with a bit of speed dialled in. Depending on your drive settings, you can set less or more regenerative braking, which feeds energy back into the battery whenever you come off the accelerator.

The system is capable of pushing as much as 265kW back into the battery, making smile-inducing one-pedal fun attainable even at lower speeds. The conventional braking system – developed through Porsche’s motorsport activities – consists of Porsche Surface Coated Brakes with white calipers on the Taycan Turbo, or standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes on the Taycan Turbo S.

Rather than simply applying brutalist power to an electric skateboard, the Taycan is a deeply clever car, debuting plenty of new design and engineering technologies that Porsche hasn’t offered before. Nowhere are you more aware of what a completely new offering the Taycan represents than when you’re seated inside it. Sitting in the driver’s seat is a reminder that Porsche’s only benchmark for how this car feels and acts was the 911. The seating position is very 911, although everything you touch is new. Its interior is fantastic, showcasing touchscreens in place of many mechanical buttons, a curved instrument cluster with beautifully rendered and modifiable graphics, a redesigned 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management infotainment display and even the option of a passenger display screen.

The heart of the matter – the Taycan’s performance battery – is based on 800-volt technology, rather than the usual 400-volts. Porsche states that this improves charging and drive performance. They’ve even carved apertures into the battery pack to allow for more rear passenger foot space. The technology feature set also takes in the practical.
All three New Zealand market model grades arrive with Surround View monitoring, Comfort Access, Lane Change Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, front seat ventilation, steering wheel heating, rear side airbags, electrically folding exterior mirrors, digital radio and privacy glass. Stuff you’re used to hearing about, in other words.

 

Standard equipment for the Taycan 4S includes 20-inch Taycan Sport Aero wheels, metallic paint, front seat heating, 14-way electric comfort seats, auto-dimming mirrors as well as the Bose Surround Sound system. The Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S also gain driving dynamic and comfort features like Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) Sport, four-zone climate control and ambient lighting. Something familiar and yet completely new, the Porsche Taycan doesn’t simply describe the concept of astounding electric performance; it makes it a reality.

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