2021 Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo | PH Review

The estate model is the Taycan some buyers have been waiting for – has Porsche delivered?

By John Howell / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Loading comments

I can’t help thinking about buses when I look at the Porsche Taycan range. No, no, I don’t mean in the way it drives. The Taycan’s 2.3-tonne kerbweight might be verging on Routemasterish, but, as we know, the only thing that hides weight any better than Porsche’s electric car is a hefty corset. I’m taking about the other kind of wait – i.e. the long one we had to endure before the kickstart of the Porsche-electric era, followed by what seems like a non-stop stream of new variants ever since.

First was the four-door coupé in 4S, Turbo and Turbo S form. That grew less power and fewer motors, if you catch my drift, with the RWD that reduced the entrance fee to around £70k. Then, last September, things took an odd twist. The Cross Turismo injected a perplexing whiff of SUV into what is, by any metric, a very high-performance low-slung car. And by ‘whiff’ we’re talking enough off-roading talent to see you up a gravel drive and, at a push, out of a festival car park, but not much more. What the Cross Turismo did deliver was some added practicality. Then we drove the GTS last month. That was on track but still, the conclusion was clear enough: it’s the best Taycan yet. Now, if only you could get the GTS’s bespoke suspension tuning, torque vectoring and sweet-spot power with the Cross Turismo’s estate-car vibe. That would surely have ‘winner’ written all over it.

Well, happily, Porsche has backed just such a winner. We should point out that the Taycan Sport Turismo is available in the various flavours of the Coupé, but we just happened to be driving the GTS version at its launch in Mallorca. And this time, on the road, allowing us a fuller picture of its talents.

I’ll be honest, I still struggle to find that spasm of enthusiasm deep in the belly when it comes to EVs – even known-to-be-good ones, like the Taycan. So as I walked up to the Sport Turismo, I found myself disappointed at my own glum negativism “Well, it’s not GT3 RS, is it.” How jaded. But the good news is that it didn’t take long for the Sport Turismo GTS to whip that scorn into a smile, and the stimulus was very unexpected.

It was the noise. The GTS comes with its own, unique Porsche Sport Sound composer and, when I switched it on, its low-speed output was a bit too Millennium Falcon for my taste. Just mooching around there’s this weird, wah-wah-pedal fluctuating drone. Then I broke out onto Mallorca’s equivalent of an A-road and tested the Taycan’s straight-line metal, and it wasn’t just the familiar, instant hit of torque and KITT-style uptick of numbers on the digital speedo that tickled me. It’s flippin’ quick, for sure. But it was also the change in tone.

There’s the natural noise that all Taycan’s produce under load. It’s a sort of straight-cut whine, but I’ve never fully ascertained its source. Maybe it’s the electromagnetic hum from motors or the two-speed gearbox at the rear. Or a bit of both. Either way I like it. On top of that the GTS-specific synthesiser adds a hard-edged, vaguely internal-combustion noise. I am not normally into faux stuff but this is good; even if I couldn’t for the life of me pin it down to a particular cylinder arrangement. But the bit that finally had me – the point at which I broke into an actual, fully-formed grin – was the ‘throttle blip’ as the gearbox shifts from second to first. It’s as fake as the scripting on X-Factor, yet I fell for it. Again and again.

When you’re ‘on it’ all these little noises add a competition-car feel, and that feeling isn’t dumbed down by the fantastically low, bathtub driving position. You sit there looking at the world coming at you at a thick and fast through the surprisingly narrow windscreen. At each corner you see the hump of a wheel arch rising up and, behind you, sense of a lot of car stretching back. Allow the schoolboy mind to run wild, as mine often does, and there’s a something of the 956 about it. Fantasies aside, there’s no denying that it does have a great cabin; one that the GTS’s swathes of Race-Tex, red seatbelts and anodised aluminium do nothing to diminish.

It’s helpful to have those front wings peaking above the scuttle to define the Sport Turismo’s extremities along the often-narrow Mallorcan roads. In any guise, the Taycan is a very wide car. Thank God, then, that the steering is so pin-sharp and intuitive. You can place the wheels with finite accuracy and, despite the weight, revel at the suspension’s utter brilliance in keeping things settled. It allows you the opportunity to explore the grip, and there is never anything less than a lot that. In fact, on the road you need to be very determined to upset the Sport Turismo’s natural balance, but it is possible. Just switch off the ESP and plunge the accelerator on the exit of a roundabout and your reward is a delectable slide.

The Sport Turismo GTS is so good that it’s hard to separate the adroit engineering from what’s good old-school witchcraft but, for me, the suspension’s prowess tops the list. How does it control vertical movements so beautifully, with so much mass to deal with and relatively little wheel travel? And on top of that, how is the ride so supple? By any measure, S-Class included, the Taycan is one of the best-riding cars on sale. It’s also one of the quietest at speed. Yes, there are noises I mentioned earlier when you gun it but when you’re at a steady speed the sense of silence is fantastic.

Officially the range is 304 miles, but that’s going to be nearer 250 miles in the real world. Still, you can reply on the accuracy of the Taycan’s range indicator and the fact that it can charge at up to 270kW, which means a 10 to 80 per cent charge in under 20 minutes. Are there any quibbles? A couple, yes. There’s some regen corruption in the brakes, which means the pedal isn’t as consistent as it could be, and the Sport Turismo’s boot still up there with an E-Class wagon’s. Yet 446 litres is still a decent amount, which grows to 1,212-litres when you drop the rear seats, with another 84 litres in its nose.

Rear-passengers do okay, too. There’s a sensible amount of leg room to fit six-footers behind six-footers, and the Sport Turismo adds another 45 millimetres of rear headroom. It also showcases Porsche’s latest piece of tech, the Variable Light Control. This option applies a liquid crystal film to glass roof. This is divided into nine sections and each section can be switched to one of four settings, from clear to translucent, to prevent glare but still allow light into the cabin.

I said the last time I wrote about the Taycan that the GTS was the best version yet. Well, there’s no point in having a mind if you cannot change it, especially when the best keeps getting better. With its added practicality and still-great everything else, the Taycan GTS Sports Turismo is now the best Taycan, which, by default makes it the best electric car you can buy. And it has the potential to make you smile, even if you’re a old cynic like me.


SPECIFICATION | PORSCHE TAYCAN GTS SPORT TURISMO

Engine: Dual electric motor
Transmission: Front – Single-speed auto, rear – two-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 598hp
Torque (lb ft): 627
0-62mph: 3.7 secs
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 2,310kg (unladen)
Battery size (kWh): 93.4
Energy usage (miles/kWh): 2.96
WLTP range (combined): 304 miles
Price: £104,990

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