Porsche Taycan Variable Light Control sunroof: how does it work?

Published: 15 April 2022

► Porsche Variable Light Control tested
► No blinds needed for this sunroof
► But does it actually work?

As pleasant as it is to have a large expanse of glass in place of a metal roof panel, there will be times when want to cover it up. Whether that’s because blazing sunshine threatens to melt your preferred travel confectionery, or you just haven’t got round to cleaning that splat of bird mess off, some sort of blind is rather handy.

That’s usually an electrically operated roller arrangement controlled by a switch or two on the roof lining. That’s fine in a regular car, but it’s not very high-tech, is it? Given the move away from the analogue and towards the digital, it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with a sci-fi alternative.

taycan sunroof

Here it is: Porsche’s Variable Light Control, the blind that isn’t a blind. It makes a simple bit of fabric on a roller seem practically prehistoric, while a fixed tint as preferred by Tesla or even McLaren’s electrochromic lining looks a bit past-it.

The Porsche system uses an electrically switchable liquid crystal film on the glass itself. Available on the Taycan and split into nine separate sections, you can set it to be totally transparent, completely opaque or an artsy mixture of the two. Porsche states it’s a €5045 option (around £4200) in Germany, with a price in the UK still to be confirmed at the time of writing.

You won’t find any old-fashioned buttons to control it. There’s a touch-sensitive slider up in the roof lining where you’d expect a switch to be. Run your finger over it and you can change the translucency of the roof in those nine stages. If you want finer control, there’s a menu in the main infotainment touchscreen that mercifully is accessed by an easy-to-find shortcut icon.

taycan vlc overhead

In practice the system works well – so long as you never want to completely block the light out. Even set to its heaviest tint, the panel – now light grey – allows plenty of diffused light into the cabin seemingly without cooking the occupants. As our testing was carried out on a cold but sunny February afternoon, we’ll have to wait to pass full judgement on its thermal properties.

What we can say for sure is that Variable Light Control switches from clear to opaque and back again instantaneously, making for an impressive display if you start switching between the modes rapidly. More usefully, it can shield children in the back from glaring rays while you continue to enjoy them up front.

Porsche Variable Light Control: how it works

A touch of glass
You can control the tint via the touchscreen’s menu for the roof, which would be a faff if it wasn’t
for a handy shortcut button

taycan vlc button

Tap to tint
As well as running your finger over switches on the roof, you can select pre-set configurations on the touchscreen display

taycan vlc menu

Bright and airy
Even fully opaque, you still get plenty of light through to the interior; great for an airy cabin, less so for a snooze

Porsche Variable Light Control: does it work?

Yes and no. Although it stops you from getting blinded or cooked, it never fully blocks out the sun’s light. It’s also rather costly, with early pricing indications suggesting it’ll be thousands more than the regular panoramic roof.

By Alan Taylor-Jones

Bauer Automotive's new cars editor, although just as happy behind the wheel of a classic