I think this handsome thing is the world’s best electric car. I suppose it should be, because the new Porsche Taycan, in toppermost Turbo S form, costs £138,826 before options – and you’ll need to specify some of those, as we’ll come to.
First, though: this electric car/Turbo combo. There’s something not quite right there, wouldn’t you say? Although Supercharger and Autopilot don’t seem to mean what I thought, either. Look, we all know Turbo is a sub-brand, not a literal thing, says Porsche. It means souped up, which is why there are Turbo versions of vacuum cleaners or already turbocharged 911s.
Figuratively, Turbo means chuffing powerful. The Taycan Turbo S figuratively and literally is that. It has 751bhp, albeit on overboost, for a few seconds, during launches, when it can hit 60mph from rest in 2.6sec. Even the regular Taycan Turbo (merely £115,828) has 670bhp in the same mode. Both, strangely, make 617bhp when you’re not launching.
Cheaper, less powerful, non-Turbo Taycans will follow, but when early adopters with heavy wallets are waiting, why offer those now?
This expensive market entry, then, is Porsche’s first pure EV, but the company has form with electricity via its hybrids, plugged in or otherwise, in road cars and motorsport. The Le Mans-winning 919 has been running an 800V electrical system since 2011 and the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the kind of car we use on a drag race video when we want to give a Tesla Model S’s Ludicrous Mode a hard time.
Understanding the Taycan's electric powertrain
The Taycan will be able to fill that brief without the Panamera’s internally combusted element. It’s a five-door hatchback, marginally smaller than a Panamera, built on a new platform, with a raft of lithium ion batteries beneath the floor. They total 93.4kWh, good enough for a WLTP range of up to 280 miles in the Turbo (which has an exceptional drag coefficient of 0.22) or 256 miles in the Turbo S (Cd 0.25).
There are two motors – one front, one aft – powering all four wheels. The rear motor has a two-speed transmission, although it drives around mostly in second gear, with the low ratio reserved for the sportier of its drive modes at lower speeds. The Turbo S gets active rear steer, carbon-ceramic brakes, a different inverter to allow the overboost and bigger wheels as standard, but generally the differences over the Turbo are limited.