The world’s most desirable electric car
WHO wants a Tesla now? Meet the all-electric Porsche Taycan, the world's most desirable EV, full stop.
Its combination of looks, performance, quality and technology is without equal. And the Taycan is also a proper Porsche, so it's awesome fun to drive.
With production of the four-door coupe ramping up ahead of first deliveries to customers in Europe, Porsche decided to do something different for the Taycan's meet-the-media test drive. They came up with zigzag route from Oslo to Stuttgart, covering more than 6000km over almost three weeks. It was designed to highlight the car's long-distance capability and its recharging speed.
Groups of car critics from all over the globe each spent two days driving the Taycan test fleet. Australia's grand tour turn was Munich to Berlin, via the scenic route.
The route included city streets and urban arteries, winding country roads and no-speed-limit autobahn, in weather that varied from dry and sunny to wet and grey. In all traffic and weather, the Taycan was terrific.
It's surprisingly smooth-riding for a car with real racetrack ability. Porsche brought only Turbo S and Turbo models on its road show. The all-wheel drives are the first variants off the company's new EV assembly line.
The cars all came with the air-spring and variable shock absorber suspension that will be standard on the Turbo S in Europe and an option in the Turbo. It does a great job of ironing out lumps and bumps.
The Taycan isn't just a smooth operator. Its exterior is superbly sexy, like any Porsche sports car, and with slick aerodynamics it slices cleanly and quietly through the air.
Inside, buyers will have the choice of four-seat layout or a 4+1 configuration that adds a seatbelt for a cramped fifth place between the two rear seats. Despite the Taycan's low and sloping roofline, its outboard rear seats provide ample space for adults.
Up front, the view ahead and the driving position are similar to Porsche's classic 911 sports car. Behind there's a reasonably large 366L boot, while under the nose is a smaller storage space.
The total absence of squeaks and rattles in the test Taycans point to it being well made but the interior is rather plain.
Driving more than design sets the Taycan apart from other high-priced EVs such as the Tesla Model S sedan. The raft of lithium-ion batteries beneath its floor make it elephant-heavy yet the Taycan carves up curvy roads like a hungry predator.
It's brilliantly agile, with sharp steering and brute-force brakes that, unlike any other EV or hybrid, deliver feel and progression to go with the power. The acceleration is fierce enough to cause whiplash.
In both the Turbo and Turbo S, the more powerful motor drives the rear wheels via a two-speed transmission. The front motor drives through a fixed single gear and in the Turbo S it is slightly more powerful.
Porsche set a remarkable 7:42 Nurburgring lap time with the less powerful Taycan Turbo. The finesse of its all-wheel drive is stunning. The car responds instantly to the accelerator pedal and handles as if it's velcroed to the road, even when the blacktop is wet.
On a straight stretch of unrestricted autobahn, the Turbo rushes to its electronically limited top speed of 260km/h. Top speed of the more upmarket Turbo S is the same but it is quicker from 0-100km/h - Porsche claims 2.8 seconds.
Charging is speedy, too. The Taycan is the first production car to use 800V batteries, double the normal.
Test drive lunch breaks were at autobahn service stations with latest-generation DC fast chargers. In the time it takes for a pit stop, burger and coffee, the Taycan charges at a rate to make a Tesla owner envious, adding 156km - the driving range predicted by the accurate trip computer.
The Taycan is not just great but also expensive. Porsche Cars Australia is yet to fix prices but the Turbo is likely to be in the vicinity of $300,000 and the Turbo S $350,000.
Less costly models are in Porsche's production pipeline and at least one - the 4S - will be ready for the Taycan's late 2020 arrival in Australia.
No skin in the game
The Taycan Turbo's standard interior trimmings in Europe are all textile, synthetic suede and imitation hide. But even though there's not an animal product anywhere in sight, Porsche can't call this fit-out vegan. The problem is in the composition of some of the glues used in assembly, so the label is instead "leather-free".
Porsche Taycan Turbo
Price: $300,000 (est)
Safety: Not yet rated
Motors: Synchronous AC, 500kW/850Nm combined, battery 93kWh
Range: About 400km
0-100km/h: 3.2 seconds