New Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo: an EV ready for the mud

Published: 04 March 2021

► Full details of the off-road Taycan
► 4WD, high-rise air suspension, Gravel mode
► Increased practicality – and price

Can you have too much of a good thing? Nah. Porsche has a hit on its hands with the Taycan. More than 20,000 were delivered globally last year, and the all-electric four-door coupe’s become the UK’s second favourite Porsche, behind the Macan. And now the Stuttgart derivative machine is running flat-out churning out new versions and making hay.

Following the recent release of the £71k, rear-drive standard Taycan, we now have the Cross Turismo – a new, vaguely all-terrain estate bodystyle set to go on sale this summer with a range of powertrains broadly comparable with those available in the standard car. The one exception is that, quite logically, we won’t see a two-wheel-drive Cross Turismo, so the entry-level car will be the £79k 4 Cross Turismo.

What’s new, muddy pussycat?

The fundamental package remains the same: high-performance 800-volt electrical architecture, twin-motor all-wheel drive with a two-speed gearbox on the rear axle for monstrous launch acceleration and efficient running at speed. But the Cross Turismo enjoys standard multi-height adaptive air suspension (with another 30mm of lift with the Off-road Design package fitted), standard fitment of the normally optional Performance Plus battery (bringing more performance, more range and more weight) and a dedicated Gravel drive mode for use on loose surfaces (it bumps the suspension to full height while also optimising such systems as the torque vectoring and the stability control to better suit low-grip surfaces).

taycan cross turismo rear

There’s also the bodystyle, of course, which bumps luggage space up to 1200 litres (accessed via a powered tailgate) and increases second-row headroom by a useful 36mm.

Read our prototype review of the Taycan Cross Turismo

I like the look

Same. Timing is everything, and the Taycan Cross Turismo’s is strong. Jacked-up Porsches are very much a thing at the moment. The 911 has long been happy to be modified and thrown at unpaved scenery sideways, the Dakar 959 elevated the concept to an art form in the ’80s, and high-rise Porsche sports cars are as on-trend right now (see Singer’s ACS Concept and the endless spy shots of 992-gen 911s on long-travel suspension) as not going out, ever.

taycan cross turismo side offroad

All of which helps explain why the Cross Turismo exists, and why it manages to look so damn good – better, arguably, than the standard car, with no little RS6-style sleek-estate sauce in the mix. There are off-road-inspired design touches, including wheelarch trims, unique front and rear lower aprons and side sills, but the Allroad-style bolt-ons are laudably subtle, stopping short of turning the classy Taycan into some sort of gauche Dakar wannabe.

Inside, the Cross Turismo is business as usual, with the Taycan’s classy, uncluttered cabin, a great driving position (made more day-to-day friendly should you choose to run around with the ride height lifted) and primarily touchscreen-based infotainment that does at least offer simple menus and crisp haptic touch feedback. Neat details include the steering wheel button to switch between the two levels of regenerative braking (both of them relatively low and intuitive), encouraging you to do so on the fly, and the easy-reach touch functions on the driver’s display for stuff like drive mode, stability control setting and damper set-up.

It’s not really an off-roader, is it?

Not really, though the standard car’s superb in low-grip conditions (thank all-wheel drive and the easily modulated torque of e-motors) and the Cross Turismo builds on that solid foundation. The increased ride height and Gravel mode promise to make the odd muddy car park or rough green lane a pleasure rather than a pain.

If the prototype we drove is anything to go by, it’ll work well on the road, too, with any loss of outright performance through the elevated centre of gravity more than offset by the better visibility and lumpy-road ground clearance. We drove a Turbo S Cross Turismo and it remains a sensationally capable and outlandishly quick car, one so adept on UK back roads it’s hard to think of much that could stick with it, let alone better it.

taycan cross turismo rear bike rack

But don’t expect to go boulder-crawling in it. In the words of Porsche’s Stefan Weckbach, vice president for the Taycan model line: ‘The biggest challenge was combining the requirements of sportiness with off-road capabilities. The Cross Turismo has to be capable of high performance on the racetrack but must also be able to handle mud, scree and gravel. While this is not a hardcore off-road vehicle, it specialises in unpaved and dirt roads. It’s like a type of Swiss army knife on up to 21-inch wheels.’

Okay, hit me – how much?

You’ll pay a modest premium for the Cross Turismo, relative to the same powertrain in a standard Taycan.

The range kicks off with the £79,340 4 (469bhp, 0-62mph in 5.1sec, 242-283-mile range), rising through the £87,820 4S (563bhp, 0-62mph in 4.1sec, 241-281-mile range) to the £116,950 Turbo (671bhp, 0-62mph in 3.3sec, 245-281-mile range) and mighty £139,910 Turbo S (750bhp, 0-62mph in 2.9sec, 241-260-mile range).

Read our Porsche reviews

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three

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