Typical of Porsche, the 0–100km/h claim for the 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S is 2.8 seconds. Seems conservative at first consideration. I line up at the start of the straight and run through a familiar launch-control sequence. Funnily enough, it’s the same as you would do if you were behind the wheel of a 911 or any other Porsche for that matter. The only difference is the silence.
There’s no aggressive straining against the brake, vibration through the cabin, urgency in the PDK or roar of a turbocharged flat-six just waiting to be freed from its shackles. Just silence. And, unlike the internal combustion engine, which has a limited time you can sit there before you launch, I could sit there in the Taycan all day.
Luke Youlden, Porsche’s chief instructor, looks at me through the window and says, “If it’s slow, don’t bother coming back, mate”. Okay then. No pressure.
One of the instructors makes a quick check that the timing equipment is set up correctly and ready to go. Then I step off the brake…
The world goes blurry for the first few milliseconds – that seem like minutes from behind the wheel – and there’s an almost nauseating feeling of being hurtled over the highest point of a rollercoaster. It’s a savage display of forcibly moving a heavy object. And still, the only noise is a slight whirring sound and that of tortured rubber trying to bite into the track.
There’s no time to gauge, watch or worry about the timing gear. Rather, it’s eyes up taking stock of where my braking point is. I have no idea therefore what speed I hit, or my 0–100km/h time. That’s the least of my concerns given how quickly everything has just happened. Once I bring the rampant speed under control to a more measured pace, I glance at the GPS timer.
Um, 2.58 seconds… Typical of Porsche. Under promise and over deliver.
I run three more launches and nail 2.58 seconds twice followed by a 2.59. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. The tyres are at road pressure, and we’re back-to-backing the Taycan run after run, with no break in between. Typical of Porsche.
None of it is due to driver ability either, you don’t really have to do anything. The Taycan does it all for you. Just step off the brake and hold on. The Turbo claims 3.2 seconds for the run to 100km/h, and the 3.0 that I run twice seems almost slow compared to its nastier sibling. Truth be told, though, even the not quite as spicy Taycan is incredibly fast.
What a sensational entrée to the electric Porsche experience. And it just gets better when the hot laps start.
Those of you who were concerned that an electric future might be boring – and I was one of you – need not worry. The Taycan Turbo S is as blisteringly impressive on a racetrack as it is in a straight line. I’d driven the Taycan overseas – pre-COVID – but not on-track, and not in Turbo S trim. The nomenclature might not make any sense, as in where exactly is the turbo, but everything else about the Taycan is crystal clear.
First, though, brass tacks. Pricing for the Turbo starts from $269,100 before on-road costs, while the Turbo S starts from $339,100 before on-road costs. The price is an interesting point for me. Electric vehicles don’t come cheap, but fans have been paying big money for a Porsche badge for quite some time in Australia, so the ask is a completely different proposition, I think. What about you? Let us know in the comments section below.
We’ve been over all the stats, charge times and capabilities before, but this drive is all about track ability.
First, though, a quick look at the claimed power outputs. The Turbo delivers 460kW (500kW on overboost) and 850Nm, while the Turbo S bumps the torque figure up to 1050Nm. Turbo S claims a 405km range and the Turbo, 420km. Again, though, range isn’t our concern today.
|Taycan 4S (PP)||Taycan Turbo||Taycan Turbo S|
|Motor count||Dual AC synchronous electric motors||Dual AC synchronous electric motors||Dual AC synchronous electric motors|
|Power and torque||320kW, 390kW w/overboost/640Nm (360kW, 420kW w/overboost/650Nm)||460kW/500kW w/overboost/850Nm||460kW, 560kW w/overboost/1050Nm|
|Transmission||Single-speed front, two-speed rear – automatic||Single-speed front, two-speed rear – automatic||Single-speed front, two-speed rear – automatic|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
|Kerb mass||2140kg (2220kg)||2305kg||2295kg|
|Energy consumption, claimed||26.2kWh/100km (27.0kWh/100km)||28.0kWh/100km||28.5kWh/100km|
|Energy consumption on test||Untested (24.7kWh/100km)||21.1kWh/100km||26.3kWh/100km|
|Boot volume||84L front, 366L rear||84L front, 366L rear||84L front, 366L rear|
|Warranty||Three years/unlimited kilometres||Three years/unlimited kilometres||Three years/unlimited kilometres|
|Price (plus on-road costs)||From $191,000||From $269,100||From $339,100|
|Battery size||79.2kWh (93.4kWh)||93.4kWh||93.4kWh|
|Driving range||365km (414km)||420km||405km|
As we peel out for our track run, we’re following Luke, who is driving a 911 Turbo S, with actual turbos. Our chances of catching him are Buckley’s and none given his talent behind the wheel, but watching his lines means we’ll only have to concentrate on driving as fast as we possibly can.
The fact that we’re familiar with the way in which the Turbo S accelerates by this point of the day means we aren’t blinded by the violent unleashing of power from low speed. What you might not expect, though, is the way in which it builds relentlessly, to the point that it’s actually disconcerting leading into the braking zone at the end of the straight. There is simply no let-up, and the strange whistling sound only changes tune when the two-speed gearbox changes up. The experience is like no car you’ve ever driven.
With a sighting lap and a rapid blast down the straight out of the way, it’s time to knuckle down into some hot laps and get a feel for the way the Taycan can thread corners together. In short, its abilities are well beyond the expectation of any electric car, if not a Porsche.
It’s why I made the comment above that our electric future is anything but boring. To truly understand how capable the Taycan Turbo S is on-track, you’ll need to forget that it’s a useful four-door sedan. Leave those conceptions in the pits. That’s just a bonus.
The steering is near perfect. It’s not as digitally connected (metaphorically speaking) as a 911, but you feel completely tuned in to what the front tyres are doing. At all times, too, and at any speed. In fact, the precision of the front end of what should feel like a heavy car is difficult to compute.
Likewise, the handling balance. There’s barely any roll or pitch under heavy braking, and it’s worth remembering how comfortable a Taycan is on a choppy surface at this point too. It really is Jekyll-and-Hyde in that sense. When you turn into a corner, after a hard braking zone, it just heads exactly where you’ve sent it, and then thunders out of the corner. Well, if thunder were silent it would.
You can sense that there is weight beneath you, of course, but not what it really weighs either. And, given the epic shove that comes with a stab of the right foot, you can drive around the weight to a degree. Despite that, the fact the weight doesn’t overly affect the speed you can carry makes for a brutally fast track car. Luke tells us later that he was properly hustling the 911 Turbo S – out of corners especially – to stay in front of the Taycan’s stupendous torque that hurtles it out of every corner.
The brakes are likewise monumental. They don’t feel like what you’re used to, but not in a disconnected way either. There’s re-gen going on, of course, but the ‘feel’ through the pedal isn’t always the pads on the discs. You need to really nail the brake pedal for that to take place in a conventional sense.
Traction is the other factor here, especially at mid-corner, onto the exit as you unleash more than 1000Nm to the ground. There’s barely a hint of protest from the tyres, such is the trickery of the system that apportions the drive, and the Taycan simply asks you to push harder, suggests even, such is the ease with which it can be driven on-track.
Yes, it’s a Porsche, and yes it should be impressive, but we never expected the Taycan to be this scorching on a racetrack. Porsche has delivered in grand style here. Not only is it bang up-to-date in terms of electric propulsion, but it delivers all driving engagement and capability we’ve come to expect from any other Porsche.
It’s unlikely that most Taycan owners will ever drive them as hard as we’ve been lucky enough to do. But the crucial factor is that they can if they want to. And that’s the case with any great Porsche.
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