Porsche’s elec­tric tay­can has sporty feel and ride

Edmonton Sun - - DRIVING.CA - Andrew Mccredie

Hav­ing just driven 400 kilo­me­tres in a 750-horsepower sports car, I felt sur­pris­ingly re­freshed. No ring­ing ears. No sore kid­neys. No rat­tled teeth. Wel­come to the new era of the su­per­car road trip. To cel­e­brate/show off its first all-elec­tric ve­hi­cle, the 2020 Tay­can, Porsche in­vited the world’s mo­tor­ing press to Scan­di­navia last week to be­gin an 18-day, 6,440km odyssey that would cover nine coun­tries be­tween Oslo, Nor­way, and Stuttgart, Ger­many. I had the priv­i­lege of be­ing among the first group of jour­nal­ists on the first leg be­tween Oslo and Gothen­burg, which in­cluded a lunch stop at an Ionity charg­ing sta­tion in Strom­stad, Sweden, 20 kilo­me­tres south of the bor­der be­tween the two coun­tries. The first two mod­els in the all-wheel drive Tay­can fleet are the Turbo and Turbo S, with less pow­er­ful vari­ants ex­pected some­time next year and a Cross Turismo by the end of next year. My tester was the Turbo S. The drive route was a good mix of ur­ban roads, twisty coun­try lanes and ma­jor high­ways, each of which demon­strated dif­fer­ent at­tributes of the Tay­can (pro­nounced “Tie-con”).

SET­TLING IN

Sit­ting in the driver’s seat and be­fore press­ing the power but­ton lo­cated on the dash to the left of the steer­ing col­umn (as with the key ig­ni­tion on Porsches since the be­gin­ning), it was im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent that as much de­sign work and en­gi­neer­ing had gone into the cabin er­gonomics and es­thet­ics as had gone into the much­hyped elec­tric pow­er­train sys­tem. The well-bol­stered seat­ing po­si­tion and the way the meaty sport steer­ing wheel met my ea­ger hands felt al­most iden­ti­cal to a con­tem­po­rary 911 cock­pit. This, along with the equally 911-ish sil­hou­ette of the Tay­can, soft­ened my in­ter­nal crit­i­cism of Tay­can press ma­te­rial I’d read be­fore the drive that kept re­fer­ring to the sedan as a “sports car.” Strapped into the driver’s seat, you’d be hard-pressed to think you’re in a four-door. And un­like a 911’s rear seats that don’t ac­com­mo­date any­one over five­feet tall (and even then if they are a con­tor­tion­ist), the Tay­can’s rear seats fit a six-footer in com­fort and sporty style. Like­wise, the sedan’s trunk is a very good size (366 litres), and there’s even room for a cou­ple of back­packs un­der the hood up front (81 litres). All Tay­can com­par­isons to Porsche sports cars’ cock­pits be­gin and end with the seat­ing po­si­tion, how­ever, as the en­tire dash/ gauge/switchgear lay­out of the sedan is new, and ac­cord­ing to Porsche, in­tended to bring its prod­ucts “into the dig­i­tal age.” With no ana­log gauges (save a dash­board-mounted clock), a cen­tral 10.9-inch in­fo­tain­ment dis­play, an op­tional pas­sen­ger 10.9-inch in­fo­tain­ment dis­play and a float­ing centre con­sole screen con­trol­ling things like cli­mate func­tions, the Tay­can’s dash feels very dig­i­tal age in­deed. Yet not over­whelm­ing, which is of­ten the case with multi-screened dis­plays. Like­wise, steer­ing-wheel con­trols are kept to a min­i­mum, lim­ited to just au­dio/ phone con­trols, a drive mode dial and a re­gen­er­a­tion but­ton.

READY FOR LAUNCH

With a push of that afore­men­tioned start but­ton, the Tay­can Turbo S comes to life (not with a roar but a whis­per). Putting the car in gear is achieved by flip­ping a unique tog­gle switch lo­cated on the dash to the right of the steer­ing col­umn; down for drive, up for re­verse. The ini­tial driv­ing im­pres­sions in Oslo weren’t that much dif­fer­ent from your gar­den-va­ri­ety EV nav­i­gat­ing city streets in morn­ing rush hour. The ac­cel­er­a­tion was crisp, the cabin quiet and the ride silky smooth. How­ever, when city streets gave way to coun­try roads and with it op­por­tu­ni­ties to push the sport sedan into and through tight cor­ners and up and over rolling tar­mac, the Tay­can re­vealed its un­mis­tak­ably Porsche per­son­al­ity. Again, I was re­minded of the “sports car” de­scrip­tion, and again I un­der­stood and agreed with re­fer­ring to the Tay­can Turbo S as that. Af­ter an hour or so of run­ning hills and dales through pris­tine Nor­way coun­try­side and along water­ways, we met up with a high­way that would take us to the Nor­way-sweden bor­der, then onto the lunch stop. My co-driver was now at the wheel as we silently spir­ited along the mo­tor­way at 137 km/h, wind noise at a min­i­mum and the ex­pe­ri­ence not un­like that of sit­ting on a very com­fort­able high-speed train.

CHARGE TIME

With a Euro-spec full-charge range of over 400 kilo­me­tres, we could have eas­ily made the Oslo-to-gothen­burg drive with­out stop­ping had we kept to ma­jor road­ways, but where’s the fun in that? At our lunch stop we plugged into an Ionity charg­ing sta­tion in Strom­stad. With 47 per cent left on our bat­tery, it took just 18 min­utes us­ing the DC charger to fill us up to 80 per cent. Charg­ing rates of up to 258kw were be­ing recorded. In other words, quicker than the time it took us to have a quick lunch and re­stroom break. Just as the morn­ing drive por­tion demon­strated the ex­cep­tional per­for­mance and han­dling of Porsche’s first all-elec­tric ve­hi­cle, the lunch stop un­der­scored the re­al­world po­ten­tial of a high-speed charg­ing net­work. Those at­tributes were not lost on my col­leagues, with most of the lunch talk re­volv­ing around the un­abashed “Porsche-ness” of the Tay­cans.

FI­NAL LEG/THOUGHTS

Pulling out of the charg­ing sta­tion and back onto the high­way, we set­tled into the 90-minute blast to Gothen­burg, a jour­ney un­like the morn­ing’s but just as re­veal­ing in terms of demon­strat­ing the Tay­can’s strengths. In this case, that it’s as much a grand tourer as it is a sports car. Of course, the Tay­can Turbo S has a sticker price of $213,900 (be­fore tax), so one would, and should, ex­pect an ex­cep­tional ve­hi­cle and one wor­thy of the Porsche badge. Is it a bet­ter, more de­sir­able lux­ury sport EV than the top-ofthe-line Tesla Model S? It is. No ques­tion. Af­ter all, it’s a Porsche.

Pho­tos: Andrew Mccredie

The Tay­can Turbo S might be a sedan by def­i­ni­tion, but by all other ac­counts is an un­abashed and un­apolo­getic sports car.

In ad­di­tion to shar­ing a seat­ing po­si­tion very sim­i­lar to the 911, the Tay­can’s driver-ori­ented cock­pit em­bod­ies the finest tra­di­tions of Porsche.

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