Austria, a charming and small country in Europe with captivating valleys and breathtaking mountains. Admittedly, I'm not here to breathe in the cold, crisp air and absorb the sights, although many might disagree. I'm here to drive Porsche's latest electric vehicle — the Porsche Taycan Turbo S — from Innsbruck to Mondsee in Austria, and then to Munich in Germany.
When this trip is completed, I would have driven 693km over two days. Day One will have us drive 370km and 323km on Day Two. On print, the Taycan Turbo will do 381km to 450km, and the Taycan Turbo S can go 388km to 412km on a full battery. The question is: Can the Porsche Taycan Turbo complete the road trip?
Porsche prepped my Taycan Turbo S with only 80 per cent of battery and told me that I needed to make a stop at an Ionity fast-charge station. True to their word, that is precisely the amount of charge shown when I started the car. A quick check on the computer's range showed that we're good for about 300km. If all goes well, we could reach the charging station and fill ‘er up, yet I remain a sceptic.
Slowly, and quietly, I leave the hotel's compound and onto one of Innsbruck's many winding and seemingly narrow roads. The Taycan is a wide car, 2.14m with the wing mirrors extended, and the low seating position alters my width perception. I always feel as if I am either pac-manning on the left or extremely close to clipping the curb on the right. Either way, the views from the wing mirrors confirm as much.
Even with its 'broad' issues, the Taycan Turbo S is deceptively agile and easy to control. The bunny in the hat comes from the rear axle steering that 'shortens' the wheelbase at lower speeds, giving it a smaller turning radius, useful in corners that gets increasingly tight at the exit. On winding roads such as these, I am grateful that the steering does not censor any communication between the tyres and my palms; rumblings at the helm tells me the right front tyre is helping itself to some roadside weeds.
Rehabilitation is swift. The car's all-wheel-drive characteristics put the Taycan back on the rails as if nothing has gone amiss. Couple that with the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, you'll be entering corners fast and exiting them even quicker. Body roll, if you sensed it, is light. The Porsche Active Suspension Management keeps the car flat even when the road isn't.
No doubt, the motors of the front and rear axle is putting in double shift. Each of the 21-inch wheels receives the right amount of power, so none of the tyres wastes precious energy on needless slips and spins. This is part of what makes Taycan's acceleration out-worldly.
Nothing had prepared me for this, even though this isn't my first rodeo with a super-motivated car. I have had my fair share of driving supercars with many horsepowers and even more torque. And having driven a few electric vehicles, I am well aware of an EV's instant injection of torque into the driving wheels. Yet, the Porsche Taycan S is something entirely different.
The first time I pulled the trigger, the recoil sent my head slamming into the headrest, stamping Porsche's crest at the back of my skull. Mind you, I did not catapult the Taycan from standstill nor with Launch Control Activated, which would have injected 1,050Nm into the wheels. There were no roads quiet or straight enough for me to launch the Taycan in such manner.
After repeated bouts of pushes pedal to the metal — the side effects of G-forces is addictive — the performance remains the same. No matter what speed you're driving in, the Taycan's acceleration is as beastly when you 'launch' at 50kph or at 150kph.
It all comes down to the Taycan's drivetrain. The front is powered by a permanently excited synchronous motor paired with a single-speed transmission. In the rear, the same motor is partnered with a two-speed transmission, which I call fast and OMFG! Total output power from the motors is up to 460kW (or 617hp). In Launch Control, that output increases to 560kW (or 751hp).
With all systems go, the Taycan streaks to 100kph from zero in 2.8s, 0-160kph in 6.3s and 0-200kph in 9.8 seconds. In case you need to be in a drag race, the Taycan grabs the 0-400m (1/4-mile) sprint in 10.8 seconds. Porsche claims that after 2.5 seconds, you and the Taycan Turbo S will be 28 metres ahead of the starting line. Top speed: 260kph.
Yes, the Porsche Taycan is mystifyingly fast, but what about its range? Halfway in the journey, I turn into a designated highway station with fast-charger on standby. After all that driving, I am left with less than 20% charge, which is quite impressive. Porsche claims that it would take about 30 minutes to bring fully charge the Taycan, thanks to its 800-volt technology. They are right, of course. When you think about it, 30 minutes is just enough time to have a break, stretch out those muscles and have a coffee. Or two.
Electricity will power all cars in the future, whether you like it or not. The Taycan is Porsche's step in that direction. There is no engine in the front, middle or rear of the car, yet it bears all the hallmarks that make it a Porsche. Electric vehicles don't need to feel like an appliance — the Porsche Taycan Turbo S proves that an electrified automotive future is possible.
Specification: Porsche Taycan Turbo S
Battery Performance Battery Plus with 93.4kWh | Motor Permanently excited synchronous motor on front & rear axle | Transmission 1-speed (front), 2-speed (rear), all-wheel drive | Power & Torque Up to 460kW (617hp) / With Launch Control up to 560kW (751hp) & 1,050Nm max torque | Performance 0-100kph in 2.8s, max speed 260kph, 25.7-24.5kWh/100km (WLTP) | Range 388-412km | Estimated Time of Arrival August 2020