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    Porsche Taycan 2022 review: Turbo

    Is the Taycan more than just an electrified Panamera?

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    What gives a car a soul? Is it just the explosive romance of combustion? Is it the pure engineering, the way a car is a reflection of human achievement? Is it the deus ex machina, the way a car can unite its inner complexities to talk to the driver?

    For an enthusiast, these questions are going to all be thrown into the limelight as the age of electrification looms. With linear electric motors and heavy battery packs, what kind of future can exist for nameplates like Porsche?

    Will it still be able to stand apart from others without being able to draw on its signature flat engines and rear-engine rear-drive layout?

    It’s odd then that Porsche is a relatively early adopter of electrification. For a brand which was cast aside by some of its loyal fanbase for a technological sin as simple as water cooling, a fully electric four-door seems to fly in the face of its very ethos.

    When it comes to the Taycan, the question is simple: Is Porsche still Porsche? Can it, of all automakers, imbue an EV with something resembling character? I drove the oddly named Taycan Turbo to find out.

    Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

    The Taycan Turbo is the second from the top in the Taycan range and costs $271,200, before on-roads and any boxes ticked in its absurdly long options list.

    Suffice it to say the value equation here is different from almost any other electric car right now.

    Where the Taycan sits, it’s trying to take dollars from other Porsche products, perhaps even more exclusive rivals, and barely registers on the radar of other European EVs, like the Mercedes-Benz EQC (from $140,771), Jaguar I-Pace (from $128,248), or perhaps the more size-equivalent US-sourced Tesla Model S (from $133,175).

    This is a properly dedicated EV, not a combustion chassis converted for the era of electrification. This is a properly dedicated EV, not a combustion chassis converted for the era of electrification.

    Audi will also launch its car on the Taycan underpinnings, the e-Tron GT next year, so keep an eye out for that, too.

    At twice the price of the closest EVs in Australia, Porsche hopes you’re buying more than just a premium electric car.

    You’re buying a Porsche, and this is reflected in not just this car’s iconic design, but some of the tech underpinning it. This is a properly dedicated EV, not a combustion chassis converted for the era of electrification.

    The options list, mind you, is some 125 items long, with costs ranging from over $14,000 for the carbon ceramic brake package or carbon fibre wheels, to zero cost for various cable adapters and standard paint colours.

    Our car had 13 option boxes ticked, bringing the total to $304,500, before on-roads. These included ‘Taycan Exclusive Design’ wheels - $7110, with gloss-black paint highlights - $2500, two-tone leather interior - $5630, Sport Chrono package - $2340, Passenger display - $2150, Active parking support - $1890, Black exterior highlight trims - $1720, ‘Porsche Electric Sport Sound’ - $1050, 4+1 seat layout - $1000, LED Matrix headlights with ‘Dynamic Light System Plus’ - $990, window highlights in black gloss trim - $720, Porsche logo LED door lights - $600, and black badgework - $500.

    At twice the price of the closest EVs in Australia, Porsche hopes you’re buying more than just a premium electric car. At twice the price of the closest EVs in Australia, Porsche hopes you’re buying more than just a premium electric car.

    While I’d be leaving some of those aesthetic items out, I have to say our Taycan looks the business.

    Items off the options list which ship standard with the Taycan Turbo include a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, gesture controls and a second touchscreen for climate and other functions, real leather interior trim, ambient interior lighting, a 14-speaker Bose sound system, 14-way electrically adjustable front seats with heated seating front and rear, quad-zone climate control, LED headlights and tail-lights, an ambient interior lighting package, 20-inch ‘Taycan Turbo’ alloy wheels, and a tungsten carbide brake package.

    An array of active safety functions is also standard on this car, which we’ll take a look at later in this review.

    Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

    The Taycan is a statement, particularly for Porsche, as it launches in four-door form, rather than the beetle-derived visage which its more traditional 911 and 718 family has historically followed.

    From a distance, it’s easy to see Porsche's other four-door offering, the Panamera in this car’s silhouette and roofline, but up-close it’s clear there’s a lot more going on with Zuffenhausen’s first EV.

    The front leaves the impression of width, yet with a lower stance than the chunky Panamera, and the way the body swoops up to clasp the light clusters is truly eye-grabbing.

