Porsche Taycan 2020 turbo, Porsche Taycan 2020 turbo s

2020 Porsche Taycan review: Ride-along

International first 'drive'

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Porsche may not be first to the party, but it has well and truly hit the ground running with a mentally fast electric vehicle. Paul Maric straps in for a ride.
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It's the hottest day ever recorded in Germany, and we step outside of the air-conditioned hangar we're in to walk over to a set of partially camouflaged Porsche Taycans.

Our task is to strap into the passenger seat and go for a joyride with some of the engineers and test drivers responsible for making this electric car drive and handle like a proper Porsche.

We hop in a car with a bloke by the name of Andreas Patzelt. He's one of Porsche's test drivers (and a GT4 racer), who explains that he has just finished working on the 992 Turbo, and that the Taycan only needs a minor perception shift from driving a 911 with an internal combustion engine.

The first thing we notice as we set off is the artificial noise plumbed into the cabin and also emitted outside the car. It's a bit hard to describe, but it's kind of a throaty 911 note that's devoid of artificial 'electric' noises. It doesn't sound goofy like the Jaguar I-Pace does under throttle.

All of the noises can also be switched off entirely. Sitting in the second row, I'm seated near enough to the two-speed transmission employed on the rear axle.

It's largely silent in its operation, but under light throttle loads you can hear it clicking up to its higher second gear at around 30km/h. It's a little noisier than we thought it would be, but we were reminded that these vehicles are still very much prototypes.

I've been in fast electric cars – everybody remembers the first time they pin the throttle in a Tesla with Ludicrous Mode. But, the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S are in another league entirely.

Andreas activates launch control, sidesteps the brake, and we are pinned back into our seats as it almost relentlessly propels us toward the horizon.

Just before we get a chance to take a breath, we are sideways on a wet corner facing almost perpendicular to an uphill climb.

It's at this point I assume that he's overcooked it and is about to pull the pin, but just as quickly as the extreme corner entry starts, the car straightens up and we are heading at warp speed towards the top of this hill.

To call this car mental would be the understatement of the year. Andreas said that while a 911 feels weighty at the rear and requires a certain type of driving – even in Carrera 4S trim – the Taycan's relatively neutral and low weight distribution makes it possible to drive like a hooligan with few repercussions.

If you think the 1050Nm of torque on tap is impressive, just wait until you feel it decelerate. We tried two methods of deceleration – the first was using the electric motors' inbuilt regeneration mode.

It can decelerate at a rate of 3.8m/s/s, or at up to 265kW of regeneration. That's more than most internal combustion vehicles produce moving forwards.

It's strong enough to make you think somebody is having a decent crack at the brake pedal. It's damn impressive.

But, if you really need to stop, that's where the mechanical brakes come into action. You'll need a moment to process this and get a genuine feel for the size of these stoppers.

The rotors are carbon ceramic in construction (420mm) with 10-piston calipers at the front, while the rear uses 410mm rotors with four-piston calipers.

The brakes barely fit within the wheels, and when you stand on them, the burly Taycan virtually stops on a dime.

Instead of relying just on regeneration alone, these brakes allow the Taycan to stop just as quickly as it accelerates, and are the thing that sets it apart from any other performance electric vehicle on the market.

Once the insanity of flicks left, flicks right and brutal acceleration is done, you can switch the car back into its Comfort mode. It rides just like any other Porsche (that is very, very nicely), and it's about as quiet as electric cars come.

Leg and head room in the second row are surprisingly good, and the use of a 'foot locker' for second-row occupants means your knees aren't sitting at your chin, which is the effect you find in most other electric vehicles.

Despite only being a brief stint as a passenger, we were blown away with the level of performance on offer.

In a recent promotional video, a driver managed 26 consecutive 0–200km/h runs in the Taycan at an airfield with just 0.8 seconds separating the fastest and slowest acceleration time. That's a staggering effort for any car, let alone one powered entirely by electricity.

The regular power degradation you'd expect from a performance electric vehicle simply isn't present in the Taycan.

We can't wait to get behind the wheel of the Taycan, and will be attending the international launch in October to sample it for ourselves. Stay tuned for our thoughts.

In the meantime, you can see more detail on the Taycan here.

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