Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S is a bit of a misnomer. There’s actually no forced induction in the latest super-sedan salvo from Stuttgart. There isn’t even a combustion engine lurking beneath the hood. The Taycan is Porsche’s first foray into fully electric vehicles and it’s a whopper. The base output is 616 horsepower but a special overboost feature turns the four-seater up to 11, giving it 750 horsepower and 774 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to shoot the 2.5 ton Turbo S from zero to 60 in a (conservatively estimated) 2.6 seconds. That’s faster than a Ferrari 488 Pista, dead even with a McLaren P1, and just a hair slower than a Bugatti Chiron. With blistering acceleration, it’s no wonder the Taycan Turbo S had everyone buzzing when it made its debut at Manhattan Motorcars on February 13.
Yes, Tesla Model S owners will shout from the rooftops that their pride and joy from Elon Musk will do the same tear in 2.3 seconds. But whereas Musk’s machine can complete those pulls a few times in a row before the car starts to slow itself down in a bid to protect the battery pack, Porsche instead focused on crafting an all-around dynamo of performance, one that can win at the drag strip and in any sinewy expanse of tarmac.
We drove the Taycan Turbo S on an extensive road trip from Denmark to Germany and were blown away by how efficient and absurdly explosive the powertrain is. The Taycan, a mite smaller than the Panamera, is underpinned by a skateboard unit that contains a 93 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that feeds energy to two motors, one mounted on each axle. The front motor is single-speed, while the rear houses a two-speed transmission. Multiple gears in an EV is slightly unorthodox, partially because the RPMs from an electric motor are far higher and don’t require one, and partially because it piles on weight, but the aim is first gear helps you hammer from a dead stop to 62, then the car shifts for all driving above that speed.
It’s a highly effective system. We mashed the accelerator on a pin-straight road on the outskirts of Copenhagen and were rewarded with such a violent and satisfying launch that we had to rinse and repeat several times. When a 5,121-pound car has a little wheel spin on take-off, you have to smile. We were also able to test the Taycan’s top speed during some unrestricted speed portions of the autobahn in Germany and can happily report that it will joyously thrust you back into the seat all the way to 162 mph, the vehicles’ cap. (We ended up realizing 167 mph, which endlessly delighted Porsche engineers during a charging stop.)
In terms of range, Porsche had hoped the Taycan would complete 280 miles on a single charge, though when the official EPA rating arrived it wasn’t great: 192 miles, far less than a Tesla Model S. But the 800-volt charging system in the Taycan means that it can accept electrons far faster than its ilk. The battery’s currently limited a transfer speed of 270 kWh, but Porsche is confident technological developments in coming years could see that double or triple.
But to allay those anxious about range, we flogged the hell out of our tester unit, draining the juice down to under 5 percent towards the end. The Taycan preconditioned the battery to be ready for supercharging and, in 23 minutes, we were back up to 80 percent. That’s pretty damn good.
Finally, back to the name. Why slap a “Turbo” nameplate onto the back of an EV that doesn’t contain one? Simply, Porsche’s hoping to port over its traditional naming convention so that Taycan buyers understand and equate the vehicles to competitor products. If it seems silly, perhaps the words of one Porsche engineer from the launch program will help: “If your only complaint with the vehicle is how we named it, we’ve done a good job with engineering it.”
Few options exist for the Taycan Turbo S, though this particular unit, on sale from Manhattan Motorcars for $205,600, has them all, including the Porsche InnoDrive, which includes adaptive cruise control, dynamic chassis control support (which includes a rear-wheel steer feature that helps the car dance and slice through corners far faster), and the premium package, which sees a beautiful panoramic pane of glass replacing the metal roof. It’s a handsome and desirable spec on an already coveted machine.
For more about this model and other luxury vehicles, visit Manhattan Motorcars, the New York city-based award-winning retailer of Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, Koenigsegg, Bugatti, SSC, Rimac and Lotus. Follow Manhattan Motorcars on Facebook and Instagram.
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