    The clusters themselves are a departure, with a new and more distinct quad DRL profile which is a change from the 911-style fittings which have been a theme of the brand for decades.

    The Taycan is a statement, particularly for Porsche, as it launches in four-door form. The Taycan is a statement, particularly for Porsche, as it launches in four-door form.

    It’s perhaps this car’s most confronting angle, with the side profile mirroring the four-door Panamera, but the thick rear arches poking out the sides and alluding to this car’s potency and handling prowess.

    Who says you need a ‘power bulge’ to communicate a car’s inner strength? Porsche has always been a brand of superior subtlety.

    The rear is also reflective of the Taycan’s Panamera stablemate, but the styling is refined a degree further to reference the 911 in the rear wing layout and lower splitter’s complex vented pattern.

    Our car’s optional wheels are the rare kind which manage to combine an aerodynamic eco-look with a sporty blade design somehow uniting the car's dual aspirations.

    The rear is also reflective of the Taycan’s Panamera stablemate. The rear is also reflective of the Taycan’s Panamera stablemate.

    They’re costly, but I’d argue much better looking than the standard Turbo S rims.

    The colour combination of our car is pleasing too, with the black-on-blue highlight trims working nicely with the gold of Porsche’s historic badge.

    The interior continues the contrasted theme of tan and grey, and the leather a thin kind not as lavish as some other tourers but conveys a lightweight, sporty personality.

    The wheel is near identical to other Porsche products in look and feel, and the wide, curved digital dash cluster does a great job of evoking the spirit of models from the brand’s past.

    Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

    Although the Taycan is a sporty machine and naturally has practicality compromises, its dedicated electrified underpinnings deliver a few benefits.

    Starting at the helm, the adjustability and seating position for the driver are unusually good for an EV, with the under-floor battery cells shaped to facilitate less of an SUV-like seating position, which electric cars are usually forced into.

    Things look all science-fiction with the plethora of screens and hollow surfaces down the centre, but there are some head-scratchers.

    The adjustability and seating position for the driver are unusually good for an EV. The adjustability and seating position for the driver are unusually good for an EV.

    Controlling the climate functions through a touch panel is a main one, it’s simply not easy while driving. It requires you to look carefully with smallish touch elements, leaving you wishing for a solution as simple as a dial or tactile buttons for adjustments on the fly.

    I can’t help but feel the best use of this car’s extra space hasn’t been made either, with the void under the floating screen console simply being a plastic panel, where a storage bay or wireless charger could have been.

    The only knob for volume is on the steering wheel, and the only shortcuts available are a home button, car configurator screen, and a notification touch element on the right-hand side of the multimedia screen.

    While the screen fits into the design seamlessly, it’s a bit hard to reach for operating functions like Apple CarPlay.

    The rear seat is interesting. It's low-slung and you have to crouch down to get into it. The rear seat is interesting. It's low-slung and you have to crouch down to get into it.

    Thankfully, there are decent pockets in the doors, and a shallow but long armrest console box.

    The rear seat is interesting. It's low-slung and you have to crouch down to get into it. Once you're there legroom is decent but headroom is limited.

    The outer seats are excellent with bucket designs, though the centre seat is tiny. I wouldn't be putting an adult there unless I absolutely had to, especially since the floor isn't flat as it is in some electric products.

    Rear passengers get hard clamshell pockets on the backs of the front seats, and there's a drop-down armrest in the centre with large bottle holders.

    The boot has room for 366 litres (VDA), roughly equivalent to a hatchback. The boot has room for 366 litres (VDA), roughly equivalent to a hatchback.

    There are two climate zones for the rear with touch panel controls and adjustable vents. Under the centre seat there are dual USB-C ports hidden. Nice touch.

    The boot has room for 366 litres (VDA), roughly equivalent to a hatchback, and it's worth noting the Taycan's rear glass panel doesn't lift so you're left with a sedan-sized aperture for loading.

    There is a further 84-litres available under the bonnet, enough for a small bag or your charging peripherals.

    The Taycan might have a huge footprint, but it's really a four-seater with limited storage capacity.

    There is a further 84-litres available under the bonnet. There is a further 84-litres available under the bonnet.

    Powertrain - What are the key stats for the powertrain?

    The Taycan Turbo, while not actually having a turbo, is a bit more than just a big battery pack and an electric motor on one of the axles.

