Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo review: estate of the fast
05/05/2021 | 04:11am EDT
The Porsche Taycan EV is proving to be another monumental hit for the famous German sports car brand. Demand is rocketing – with more than 9,000 sold in the first three months of 2021, just 61 fewer cars than the 911. By now, it may already have overtaken Porsche’s icon.
Motoring Research has driven the Taycan extensively: the Taycan Turbo ‘made us feel more excited about an EV future’ and the most affordable Taycan RWD ‘is Porsche at its best’. The spiking sales graph comes as no surprise.
Expect it to get steeper still with the arrival of the Taycan Cross Turismo this summer. With prices from £79,340, ordering is open now for the more practical, more rough-road-ready Taycan. The car takes the expanding EV sector into a novel new area.
Off-roading isn’t really the core objective here, although as we’ll see, it’s potentially pretty good at it. Rather, it’s the practicality benefits of that expanded rear end, which includes a hatchback tailgate, that will open up Taycan sales to more people. The firm’s even selling a special rack for the rear bumper that can carry up to three bicycles.
The pandemic means we can’t go to Germany for a first drive, so Porsche bought a left-hand-drive Taycan Cross Turismo to us, in full-fat, £139,910 Turbo S guise. All Cross Turismos are all-wheel drive, and all have the 93.4kWh Performance Battery Plus.
They also all have PASM adaptive dampers and three-chamber air suspension. But instead of the entry-level Taycan 4 Cross Turismo’s 380hp, the Turbo S has 625hp. Or, with Launch Control engaged, up to 761hp. That’s sufficient for 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds. Yikes.
It may be more practical, then, but it’s certainly no less warp-speed than the regular four-door Taycan.
The Taycan Cross Turismo looks big. It seems much longer and wider than the lower-slung Taycan saloon. This, however, is an optical illusion – because they’re both big cars, measuring almost five metres long and two metres wide. The Cross Turismo adds a few millimetres to the footprint, and 30mm to the overall height in this Offroad Design Pack guise. It’s the added visual mass at the rear that bolsters the impact.
I quickly fell in love with the test car assigned to me, pictured here. The Neptune Blue paint was adorable and the high-gloss black Offroad Design Package inlays set it off brilliantly. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I thought it was terrific – particularly with the 21-inch high-gloss black wheels.
Half-way through my test drive (more of which below), I stopped off in a leafy pub car park, simply to stand back and stare. It’s not a conventional beauty, the Cross Turismo – not like the elegant regular Taycan – but I love its attitude and the sheer statement it makes. For me, it’s very convincing and very distinct from the regular Taycan.
Inside, it’s largely the same. Pleasingly for an EV, you feel like you’re sitting nice and low – you’re still sitting on the batteries, but Porsche has managed it better than most – although the extra confidence from a slightly higher seating position is obvious. Those in the front face lots of screens, few buttons, and materials of fine quality. It feels special, even if the sheer depth of its features is only revealed once the various screens light up.
Historically, Porsche likes to offer bizarre interior colour schemes, and my car was duly finished in graphite blue. Not my first choice, although it was leather-free, and thus vegan-friendly.
More impressive was the sheer airiness of the interior, helped by the gigantic panoramic roof and extra glass at the rear. Not only is it more spacious, it feels it, too. While no limo, those in the back will have few complaints.
The regular Taycan has a rather restricted boot opening. There’s 366 litres of space, which isn’t bad, but it’s not very user-friendly. The Taycan Cross Turismo not only has a vast hatchback opening, for much easier access, but also expands the space available to 405 litres.
It’s still no estate car (it’s not called an estate, after all), but it’s a much more usable space – and folding the rear seats opens up 1,171 litres.
Given the fiddliness of the regular car, this alone is why the Taycan Cross Turismo would be my family car choice (not related to the fact I think it looks so cool, honest).
You always must temper yourself in a Porsche Taycan, particularly a Turbo S, as they are so ferociously accelerative. With some performance cars, you soon get a handle on how quick they are. With the monstrous Taycan, it will take many thousands of miles before you’re not surprised by the sheer speed on call with a tweak of your right foot.
In an hour, I wasn’t likely to dig so deep, so once my insides had been reassembled for the seventh time, I decided to concentrate on the rest of it. Namely, the immediately-apparent boost in ride quality offered by this air-suspended Taycan Cross Turismo over the regular version. Driving out of the Goodwood paddock, it felt plusher, more supple, more compliant – a very gliding, air-sprung feel that’s not over-taut and is nicely luxurious. You’ll feel it right away.
As speeds rise, the beautiful low-speed ride continues, with a cushioned compliance that’s easygoing rather than frenetic. A rise in tyre roar spoils it a little – maybe Porsche needs Jaguar’s active noise cancellation system – but the way it flows across the tight, broken roads that surround Goodwood is admirable, and another distinct bonus for choosing the Cross Turismo over a regular Taycan.
Not that it’s an air pillow through corners – thank goodness, given its width. This is a car that feels elbows-out at first, but whose accuracy and responsiveness soon conditions you not to fear it so much. The steering helps in particular here, with its meaty weight and firm turn-in; the Porsche perfection you know from a 911 has been transferred across here.
I even sense, with experience, this could be a surprisingly entertaining rough-road machine. Certainly, the gravel rash along the side of my test car proved someone had been having plenty of tail-out fun (maybe the Offroad Package Protection needs to be more extensive still). In barely an hour, I couldn’t get a feel for this, but the car has enough capability and keyed-in, chuck-it-in-and-see precision to suggest it’s another Cross Turismo added-extra.
What I did dive into, on the return trip, was – yes – the ridiculous levels of acceleration, and traction, and poise through corners even when you’re barely holding onto the steering wheel, such are the sideways forces. This is, ahem, an electrifying car, but also one with plenty of precision, feedback and sensation. It’s proof positive that EVs can be exciting, and allays any concerns that going electric means dialling back the fun of driving.
In terms of practicality, the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is a better bet than the regular Taycan. There’s a bit more space in the rear, the boot is larger and much more practical, and it’s a car that comes with fewer compromises (don’t forget the 84-litre ‘frunk’ up front, either).
Its off-road pretensions may not be an everyday benefit for owners, but the extra ride quality they bring certainly will be, as should the sheer added attitude the Cross Turismo’s appearance commands out on the road. I didn’t expect it to be as distinct from the regular Taycan as it is.
Discovering the differences makes it the Taycan body variant for me – although probably at £87,820 4S level, rather than this hyperspace Turbo S. But then, what do I know? If you want to demonstrate to four people and three bicycles a level of acceleration akin to the gradient of the Taycan’s sales performance, be my guest.
Just let me warn you: it’s addictive, and will make you eternally appreciative of the Taycan’s monumental 270kW fast-charge capability…