► Pre-production version of the off-road Taycan
► Allroad-style version adds ride height and a bigger boot
► Tested in here in flagship Turbo S spec
The steady stream of new Taycan derivatives shows no sign of slowing, and who can blame Porsche? That eye-watering R&D spend needs amortising and, what’s more, the car’s selling (not always a given with fanfare EVs…) – in the UK, the Taycan’s become Porsche’s second best-selling car, pushing the Cayenne SUV back to third.
Launched initially as a Mission E-inspired four-door coupe, in Turbo or Turbo S guise, the Taycan has now flourished into a range, with more affordable rear- and all-wheel-drive Taycans beneath the headline models and now the quasi-Allroad Cross Turismo, full details of which will be announced in early March.
A pretty faithful production version of 2018’s Mission E Cross Turismo concept, the Cross Turismo bodystyle will be available with a range of powertrain options that’ll mirror the standard car’s with the exception of the entry-level machine. Quite logically, won’t see a rear-wheel-drive Cross Turismo.
Finer spec details are yet to be confirmed (this a pre-production prototype) but expect a premium (Sport Turismos tend to be around £2k more than normal Panameras, and the same kind of mark-up is likely to apply here) and a modest weight penalty courtesy of the shooting brake body’s additional metalwork. On the plus side you get more rear-seat headroom (+36mm) and bootspace (now 1200 litres).
Are those power and torque figures mistakes?
750bhp and 774lb ft on overboost? They are not, and while the novelty of very, very fast battery-electric cars may have worn off long ago, it’s worth just taking a moment to salute the faintly ludicrous turn of speed the Taycan enjoys in Turbo S guise.
The Turbo S Cross Turismo (which gets the bigger 93.4kWh Performance battery) is likely to give very little away in terms of straight-line speed to the standard Turbo S, and the cause-and-effect of flooring the throttle remains startling. Response, given there are no engine internals or turbo turbines to wait for, is predictably instantaneous. If the twin e-motors (the rear unit driving via a two-speed ’box, remember, with a shorter initial ratio optimised for launch acceleration) are at all bothered by the car’s near 2.5-tonne weight, they internalise that particular gripe very well.
The kick in your guts is almost unpleasant, and the estimated numbers startling. Zero to 62mph in 3.0sec – same as the M5 CS and McLaren Artura – and 0-100mph in 6.5sec. In a family car with a proper boot…
Fortunately the calibration of the braking system – its two levels of regen (selectable via a button on the steering wheel) and the seamless manner in which it hands over from negative e-motor torque to actual pad-on-ceramic-disc braking – is flawless. The system is entirely unaffected by the weather (even standing water), wildly powerful, endlessly sensitive and operated by a pedal so sweetly calibrated that almost imperceptible fluctuations in pressure are the order of the day, not big dumb movements of a rubbery pedal. This car without them doesn’t bear thinking about.
What difference does the Cross Turismo bit make?
As well as the fundamentally more practical (and prettier?) bodystyle, the Cross Turismo version brings a dedicated Gravel drive mode for loose surfaces and air suspension with a range of available ride heights as standard. It sits 20mm higher than the Taycan – 30mm if the Off-road Design Package is fitted, as it is here – and, though the car sets its height according to various parameters including drive mode, you can also override it, choosing from High, Medium, Lowered and Low.
The difference is bigger than you’d credit, given the numbers, though millimetres clearly matter in chassis engineering (BMW’s new CS version of the M5 sits just 7mm lower than the standard car). Behind the wheel it helps this Taycan feel more Macan than 911 in terms of visibility and hip-point height, and while purists will scoff, for most this will feel like the more comfortable, usable and confidence-inspiring car.
Helping silence that purist scoffing is the fact that, far from being a floaty oddball, the Cross Turismo actually feels like the optimum solution a lot of the time. Firing it across many of the same roads last encountered in a ‘normal’ 4S Taycan, any loss of performance through the elevated centre of gravity is almost impossible to discern.
But the increased ride height copes better with the appalling state of most of the UK’s road network, the standard Taycan asking that you adapt your speed and line to prevent its chin regularly striking lumpen tarmac. The Cross Turismo asks to be cut no such slack, bounding along even rough roughs at the kind of unchecked speed fast SUVs specialise in but, crucially, without their sense of lofty detachment.
Body control, grip, steering precision and the delicate calibration of the stability-control system all conspire to make this one of the fastest and, perversely, easiest cars you could ever have the pleasure of driving. So flattering as to feel like cheating, certainly compared to having to flog a manual gearbox or give traction a second thought, the Turbo S Cross Turismo’s ballistic competence would be intimidating were it not so startlingly accessible.
And when you’re not charging around?
The Taycan’s is a comfortable, uncluttered and classy cabin, and the Cross Turismo changes little bar that increase in rear-seat headroom and a neat little compass atop the dash rather than the standard car’s clock. The HMI is primarily touch-based but the screens are simple and there’s haptic feedback, so inputs rarely descend into a frustrating prod-fest.
The curved glass driver’s display is also a point of interface, offering touch controls for functions such as suspension set-up and stability control setting, while the steering wheel carries the usual Porsche drive mode selector. Handily you can also mix and match these, choosing – for example – the Sport Plus drive mode with more pliant damper settings.
Keeping an eye on remaining range is easy enough too, and likely to be a preoccupation on very long journeys (the official combined range figure will likely be some 250 miles). Perhaps unsurprisingly (Porsche’s combustion-engined cars aren’t famous for their efficiency either) the Taycan is not the most efficient EV out there, likely a product of its performance bias and elements of its detail engineering. Over 50 miles we lost 29% of the battery’s charge, and showed a miles-per-kWh average of around 1.3. While both these numbers are disappointing, pointing to a range of more like 170 miles (our long-term Jaguar i-Pace typically managed more than 2 miles per kWh), they’re also pretty unrepresentative, with plenty of heavy throttle usage and very little sustained cruising. Take 170 miles as a worst-case scenario, with 200 miles or more without too much restraint/effort.
If you’re buying a Taycan because it’s effectively a four-door electric 911, the Cross Turismo shouldn’t distract you. You’ll pay more for one and, if it’s a sports car-esque driving experience you’re after – bum on the floor – the Cross Turismo’s additional ride height, weight and practicality make no sense.
But for most this is now surely the Taycan bodystyle to go for, given its combination of increased versatility with few obvious compromises. In Turbo S guise it’s both phenomenal and phenomenally expensive – the 4S Cross Turismo, with its sweeter combination of price and performance, is likely to be the one to go for. We’ll know for sure when we drive the finished production cars.