German automakers long ago lost the plot when it came to model designations. It used to be that “350″ in a model name meant it had a 3.5-litre engine. Now we have “500″ badges on vehicles with three-litre engines or “580″ designating a four-litre. Where’s the sense?
Just take a look at Porsche. For decades, its flagship turbocharged 911 has been the called Turbo, to distinguish it from lesser 911s that weren’t turbocharged. Nowadays, even the humblest 911 is turbocharged, but only the capital-T Turbo is actually called Turbo.
Porsche sows even more confusion with its Taycan family. The most powerful Taycans wear a Turbo nameplate, even though the Taycan is a full-on electric vehicle. Not a turbocharger in sight.
At least we’re in familiar territory with the new GTS version. Those three letters have always represented a sweet spot in the Porsche hierarchy, denoting models that are a modest step up in performance and price, with a strong skew toward track-worthy handling.
That’s pretty much how it is with the Taycan sedan and its wagon-like GTS Sport Turismo sibling (the latter, incidentally, has the standard Taycan ride height as opposed to all the other Cross Turismo models that have suspension lift and “off-road” body cladding).
The GTS sedan costs $152,100, placing it in the lower middle of a lineup that ranges from $119,900 (Taycan 4 Cross Turismo) to $220,800 (Turbo S Cross Turismo). Likewise its performance – 590 horsepower and acceleration to 100 kilometres an hour in 3.7 seconds, in a range that spans from 469 horsepower and 5.1 seconds for the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo to 750 horsepower and 2.8 seconds for the Taycan Turbo S
Those outputs, incidentally, are all in maximum-effort Overboost mode. Note, too, that the Taycans sold in Canada are twin-motor, all-wheel drive; we don’t get the less-expensive single-motor Taycan sold in the United States and elsewhere.
Tesla-trashing range numbers are not Taycan assets, but the GTS’s government-rated 396 kilometres tops its siblings, which range between 320 and 375. Charging capability up to 270 kilowatts (if you can find a suitable 800-volt charger) can restore battery state of charge from 5 to 80 per cent in 22.5 minutes.
Unlike most EVs, which maximize regenerative braking to extend range, up to the point of one-pedal driving, Porsche promotes coasting instead. This strategy, which feels more natural to EV newbies, is also likely to be more effective on the highway, which after all is where range matters most. Certainly, it seems that freeway speeds don’t eat up range the way they do in most EVs.
On one round trip between the Greater Toronto Area and Guelph, Ont., we started with an indicated 373 kilometres of range (in Normal drive mode) and after 170 kilometres ended with 224 kilometres of range, for an extrapolated total of 394 kilometres. The energy consumption for that trip, 21.2 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometres, was the best we saw during a week when our mostly urban/suburban trips averaged between 25 and 30. The overall average was 22.8, which is better than the official 25.3 combined figure.
Nobody’s going to spend upward of $150,000 just to save on gas, but if you can afford to indulge yourself while feeling environmentally virtuous, the GTS is in Porsche dealerships now.
2022 Porsche Taycan GTS
- Base price/as tested: $152,100/$185,580
- Motors: 380 kilowatts combined, front and rear (440 kilowatts in Overboost)
- Drive: All-wheel drive
- Battery and capacity: Lithium-ion, 93.4 kilowatt-hours (gross)
- Claimed range/combined energy consumption: 396 kilometres/25.3 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometres
- Alternatives: Audi e-tron GT, Jaguar i-Pace, Lucid Air, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Polestar 2, Tesla Model S
It has four doors and the footprint of a mid-size sedan, but the low build and sleek lines say “coupe” all over. Multiple black accents cue the GTS package.
Unlike many performance cars, the Taycan doesn’t make you feel like you’re sitting on the floor. Forward visibility is key in performance driving, and Porsche seems to understand that (though the rear window is a shallow slot). There’s ample at-the-wheel adjustability to sit high if you want (though some gauges may be obscured by the wheel). Typically for Porsche, the stop/start button is left of the wheel. Wall-to-wall screens (including the gauge cluster, and – with the Technology package – an extra one on the passenger side), are subtly incorporated into a traditional dashboard structure, while another screen on the centre console regulates the climate control and various charging-related matters. So yes, most secondary controls do rely on screens more than traditionalists might like. And notwithstanding the test car’s $6,080 “GTS Interior Package in Chalk,” some fittings and switches feel a little low rent. As for the rear, adults will fit back there, but not in laid-back comfort; passenger volume is closer to a subcompact car than most mid-sizers.
A 3.7-second sprint to 100 kilometres an hour is rapid by any standards. That said, even using launch control, the Taycan doesn’t quite explode off the line the way we expected; there’s no drama, no wheel spin, just an utterly relentless and rapid gathering of speed.
Equipped as our test car was with almost $10,000-worth of chassis upgrades (power-steering plus, rear-wheel steering, active roll stabilization, 21-inch wheels/tires) the GTS still delivers a surprisingly supple ride in Normal mode (air springs are standard). The steering feels pleasingly natural and “alive” in routine driving, but push it hard through an on-ramp and the lateral-g-force experience mirrors that of the straight-line thrust – gargantuan grip, balance and stability, delivered with a nonchalance that is almost a letdown. Like other GTS-badged Porsches, this Taycan would need track time to reveal its at-the-limit moves, which are reportedly much more playful when the stability control is set accordingly.
Standard assisted-drive (AD) technology includes lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Lots more is optional, even including remote-controlled parking and adaptive cruise that can predictively adapt speed to speed limits and road topography. Most infotainment options are also either standard or available.
In addition to a surprising 405-litre volume for the trunk (it looks smaller), a “frunk” or front trunk provides an additional 80 litres under the hood. Folding rear seats provide a useful pass-through.
Environmental “virtue,” athleticism worthy of a Porsche, and “fill-up” costs to turn Prius drivers green with envy – the Taycan GTS is a stunning display of machine-like capability and efficiency wrapped in a beautiful skin. But, it doesn’t inspire much in the way of passion.