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Porsche Taycan Turbo: First drive in the US

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Article by Rob Sass
Photos courtesy Porsche
 

The November issue of Porsche Panorama features the first driving impressions of the new all-electric Taycan. The drive took place in Scandinavia in September. Now, the first cars are beginning to show up in the North American press fleet, so we had the opportunity to drive the Turbo version of the car for the first time in American traffic (formidable LA traffic to be exact). Here’s a quick take on what it was like.

As is the norm, Porsche did its usual thorough job of choosing the route, a good mix of freeways, urban surface streets, and mountain twisties. We waited out the morning rush hour with breakfast and a tech briefing before heading east on I-10 towards the Inland Empire and then cutting north towards Wrightwood and the heart of the San Gabriel Mountains. Most sat-nav systems had CA 2 closed because of the recent wildfires. It was in fact open, but gloriously empty.  Aside from the odd boulder on the road, it was a perfect route to get a feel for the Taycan’s chassis dynamics, which are superb.There’s no mistaking the car for a Lotus, but at least its prodigious weight is carried as low in the car as possible — there’s a definite feeling that it’s working less hard at what it does than a Cayenne, for example, which maintains its impressively flat attitude through corners more through aggressive active roll-control systems than a really low center of gravity. The driving position of the Taycan is far more 911-like than a Panamera, for example, and the relatively short front overhang makes the car easier to place in a corner.

The impressive power and on-demand torque make the car genuinely entertaining in LA traffic — its ability to squirt in and out of holes is impressive and quite fun. You realize pretty quickly that the new electric Porsche is one of the quickest cars on the road as the obnoxious driver of a Hemi Challenger found out to his chagrin. With the battery regenerative systems turned off, the car feels like it would coast forever when you take your foot off the throttle. It’s downright eerie how quietly and efficiently it cleaves through the troposphere. Its 0.22 drag coefficient is the lowest of any production Porsche.

Range was as advertised. The loop that we did through the San Gabriels, down the Angeles Crest Scenic byway, through La Cañada Flintridge, on to Burbank, and back to Marina del Rey on the always entertaining 405 was about 198 miles total, which we could have done on a single charge. But, in order to demonstrate the 800-volt charging, we stopped at station located at a Walmart in Burbank. The Venn Diagram of Walmart shoppers and EV drivers evidently has a small intersection, as the Taycan press fleet cars were the only ones charging. In about 15 minutes, we had about 75% of our range back, at a cost of about a buck a minute. With premium gas prices in SoCal hovering around $4.70/gallon, you can do the math.

The only thing remotely disappointing about the car was the lack of attention they garnered. Even in car-jaded Southern California, I expected that there would be more looks and questions. Even Panamera drivers didn’t give it a second look, seemingly mistaking the car for another Panamera. Maybe if the cars had been Mamba Green…..No matter, whether they knew it or not, Angelenos were witnessing a game-changer on their roads this week.

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