Porsche convincingly succeeded in not betraying their heritage of gorgeous fossil-fuel-burning dream cars. They just opened a new chapter. With an electrifying masterpiece, coming out of their brand-new 700 million Euro production facility in Zuffenhausen. I had a convincing drive in the top-of-the-range Taycan Turbo S.
Is the new Porsche crying, due to the loss of its famous fuel-burning power plant? The black stripes coming down next to the headlights somehow resemble tear streaks. Looking at all the photographs of the new Taycan in the last couple of months, where the car has been either white or silver, I couldn’t get used to this look. There was something wrong with the face. Now, walking into the Porsche Centre in Cape Town, I am seeing the blue Taycan Turbo S in the flesh for the first time. In a dark body colour those lines blend in, become invisible. And suddenly it’s once again a Porsche face. A new one.
When it comes to cars, I am a bit of a caveman. I like the warmth and crackle of a fire. And I prefer to move it around in the cylinders of an internal combustion engine. That’s why I followed the development of the electrified Porsche with keen interest. Because no other brand would develop an electric sports limousine like Porsche. There was no chance, that they would jeopardize their heritage. Or disappoint their fans. They had to do, what hasn’t been done before.
Anyway, you can read as much as you want about the new Taycan. And you can watch all those exciting drag race videos. But experiencing it live, still overwhelms you. From the start it feels and goes like a Porsche. A quiet one though. It doesn’t merely accelerate, it’s instantly fast. Violently, thrilling, exhilarating fast. To the sound symphony of the USS Enterprise, it pushes driver and passenger into the lush leather seats. It rearranges your inner organs. All of them by the feel of it.
And the Taycan even shifts gears. Once. From first to second at about 100km/h and then, the forward motion continues relentlessly. 2.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, claims Porsche. And I do believe it. That’s almost F1 quick. 200km/h are reached in under ten seconds. You can do this again and again, as often as you want.
And it goes like a Porsche. The road holding is amazing as in all other models. With the battery under the floor, the centre of gravity is low and the rear-wheel steering helps going swiftly around those narrow bends.
I have driven fully electric cars before, the Nissan Leaf and BMWi3 were interesting and with the Jaguar I-Pace I experienced my first dirt road in silence. Then, at the 2015 Frankfurt Motorshow, I was lucky enough to have a short stint on the German autobahn in the – at the time – most powerful AMG, the SLS Electric Drive. Flying past traffic with 200km/h in total silence was an eerie experience. The SLS Electric Drive featured four water-cooled electric motors, one at each wheel, resulting in a total output of 552kW and 1000Nm of torque. The top speed was electronically limited to 250km/h. The 0 to 100 km/h time was 3.9 seconds. And the range was about 250km. It also set a record time of 7:56min around Nurburgring. In 2013 the price of the SLS electric drive in Germany was a staggering 416 500 Euros. Less than 100 units were sold worldwide.
The four-door, four-seater Taycan Turbo S is in another universe. It costs less than half of what the SLS retailed for in 2013 and it is ‘mass’-produced in a brand-new, 700 million Euro factory in Zuffenhausen. It features two electric motors, one in front, one in the rear, resulting in all-wheel drive. But thanks to a lot of software, there is plenty of synchronizing going on between the two, depending on road surface and performance requirements. It is a more refined electric drive. Porsche incorporated a lot of their electric Le Mans experience into the Taycan. It is the first electric production car with 800 volts. All the competition uses 400. The high voltage improves performance and reduces recharge times enormously. With a proper charger it takes about 20 minutes to load 300 kilometers of range. By the way the Nurburgring time of the Taycan Turbo S is 7:42min.
And inside it’s also Porsche, but copying neither 911 or Panamera. I particularly love the fixed panoramic glass roof. And what about the Turbo S badge? It obviously doesn’t stand for fitted turbos any longer, it’s now a Porsche description of a very sporty car. And while the Turbo S is the flagship Taycan, Turbo and 4S are not disappointing either.
Porsche successfully injected their DNA into a normally aseptic, soul-less mode of transportation. Thus turning it into another exciting Porsche model. A ground-breaking, revolutionary and very silent one, but still unmistakenly a Porsche. A unique combination of comfort and performance. Zuffenhausen didn’t promise too much. The new Taycan is indeed ‘Soul. Electrified’.
Porsche Taycan 4S/Turbo/Turbo S
Engine Two electric motors (800 volts)
Range 301/346/327 km (estimated)
Power 390/500/560kW and 640/850/1050Nm
Top Speed 260 km/h
0-100km/h 4/3.2/2.8 seconds
Price R2 587 000/R 3 476 000/R4 077 000