This is a story about a hole, specifically the one concealed by the rear hatch of the new 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo. We point this out because the rest of the car is largely the same Tesla-fighting high-performance electric four-door platform that bowed for the 2020 model year.
For several years now, Porsche has applied its Sport Turismo wagon treatment to versions of the Panamera four-door. A similar formula applies to the Cross Turismo variant of the recently introduced Taycan: new rear fenders, a longer roof, and, in the case of the Taycan, a new rear hatch in place of a trunk. Porsche has yet to release full details of the car, but it also features subtle moldings around its wheel arches and the standard air springs will likely provide a bit more ground clearance than the Taycan sedan. We’ve yet to drive a production model, but we did get a brief stint in a European-spec prototype, which was in California for photography ahead of its on-sale date this summer.
One of the legendary slices of road in Southern California is a chunk of Sunset Boulevard that runs from the 405 freeway east through Beverly Hills, alongside Bel Air, and down to the pink glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s approximately the same route used to film the notorious Ferrari versus Porsche race in the 1984 film Against All Odds. And with traffic lightened by COVID-19 lockdowns, it was a good afternoon to be on that stretch of pavement.
Sunset Boulevard dips, banks, and generally feels perfect for the Taycan Turbo S. The car deftly manages its tonnage through sweeping corners. It squirts through traffic with instant electric torque, and the Taycan dominates the West Los Angeles zeitgeist by being both a badass Porsche and a virtuous electric. The addition of a fifth door does nothing to affect the Taycan Turbo S’s performance credentials. While the Turbo S’s drivetrain is just as quiet in the Cross Turismo as it is in the sedan, the open cargo area does seem to make the noise from the tires slightly more audible. But it will also offer far more space than the sedan’s 16-cubic-foot trunk.
We expect the Cross Turismo model to weigh just slightly more than the over-5000-pound Turbo S sedan. But any difference between how the two body types handle was undetectable on our short drive. The Taycan, unlike many other electrics, isn’t imbued with the type of strong regenerative braking when lifting off the throttle that allows for one-pedal operation. Porsche wanted the Taycan to feel much like its other models, which means using the brake pedal to engage the regen function and the very capable friction brakes.
The substance of the Turbo S model’s awesomeness centers on its two electric motors—one at the front axle and one just behind the rear axle. Filling the space between them is a tray holding 396 battery cells delivering electric current at 800 volts. In normal operation, that’s good for 616 horsepower, but activate the overboost feature with launch control engaged and the output briefly jumps to 750 horses. Torque is simply astonishing, with 774 pound-feet present in overboost from the moment the motors start turning. From our previous testing experience, the Taycan Turbo S sedan warps to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and obliterates the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph. A small reduction to the Turbo S sedan’s 192-mile EPA-rated range is expected.
Let us acknowledge here that there is no actual boost involved in any electric car, and that the Taycan’s Turbo S modifier stems from Porsche’s glorious internal-combustion past (and present). There are no turbochargers in the Taycan Turbo S. If that bothers you terribly, but you still want a low-slung Porsche with an adult-habitable back seat, migrate across the showroom to the Panamera lineup. Those come with actual turbos.
The catch with the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo has nothing to do with its substance and everything to do with its price. To take this brilliant machine home will surely require spending even more than the Turbo S sedan’s $186,350 entry fee. Plan on $200K or so if you indulge in Porsche’s seemingly endless list of options. That may not make the Taycan Turbo S a value proposition, but it is the best driving electric four-door you can currently buy. The big hole in the back of the Cross Turismo just makes it a little more versatile.
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