Why The New Fully Electric Porsche Taycan Is Truly Like No Other

The Taycan (from RM584,561), like pretty much every Porsche, manages to look both completely up to date as well as exactly like a Porsche has for decades: the flare of the front quarter panels, for example, is unmistakable, or the way the roofline melts into a hint of a spoiler and generous, rounded rear end. There are some slightly more radical visual cues, however, especially in the squint of the LED headlamps and the laser-like visor of the rear lights. Inside as well, the control cluster is a curved panoramic screen, and the centre console is glossy black glass that buzzes with haptic feedback when a ‘button’ is pressed.

Looks aside, the Taycan is unlike any Porsche that has come before. It is the brand’s first fully electric platform, with an electric motor on both the front and rear axles for all-wheel drive. The rear axle is connected to a two-speed transmission, the first for more accelerative take-offs and a longer second gear for cruising efficiency. The battery is located in the underbody for a low centre of gravity; the higher-tier variants of the Taycan, the Turbo and Turbo S (RM1,151,779), are outfitted with the 33-module Performance Battery Plus which has a total capacity of 93.4kWh. The system runs at 800 volts, the highest of any production vehicle so far, which has allowed Porsche to make great strides in terms of efficiency, weight-saving, and thermal performance. This is all packaged in a sleek four-door saloon format that even has a fair bit of room for rear passengers and 366 litres of boot space for the Turbo S – plus an additional 84 litres in the cubby under the bonnet.

Innovation aside, the base technologies involved are not new. The Tesla Roadster came out in 2008, for example, while the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf were both released in 2010. But the Taycan is different, because it is a Porsche; for the first time, we have a traditional automotive marque debuting a performance-focused production car that is all-electric. For Malaysians, it is the only such option that can realistically be acquired. In that sense, the Taycan stands alone, simply because there is nothing else like it currently available. 

Which means there is little to compare it to. Electrics feel fundamentally different to the good old combustion engine: the quietness, the robotically linear torque character, the weight and low centre of gravity producing a curious contradiction heaviness and response. In terms of performance, however, there is no doubt. With a launch control, the Taycan Turbo S puts out 751bhp. This takes it from 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds, but it feels even wilder than that number suggests thanks to the immediate nature of the 1,050Nm torque delivery. It is the sort of thrust one feels in the face as it is pushed back into the headrest. Porsche states that the Turbo S can subject the driver to up to 1.2g during straight-line acceleration.

In terms of chassis, things get more familiar: double wishbone at the front axle, and multi-link at the rear. The Porsche Active Suspension Management system is back, which responds to road conditions and tunes itself to up to four driving modes, and active roll stabilisation and torque vectoring keep things level and agile. The height-adjustable air suspension raises 20mm as so not to snag the front spoiler, and drops up to 22mm at high speeds. Rear-wheel steering is icing on the cake.

The result is recognisably the responsive, connected poise that made Porsche famous, although one through a lens of without perceptible gear changes or the reassuring feel of engine braking. Energy recuperation can be toggled such that it kicks in when the accelerator is released to mimic engine braking, but there is an unmistakable hitch to it that takes some getting used to. Those finding it eerily quiet can also turn on an artificial engine noise that responds to speed and throttle, and believe it or not it can be quite comforting.

Nonetheless, this is the sort of power and handling that took the Taycan around the Nurburgring in seven minutes and 42 seconds, just a few seconds behind the BMW M5 the benchmark of a super seda. The time is a record for a four-door electric.

There is no doubt that the future is electric, but the current-day practicality of it is a question for many. Depending on the specifics of model, the Taycan has a range of around 400km. An at-home charging station, which Porsche will install for Taycan customers, will take up to nine hours for a full charge. More powerful, publicly accessible chargers can halve that time, or even reduce it to 40 minutes with specialist high-power locations like that found at Porsche Centres across the country. Today, there are numerous charging stations along the North-South Expressway consisting of Porsche Centres and Caltex rest stops, with more locations by Shell to be added later in the year. The Taycan’s inbuilt Charging Planner will help optimise journeys and stops. It is possible to drive from Johor Bahru to Penang in a Taycan today, stopping three times on the way to charge for a total of 90 minutes. The future, then, is already here, and it arrived via Porsche.


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