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2022 Porsche Taycan GTS.The Globe and Mail

The Angeles Crest Highway, which flies northeast through the San Gabriel mountains from Los Angeles, is a place drivers have been going to burn gasoline for fun since the road was completed in the 1950s. The highway wasn’t built with electric cars in mind, but the good news for drivers – and the planet – is that great roads like the Angeles Crest can be just as enjoyable in an electric vehicle.

Unfortunately, electric thrills don’t come cheap, at least not yet. Porsche’s newest EV, the 2022 Taycan GTS, is the brand’s sportiest battery-powered car yet. Prices start at $150,100 for the GTS sedan, or $152,700 for the new GTS Sport Turismo station wagon.

The cabin is much the same as other Taycans, except Porsche’s Alcantara-like Race-Tex fabric is everywhere.Handout

On the Angeles Crest, the new Sport Turismo absolutely devours every nerve-wracking blind hairpin and unexpectedly-tight turn this highway has to offer. Its air-suspension is stiffer than in other Taycans, which helps the GTS settle into corners more quickly and feel more planted mid-bend as the lateral g-forces build. That’s important when you’re speeding between a rock wall and a sheer cliff.

The car rolls less in corners, but still has that slightly-magical ride quality that makes all Taycans such comfortable daily drivers. Even the stiffer GTS handles L.A.’s broken roads well enough that passengers aren’t likely to complain.

The other thing that sets the GTS apart from other Taycans is that more of its power goes to the rear wheels. On the road you can feel the rear tires pushing the car around corners, but it still generally drives like it’s on rails at any sane speed. You can’t fully appreciate the GTS until you fling it around a racetrack with the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system switched to Sport mode. On a track it reveals a depth of character, becoming a surprisingly entertaining machine, albeit one that’s laughably easy to drive; it’s a bit like playing a video game. A little lift off the accelerator helps the GTS rotate, and then getting quickly on the power sends the car into the easiest, sweetest little slide before slingshotting down the next straight. Make no mistake, there’s a lot of electronic wizardry working to flatter the driver and make this juggernaut feel graceful.

Compared to the regular Taycan, the Sport Turismo wagon has 45 millimetres of extra rear headroom and 1,200-litres of cargo space.Handout

Like all EVs though, it’s a heavy machine, weighing 2,310 kilograms. For comparison, a Panamera GTS is around 300 kg lighter. The GTS generally hides that fact well, until you ask it to change directions quickly, flicking it through a fast left-right-left, or when you stomp on the brake pedal. Then you’re suddenly aware of the battery pack – a massive weight – underneath the driver’s seat. Not even tech like (optional) rear-wheel steering and gigantic ceramic-composite brakes can fully overcome the laws of physics.

With the addition of the GTS sedan and GTS Sport Turismo, the Taycan range is now dizzyingly complex. Including the low-slung Sport Turismo wagon, the Taycan now comes in three body shapes, the others being the original sedan and the jacked-up off-road-ready Cross Turismo wagon. There are also five different power/trim levels, of which the GTS is the middle child.

Long story short, if you’re not going to take your electric Porsche to a road like the Angeles Crest highway or your local racetrack, you’re probably better off with one of the softer Taycans – either the cheaper 4S or the faster Turbo S – rather than the stiffer GTS. That said, the differences are relatively subtle.

More importantly, the mere fact Porsche is adding yet another model to the Taycan lineup speaks to the success of the brand’s first EV.

An optional new panoramic roof is divided into nine individually-controllable segments. Embedded liquid-crystal film allows each section to change from clear to matte.Handout

Half of all Taycan customers have never driven a Porsche before, according to Mayk Wienkötter, Porsche’s spokesperson for the Taycan. Compared to your typical Porsche buyer, Taycan customers are, on average, younger and more likely to be women, Wienkötter added.

And, this is just the beginning. A battery-powered Macan SUV is on the way, and the company’s next-generation Boxster and Cayman are rumoured to be going all-electric too. As capable as the Taycan GTS is, the prospect of a smaller, lighter electric Porsche – a real electric sports car – is a tantalizing one.

Porsche delivered a record number of cars – 217,198 to be exact – through the first three quarters of this year, despite the pandemic and chip shortage. While the Taycan is far less popular than the (less expensive) Cayenne and Macan SUVs, the electric four-door is outselling Porsche’s famous 911 sports car so far this year. It’s hard not to see that as a sign of change. However you slice them, the numbers all point to the fact that Porsche nailed its first EV.

The pleasure of driving, it turns out, doesn’t come from burning gasoline.

Prices start at $150,100 for the GTS sedan, or $152,700 for the new GTS Sport Turismo station wagon.The Globe and Mail

Tech specs

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Base price/as tested: $152,700/$203,470

Engine: dual-motor electric

Transmission/drive: two-speed/all-wheel drive

Fuel economy (litre-equivalent/100 kilometres): TBD

Alternatives: Tesla Model S Plaid, Audi RS e-tron GT, other Porsche Taycans, Polestar 1

Looks

The GTS Sport Turismo is the electric uber-wagon nobody asked for, but enthusiasts will surely approve of.

Interior

The cabin is much the same as other Taycans, except Porsche’s Alcantara-like Race-Tex fabric is everywhere. An optional new panoramic roof is divided into nine individually-controllable segments. Embedded liquid-crystal film allows each section to change from clear to matte.

Performance

For 2022, every Taycan model will have roughly 20 extra kilometres of real-world driving range thanks to software tweaks, according to the company. Official EPA range ratings aren’t available yet for the GTS yet, but over our rather speedy drive the car was on pace to hit 355 kilometres, almost exactly the 356 km it originally estimated. With 509 horsepower (590 in overboost) and 626 lb-ft of torque, the GTS is in the middle of the Taycan range. It would be nice if it offered a one-pedal driving mode option.

Technology

In just nine minutes plugged into a 350 kW public charging station, the GTS gained 67 km of estimated range. The dashboard is dominated by as many as four screens – including one in front of the passenger – plus a heads-up display. The GTS plays a unique, fake engine-like sound through the speakers, which even mimics the noise of changing gears.

Cargo

Compared to the regular Taycan, the Sport Turismo wagon – like the Cross Turismo wagon – has 45 millimetres of extra rear headroom and 1,200-litres of cargo space.

Verdict

The best electric Porsche yet for deep-pocketed track rats and driving enthusiasts.

The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.

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