Porsche's piece of practicality

·5-min read

What would it be like if Porsche started making everyday family cars?

Cars with four doors and five seats and space for a couple of adults, three kids, their gear and a family dog. But not an SUV.

Wonder no longer.

As part of its foray into the electric-vehicle market, Porsche has gotten all paternal, offering up not just one, but two vehicles that get the "family friendly" tick.

One is a "conventional" sedan, albeit one that's fully electric but modestly powered, at least by comparison to Porsche's normal standards.

The other is, for want of a better word, a "wagon", maybe the raciest ever estate.

Both carry the Taycan badge also worn by Porsche's flagship electric land rocket, the ballistic Taycan Turbo S.

The German marque would be well aware it's courting controversy with these two rather "un-Porsche" machines.

Porsche devotees almost burnt the place down when the company introduced its first four-door model - the Panamera. The bleats turned to wails when plans were announced for a Porsche SUV, of all things. Yet the Cayenne gained acceptance, and eventually gained a sibling in the form of the smaller, volume-selling Macan. Porsche had the last laugh when these two models took the market by storm.

Now they're at it again, with two very different, very distinctive variants of the all-electric Taycan.

Yes, that's right. The company that spent the past 70 years building the most revered two-seaters on the planet is celebrating by unveiling not only its first true sedan, but a stunning-looking load-lugger creation with five doors and five seats.

Tested here are those two models - the wagon-like Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo (which even sounds a bit like its German designers didn't really know what to call it) and the "base model" variant of the Taycan.

This entry-level Taycan doesn't easily fit into boxes - it could be described as a quick luxury car, or a luxurious sports machine. But in truth it's neither.

Yes it suffers a bit when compared to the full-fruit Taycan model. Its 240 kW, 345Nm single-motor, rear-wheel-drive gives it a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds - demonstrably quick, but not Porsche quick. Keep in mind the Taycan Turbo S will do the journey in precisely half the time, with no more effort or drama than the base model.

The Taycan (it doesn't get any additional letters or names) also does without some of the trinkets that make it onto the Turbo S (it doesn't have a turbo, by the way). The Taycan offers a fairly unadorned exterior (and interior, for that matter) and the cockpit feels a bit less loved than on the more expensive models.

However many observers actually thought the car's clean, swoopy lines actually looked better than the tricked-up version. It is, after all, a big, sexy car with an equally sexy badge on the bonnet.

It's beautifully proportioned with those big, bulging wheel arches and a typically grounded, stuck-to-the-road, athletic stance.

And while its performance could at best be described as engaging, it's also an amazingly fuss-free, refined and delightful thing to drive. It's certainly the most civilised Porsche.

This "bare bones" version (it's hardly Spartan) offers possibly the best value equation of any car to wear the Porsche badge. At $156,300 it is fully 50 grand cheaper than the equivalent petrol-powered model, the $200k Panamera (which admittedly brings more kit, and a bit more style, than its electric sibling).

And keep in mind that the next model up the Taycan family tree is the $176,600 Taycan 4 Cross Turismo - whose price makes the basic Taycan look like pretty decent buying.

It is one of few cars that is effectively cheaper in electric trim than internal combustion form.

There's likely merit in spending a tad extra ($12,000) to add the optional performance battery, though. That gives it a cruising range of 434km (369km with the standard battery).

And it's adequately roomy for a family, with generous storage in the back and even a useful little tub where the engine would normally go.

What about the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo - the wagon?

With its stunningly low profile and raked rear hatch, it looks like few other wagons. It's surprisingly big and is a delightfully sensible and comfortable way to move four adults (or three kids in the back).

It looks, and feels, not terribly dissimilar to its corporate cousin, Audi's fire-breathing RS6 Avant. Others might think it resembles the Shooting Brake design favoured by rival Mercedes-Benz in some of its recent models.

But while there are plenty of comparisons, not many vehicles can compare to this $279,900 Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo. Subject to personal opinion, it's quite possibly a better looking machine than the "regular" Taycan.

This one isn't quite as fast as the blurringy-quick Taycan Turbo S - that silently flashes to the speed limit in a ridiculous 2.8 seconds. This wagon manages the same journey in 3.2 seconds, which technically is 20 per cent slower than the flagship - and the difference is tangible, if not particularly relevant.

After all, when driving a "sensible" car like this, who cares how fast it can go? And who knows, perhaps Porsche will bring out a ute before too long.

PORSCHE TAYCAN

* HOW BIG? Surprisingly. That low-slung silhouette disguises the impressive amount of space inside, and in the boots (both of them).

* HOW FAST? Fast, but not particularly so by Porsche standards, with a 5.2-second sprint to 100km/h. For the record, the Taycan has 240kW and 345Nm (280kW with performance battery).

* HOW THIRSTY? Its electric range is 357km, which can be extended to 434km with the "performance battery" option.

* HOW MUCH? The Taycan's $156,300 price tag is less stinging than the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo's $279,900.

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