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The Top Gear car review:Porsche Taycan
For:Shocking acceleration, sweet handling considering its weight. Feel the quality
Against:Pioneering tech doesn’t come cheap. More space in the back wouldn’t go amiss
What is it?
This is Porsche’s first all-electric car, previewed by the Mission E concept way back in 2015. A car we’re expecting to re-write the rule book on what an EV is capable of. A torch-bearer for the future of the performance car. No pressure.
Let’s get a couple of things out the way first. Despite Porsche’s titanic engineering efforts in moving electric car tech forwards - and as I shall attempt to explain, it has - the Taycan is still an electric car. In 2019 that means it still comes with limitations – namely range (280 miles for the Turbo if you drive like a learner), charging time (5 to 80 per cent in 22.5 minutes if you can find one of the 140-odd DC chargers in Europe capable of delivering 270KW) and weight (2.3 tonnes). Stefan Weckbach, the man tasked with delivering the Taycan, predicts that in five to seven years solid-state batteries will come on stream and allow you to have a Taycan with the same power output and range as this one, but 400kg lighter. For now, the Taycan is at the very pointy end of what’s possible.
It’s also not as fast 0-62mph, doesn’t go as far on a charge and costs more than a Tesla Model S P100D. Thank you Teslerati for pointing that out once every 14 seconds since the Taycan was revealed, but numbers aren’t everything. Weckbach insists that while he’s driven every EV on the market, the only benchmark that mattered was making it drive as much like a 911 as possible. Aim for the moon and all that. So, starting from a very blank piece of paper in mid-2014, this is what Porsche has come up with.
Based on a new ‘J1’ platform, it slings a 93.4kWh lithium-ion battery between the two axles, each with a motor attached, four-wheel steering, suspension loosely related to the Panamera and a rear-mounted two-speed gearbox allowing the Taycan to reach its accelerative potential from take-off, but boost efficiency once you’re up and running.
Atop this skateboard chassis is draped a four-door, four-seat body – narrow of canopy, wide of hip – designed to fill the white space beneath the larger Panamera and Panamera Sport Turismo. It’s a handsome shape – more stretched 911 than shrunken Panamera. You can dress up to the point of invisibility with dark blue paint and silver wheels, or shout quite loudly with five-spokers framed by a body-coloured rim (inspired by Mission E concept), or 21-inch ‘fan’ wheels in carbon or body colour… or gold. But don’t take my word for it, proceed to the configurator forthwith and kiss goodbye to productivity for the day.
Just one more thing… Porsche’s decision to use the Turbo badge on an EV. Since it first arrived on the 911 in 1974, Turbo has become a sub-brand, denoting the fastest models in every model-line. Porsche didn’t want its EV to get any special treatment. That’s also why it’s called Taycan – a typical Porsche name – rather than Mission E.