Motor (Australia)

ACCELERATE A 996 GT3 FOR FIVE SECONDS AND YOU’VE GOT 575KJ OF KINETIC ENERGY TO DISSIPATE. THE TAYCAN TURBO S? 1950KJ

Andy Enright

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“YOU, SIR, ARE an arsehole.” The old boy leaned across the cab of his creaking Hilux, delivered his spittlefle­cked opinion and attempted to figure out a remedy to his face being the same colour as an eggplant. A minute or so earlier, I’d encountere­d him ambling along at 60km/h in a 100km/h zone and had zipped past – at a roughly legal velocity – in a Porsche Taycan. He hadn’t seen Zuffenhaus­en’s stealth bomber bearing down on him and he’d had a belated reactionar­y jink after it left him in its humming wake. Maybe some EVs need more than just pedestrian warning sounds.

The reason I’d been prodding the Taycan was to discover whether performanc­e EVs were really that much less engaging to drive than, say, an ICE car with a good automatic gearbox. A chat with one of our senior guys had me wondering. He’d marvelled at the Taycan’s cross country pace but it had left him unmoved as a driving enthusiast. He’d even used the word ‘appliance’. So what parts of the reward process were absent?

The sound, clearly. Even with its optional performanc­e sound effect and two-speed transmissi­on, the Taycan is a taciturn partner. There’s no reassuring cadence or rhythm to its ability to sniff three-figure speeds out of the ether. Then there’s the unusual dynamic consequenc­es of its weight. It’s supremely tied down in both roll and pitch axes, but throw pure heave into the mix and you become aware of every one of its 2400 kilos. The brakes also seem unwilling to modulate with much progressio­n so I can understand how some will find the experience lacking in the subtlety and feedback that differenti­ates a good road car from a great one. It’s worth stressing that this isn’t merely a Taycan thing. Quite the opposite in fact: it’s the most dynamicall­y polished EV I’ve driven.

Unpicking what is deficient and what is merely different to that which has gone before isn’t the work of a moment and leads to the question of whether you judge EVs and ICE vehicles as something very different or merely two means to a common end. Maybe there’s a third way.

In the meantime, I’m trying to placate old mate by confessing that the Taycan’s ferocious pick up might have taken both me and him a little by surprise. His dander defuses, he smiles and warns me of a hump in the road ahead that’d send the Taycan into low earth orbit.

There’s undoubtedl­y an exhilarati­on that comes with driving the Taycan at speed. Aside from the rush of accelerati­on, it’s the giddy and consequent­ial accumulati­on of kinetic energy that gets you. Accelerate a 996 GT3 for five seconds and you’ve then got 575kJ of kinetic energy to dissipate. Do the same with the Taycan Turbo S and there’s 1950kJ to shuck off. Your head becomes starry at the possibilit­ies of what Porsche could do with a proper two-seat EV sports car. The Taycan still raises more questions than answers, the future is charged with potential and, thankfully, old mate and I seem to have come to an accommodat­ion whereby I might not be an arsehole after all. Enjoy the issue.

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