    It’s a more complicated blend of a gigantic battery pack and two motors, one on the front, one on the rear, with the rear axle possessing a dual-speed transmission instead of a single reduction gear like most EVs.

    This grants it all-wheel drive with a special torque vectoring program Porsche calls ‘Porsche Traction Management’ and the combined outputs of both motors make for a whopping 460kW (500kW on ‘Overboost’) and 850Nm. It will sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.2 seconds.

    Suspension is provided via an adaptive tri-chamber air spring set-up.

    Energy consumption - How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what's it like to recharge/refuel?

    Like a true sports machine, the Taycan isn’t as lean as some EVs when it comes to energy consumption.

    First of all, the Taycan’s battery deserves a special mention. In terms of passenger cars, it’s one of the largest on the market.

    Measuring in at a gigantic 93.4kWh (83.7kWh of which is usable), the Taycan lays claim to some 452km of range (on the WLTP cycle), one of the healthiest ranges for any EV on the market currently.

    EVs are measured in kWh/100km instead of L/100km, and some, like the Hyundai Kona EV, can be as trim as 11kWh/100km, the Taycan’s official measured consumption on the WLTP cycle comes in at a minimum of 22.9kWh/100km.

    Like a true sports machine, the Taycan isn’t as lean as some EVs when it comes to energy consumption. Like a true sports machine, the Taycan isn’t as lean as some EVs when it comes to energy consumption.

    In my time with it (making sure to maximise regenerative braking around town) I landed surprisingly close to the official number at 24.8kWh/100km.

    It’s still double what I’ve seen from other, smaller EVs which need to drag around half the battery capacity, but considering the performance and range on offer it’s not bad.

    The Taycan charges using the European-standard Type-2 plug, and has two charging ports, one on either side. You can charge on the left side of the car using a DC CCS combo connector, while on the driver’s side there’s a secondary AC-only port which is optional on the Turbo grade and below ($1310) or standard on the Turbo S.

    By default, the Taycan can accept a maximum charge rate of 270kW, allowing it to add around 100km every five minutes, or a 10 - 80 per cent charge in 22.5 minutes. It’s properly quick.

    There are few 270kW-plus chargers in Australia but charging from a more common 50kW DC charger you can expect 10 – 80 per cent in 93 minutes.

    In my time with it I landed surprisingly close to the official number at 24.8kWh/100km. In my time with it I landed surprisingly close to the official number at 24.8kWh/100km.

    The standard AC inverter is also excellent, with a default speed of 11kW, allowing a 10 – 80 per cent charge time of nine hours. In a rare twist though, our Turbo and the top-spec Turbo S come equipped with a standard 22kW AC inverter, cutting the charge time in half at full-pelt AC locations – extremely convenient for those who have one of these at their local shops.

    It can also be fitted as an option on the 4S for $3500 (which I would certainly be choosing given the price of some other options).

    Surprisingly, an item not on the option list is a 2.5-metre Type 2-to-Type 2 charging cable capable of supporting up to 22kW (normally valued between $300 and $600).

    I charged up the Taycan once at a 50kW ChargeFox location, which restored it from around 10 per cent to roughly 50 per cent in about 40 minutes.

    All Taycan grades come with a three-year subscription to ChargeFox locations, which is handy.

    Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

    Every Taycan variant comes with a close to full safety suite. In terms of active items, this includes freeway-speed auto emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring.

    Our car also had the 'Active Parking Support' pack fitted ($1890) which includes rear cross-traffic alert, exit warning, active parking with manoeuvring assist, and 360-degree camera coverage.

    There is also ‘Night Vision Asssit’ ($4650) which was not fitted to our car, but adds an infrared camera for advanced emergency braking at night, and works in conjunction with the LED headlights to illuminate potential hazards.

    I’d argue rear cross-traffic alert and exit warning should be standard at this price.

    On the more expected front, the Taycan has a whopping 10 airbags, (dual front, dual front knee, quad side, and dual full-length curtain.

    It has the usual VW Group array of pre-crash cabin preparations (as detected by the auto braking system) like seatbelt pre-tensioning. No Porsche carries an ANCAP safety rating.

    Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

    All Porsche models are covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty which is falling further behind the luxury segment standard. Mercedes-Benz, Genesis, Jaguar and Volvo offer five-year warranties, while Lexus offers four.

    The Taycan does have a separate and seemingly industry-standard warranty for its battery components which is eight years and 160,000km. Roadside assist is included with each genuine service.

    On the topic of servicing, the Taycan only requires a visit once every 24 months or 30,000km, which is a remarkably long interval. However, there is no ‘maintenance plan’ with indicative pricing offered.

    All Porsche models are covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. All Porsche models are covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

    Driving - What's it like to drive?

    To the great question: The Taycan has many of the elements of a modern Porsche, but does it actually feel like one?

    Immediately, the signs are good. The Taycan is one of the few electric cars I’ve driven which manages to maintain a properly sporty driving position, with bits of the underfloor battery storage intricately shaped to facilitate a proper enthusiast’s pose.

    The elements, too, are laid out superbly, Porsche continues to give a certain ambiance and feel to all of its vehicles, and this extends to the Taycan.

    As a four-door though, it’s no 911. I was initially worried the Taycan, particularly with its heavy batteries, would just feel like an electric Panamera. It’s the initial impression the car imparts, with its wide stance, length, and insulation from the road.

    It feels more like a tech tour-de-force, as even around the streets, with its digital features front and centre, communicating the complexities of what lies beneath.

    Certainly, the acceleration feels like other electric cars, with a linear and sanitary surge forward, without the raw clatter usually associated with Porsche’s internal-combustion engines.

    If you want, it can make a digital sound linked to the speed of the motor. Unlike the choral aura of Hyundai EVs, the Porsche noise has been tuned to feel more dramatic, and it does, but there’s nothing natural about it.

    Porsche continues to give a certain ambiance and feel to all of its vehicles, and this extends to the Taycan. Porsche continues to give a certain ambiance and feel to all of its vehicles, and this extends to the Taycan.

    So far, you may not be all that impressed. But thankfully, things get better.

    During my time with the Taycan (thankfully between Covid lockdowns), I steered it towards one of the better driving roads around Sydney, to stretch its legs.

    And while there’s no doubt this car is rapid, but perhaps not as involving as it could be when accelerating in a straight line, the suspension is surreal.

    When you can throw this big, heavy Porsche into a few corners at speed, it starts to shrink.

    The way it transforms from a lumbering EV into an alarmingly agile, accurate, and rapid machine, assaulting the subtleties of the road with scalpel precision, is hugely impressive.

    Suddenly the firm steering tune starts to make a lot more sense, and the way this car instantly reacts to any input alters your perception of what EVs can feel like.

    There is at least an element of what makes a Porsche in here then, but the drawbacks of the natural state of an EV requires some pushing to eke it out.

    When you can throw this big, heavy Porsche into a few corners at speed, it starts to shrink. When you can throw this big, heavy Porsche into a few corners at speed, it starts to shrink.

    You can customise the drive experience from the car’s ‘Vehicle’ screen, but as is the case in the Audi e-tron, the regenerative braking has a single mode, and by default it’s not on.

    Perhaps this is to focus the driver on the idea this is a Porsche first and an EV second, but to conserve energy around town and maximise range, you’ll want to be making full use of this feature.

    At least the brake pedal is finely tuned to max out regen first before it switches to this car’s pricey tungsten-alloy brake pads, all without letting you feel the difference.

    The Taycan strikes a balance. It’s not as complete a tourer as a Panamera, and not as much of a sports car as a 911.

    It feels less of an EV than a Tesla, but more seamless than Audi’s e-tron. It lands somewhere in the void between what has come before and what lies in the future, while bringing something new to Porsche.

    Will it be enough to win the hearts of seasoned Porsche veterans? Time will tell.

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    So, does the Taycan have a soul in the same way its Porsche predecessors do? It’s hard to say. While this car has presence and otherworldly handling prowess, there’s still something clinical about the way it accelerates and clings to the road as though the act of doing so carries no weight.

    The Taycan is a special car to drive and be in, but EV buyers looking for the lightness and engagement Porsche is usually associated with might want to wait a little longer.

    This big battery electric is more (surprisingly) capable grand tourer than nimble sports car.

    $271,200

    Based on new car retail price

    Score

    4.1/5
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