German sports-car firm Porsche is to launch the Taycan, its first all-electric motor. And it’s sensational.
“Porsche and electricity seem as natural a fit as fire and ice,” says Andrew Frankel in Autocar. But “if Porsche really can pull it off and produce the world’s first electric production driver’s car, the ramifications could be enormous”. The electric car market, and Tesla in particular, had better watch out. Until the official big reveal on 4 September, much of the detail surrounding the new Porsche Taycan (pronounced “Tie-can”) was still under wraps. The German carmaker did, however, lend it out for a few teasing laps of its Weissach test track.
Rumour had it that the two models of Taycan that Porsche had owned up to would be called the Turbo and Turbo S, says Frankel. It seems “absurd to use combustion engine terminology” (“turbo”) on an electric car, and for one that is “so clearly a fresh start for Porsche”, says Jack Rix in Top Gear magazine. Somebody had clearly decided that Turbo S was “the only way to tell its most loyal (read: wealthiest) customers to forget the rest, this is the one you want”. But “my word it’s quick – a proper fairground slug of G-Force, not a chirp from the wheels, no gearchanges to give your organs a breather… My testicles are still finding their way back down and the blood has only just returned to the front half of my body.”
Indeed, so quick is the Taycan that it set a lap record for an electric four-door car – and “not just any lap record”, says Sean Szymkowski on CNET’s Road Show. It set a lap time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds around the legendary 12.8-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife. That makes it a “smidge slower” than a C6-generation Corvette ZR1 and ties it with the 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3. “Those aren’t exactly slow cars.” After the feat, Lars Kern, the Porsche test driver, said he was “impressed at how stable the all-electric sports car handles in high-speed sections” on “the world’s most challenging circuit”. Not for nothing is the track nicknamed the “Green Hell”.
“If the Taycan is the future, then it’s a sensational reason to aim for old age,” says Andreas May in Auto Express. “We can’t recall such a stomach-churning effect from a production car and, acceleration aside, it’s huge fun to drive. Even at this prototype stage, it’s clear that Porsche is going to give Tesla a massive headache.”
Engine: twin electric motors Power: 600bhp-plus (estimated) Transmission: single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 0-62mph: less than 3.5 seconds (estimated) Top speed: 155mph (estimated) Range: 280 miles (estimated) Price: around £60,000