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First Drive

Porsche Taycan Turbo GT review: 1,000bhp+ EV gets the Weissach Pack treatment

£186,300 when new
710
Published: 10 Apr 2024
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • Battery
    Capacity

    105kWh

  • BHP

    777.8bhp

  • 0-62

    2.2s

  • CO2

    0g/km

  • Max Speed

    190Mph

Turbo GT with Weissach Pack. That's a pile of Porsche's most hallowed badges right there.

Quite so. But they come on a car with another badge, Taycan. So this is a track-focussed edition of a large heavy electric car. A contradiction. But it has smashed four-door records at the Nurburgring Nordschleife – 7m 7.55s for a lap.

What have they done to it?

Some serious engineering. The two-motor system is taken up to 871bhp. But it can peak at a crazed 1,034bhp, during 10-second bursts, activated by a paddle for 'Attack Mode'. The rear motor is fed by a new more powerful inverter: 900 amps instead of 600. It drives through a strengthened version of Porsche's unique two-speed rear transmission.

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And the usual lightening work and aerodynamics for a Porsche track monster?

Overall 75kg has been carved out of a Taycan Turbo S. Most obviously, the Weissach Pack option means no back seat. It's replaced by a carbon fibre helmet rack. Also the mobile rear spoiler is replaced by a fixed carbon fibre wing. The same material makes up the rear bulkhead and seat shells. The seats are actually from a 918 and clamp you like a foe.

Also listed: lighter wheels and thinner glass. Taycans usually have a second charge port, but not here. Also the door over the remaining socket is no longer motorised. Useful saving or token gesture, you decide.

The aero differences are more significant. There has been underfloor work as well as the flicks and wings that you see. In a quick corner the Turbo GT Weissach Pack will be a staggering 15mph quicker than the Turbo S, taking it to a maximum lateral grip of 2.0g.

Mind you the drag coefficient is 0.31 versus 0.22 for the Turbo S, meaning that aerodynamic efficiency isn't very impressive and there'll be a definite motorway range hit. By the way, you can have the same mechanical setup but keep the rear seat and mobile wing by ordering a Taycan Turbo GT without the Weissach Pack.

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Fast then?

Oh crikey yes, even without Attack Mode activated. At least dividing the power between foot and finger makes the accelerator pedal less twitchy. Porsche is usually modest but says Attack Mode and launch control together will take you from 0-62mph in 2.2 seconds.

Easy for you to read; hard for me to do. It genuinely is uncomfortable. Tense your muscles and nerves, hold the pedal and it just keeps gobbling velocity to 120mph and beyond. EV acceleration usually softens after motorway speed, but not here. You just hear the gearbox whine pitch drop as it upshifts and you're propelled madly onward: 4.4 seconds zero to 100mph, 6.4s to 125mph. Which makes the claim for the 918 Spyder, 7.2s, look sluggish.

Trick chassis I guess?

The suspension is a recalibrated version of the Porsche Active system under this year's top models of Taycan and Panamera, so please click to those reviews for details of that remarkable system.

Because the system can quickly lift a wheel up into the body or push it down, it copes amazingly well with big bumps and dips. On the road that means comfort over usual perturbations. On the track, it means riding kerbs with spectacular fluency.

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Even so it's complex and heavy. Lars Kern, who broke the Ring record, tells TopGear.com he was in favour of a conventional spring/damper system at first, but it would have been very harsh. He hated the first prototype of the active system, but after all the development he's satisfied.

Yeah but they pay him to say that.

My turn now. As I say, the acceleration is ridiculous. Launch control is an easy procedure, and because it's four-wheel drive and stable, all you need to do really is sit back and marvel. Anyway, the crazed longitudinal g gives you no option but to sit back.

Corners are metaphorically similar. You aim the steering and the car sorts things out. The suspension is levelled, the kerbs are absorbed, the torque is vectored. Sorry to use passive language, but the experience, given you're strapped into a 1,000bhp bolide, really is a trifle sanitary. Yet marvellous at the same time.

The absence of pitch, squat and roll is bizarre, but a big advantage in positioning the car. And because it manages the weight transfer so well, you don't even need a particular finesse to drive it. The steering too is progressive and wonderfully weighted. But lifting or mashing the accelerator mid-corner doesn't bring much change of attitude.

The aero is doing its thing. Over that fast crest, the confidence is really something: you expect the car to keep high as the road drops, but instead you just follow the surface. The invisible hand is there to catch you, wearing a wicket-keeper's glove.

The brakes never let you down, but they’re a little odd with it: progressive at first, but when you really jump on them they seem almost too brutal. You've got about 600bhp of regeneration, but once that's used up and the calipers clamp the carbon-ceramic discs, you really are asking for such serious force that the boundary between these states isn't as progressive as I'd want.

Sounds a bit fast-but-boring…

I normally dislike 'challenging' track cars, knowing that my skills aren't up to being challenged. But this is the opposite, a silent anodyne rocketship, and it has me slightly befuddled. Kern simply says: "Try the other tyres."

Pirelli has developed two P Zero types just for this car, an R which I was on so far, and a Trofeo RS. The R has two carcasses to bear the weight, and many tread compounds to work well in wet and dry, and to absorb noise because you do hear the tyres more in any EV, absent of combustion noise. The Trofeo RS is similar in carcass but uses motorsport compounds, designed for a quick warm-up and consistency over its brief but glorious life. To use it on the road would be legal but a bit daft.

But my, on the track it makes the car come alive. There's more grip in the front wheels, and it has less need for it to meet Autobahn high-speed lane-change stability tests. Quite so: you feel it in the first bend, the nose sniffs into the apex, the car yielding up so much more communication and ready to be played a little (or if your name's Kern, a lot) at the back via the accelerator.

There's so much more connection between you and the tyres and the tarmac. Switching off, or at least quelling, the stability control is suddenly worth doing: not just for the chance to be spectacular or to be faster, but to feel the car doing its stuff.

Yeah but really, a four-door two-seat electric track-day car when few tracks have the chargers?

They haven't suddenly made an electric 911 GT2 RS. It won't excite that crowd at all. Maybe it's a profitable entry ticket to the waitlist for the production of the electric Mission X hypercar.

Ah well, it sure is an achievement. And the trickle-down to an electric Cayman will be quite something.

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