Breakneck thrust from battery Porsche

·5-min read

Imagine sitting in a giant slingshot.

A beautiful, luxurious slingshot. With lovely comfortable seats.

Now imagine the slingshot has been stretched back to its limits and released - all that power cut loose in one almighty, breakneck thrust.

Seamlessly, silently flung forward, with acceleration that is difficult to fathom, let alone measure. The horizon approaches fast, but still there's virtually no sound.

That's what it is like to drive the new Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

The greenest, fastest Porsche there has ever been, yet one that uses no petrol, makes no sound and emits no carbon monoxide.

A car of the future, if ever there was one.

Few descriptors do justice to the Taycan Turbo S. Officially, it will streak to the speed limit, slingshot style, in an other-worldly 2.8 seconds - ballistic acceleration that few production cars on the planet can match. Yet it feels even faster than that.

TheTurbo S heads up Porsche's newly launched electric "fleet" - seven models altogether, with two body styles and two choices of battery/motor performance. It costs a knee-shaking $345,800 (plus on-road costs) yet will probably sell like hot cakes.

It more than doubles the price of the 'basic' Taycan which can be had for a not-so-alarming $158,300. There's also a wagon-style version of this car, called the Taycan Cross Turismo.

Visually, the Turbo S could easily be the twin of Porsche's luxury Panamera, and the two cars share many components, except the pollution-creating hardware beneath the latter's bonnet.

Beautiful, imposing, yet wonderfully proportioned, the Taycan's swoopy silhouette belies its four-door, hatchback practically.

One of the most striking things about the Taycan is its disarming simplicity. No dazzling laser light shows or musical welcome songs when entering the car.

Just open the door (the handles pop out when the key is in proximity, prompting the car to 'wake up') and simply select Drive or Reverse. And go.

Equally impressive is the car's flexibility. From a very quiet, benign and driveable car when used as a daily drive, to the explosive, other-worldly feel it brings under full acceleration. Talk about Beauty and the Beast.

Plant the foot at 100km/h and passengers are literally slammed back in their seat. The acceleration is instant and seamless.

But be warned, Taycan owners, of the ever-present temptation to break the rules in this car. It's such a visceral, shake-awake experience.

As an owner, a good amount of time will be spent giving joy-rides to friends and acquaintances. Every passenger must feel that acceleration - whether they want to or not.

Nothing about the Taycan is ordinary.

It uses a dual-deck 93.4kW/h battery, the heart of a sophisticated 800-volt electric system, driving twin permanent-magnet, synchronous motors that generate 560kW of power and 1050Nm of torque. Yes, that's a Newton-kilometre.

The numbers scream supercar in any language.

The bottom line is: The Taycan is a vehicle almost completely without compromise.

It's as beautiful, as comfortable, as practical and, yes, as blindingly fast, as any conventional vehicle on the planet.

It delivers true supercar performance without a gram of carbon emissions, it will seat four adults in perfect comfort, and has more available cargo space than any comparable vehicle (including its own platonic twin, the Panamera).

Yet by supercar standards - any standards, in fact - it is blessedly simple and effortless to drive.

The cockpit is a statement in restraint and minimalism. There's not one button or switch on the dash or centre console. None.

Instead, every function is governed by a touch-sensitive screen that extends the width of the cabin, from the driver's side door to the little panel that runs above the glove box, giving front-seat passengers their own touch-settings for climate control, seat heating/cooling and the like.

Yes, there's the customary indicator stalk, along with another for headlights and one for wipers/washers. Otherwise the Taycan is instructed by a haptic click on the glossy video screen.

The car's staggering acceleration is captivating. But it stops with equal proficiency. And it rides and handles ... like a Porsche.

Albeit a heavier-than usual Porsche, thanks to those batteries which rest beneath the floor, phishing the Taycan's weight to a beefy 2.3 tonnes. Regardless, it drives like a lightweight. Porsche has ensured this weight is evenly spread between the front and rear axles, meaning the car is actually more balanced than many internal-combustion vehicles..

The 'Turbo" part in the car's name is a touch misleading. There is no turbocharger, although the Turbo S - as the fastest car in the fleet - gets a bigger, more powerful battery (94.3kW/h) compared to the 79.2 kW/h in the less powerful Taycan and Taycan S (which will reach the speed limit in about four seconds).

Range? The lesser-powered models will stretch about 365km on a single charge. The Turbo S officially reaches 420km, although this test car achieved slightly more. At a dedicated fast-charge station the Taycan recharges in about 20 minutes. Trickle-charging from a household plug will take considerably longer (about 36 hours).

The Taycan has two luggage spaces, thanks to its lack of a conventional engine. It can fit 477 litres in the back and a weekend bag or some groceries in a deep tub beneath the bonnet. Yes, two luggage areas. In a Porsche!

And it joins a growing number of Porsches to have four doors, rather than the two we've come to expect.

Let the quiet revolution begin.

* HOW BIG? It's roughly identical in size to its petrol-powered sibling, the Panamera, but the absence of a conventional engine frees up some additional storage space up front. The cockpit will comfortably accommodate four, or five at a pinch.

* HOW FAST? Like nothing experienced before. Only purpose-built hypercars will beat it in a straight sprint.

* HOW THIRSTY? The electric battery in the Taycan Turbo S model is good for about 440km.

* HOW MUCH? $345,800 for the flagship model tested here. On-road costs and taxes will push the spend close to $400,000.

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