Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo [review]

By topgearsingapore, 23 December 2021

WHAT IS IT?

The estate version of the Porsche Taycan. 

I CAN SEE THAT, I JUST THOUGHT THAT WAS OUT ALREADY?

You’re thinking of the Taycan Cross Turismo that arrived earlier this year. That’s pretty much identical to this new Sport Turismo but has a higher ride height and some extra body cladding to give it more of an off-road vibe. The Cross Turismo also has a couple of small adaptations to make it ride slightly more gently – new wheel mounts and softer anti-roll bars.

In order to drive as much of a wedge as possible between two rather similar cars, the first Sport Turismo out is the sportiest one there will probably ever be and the only one that has no equivalent in the Cross Turismo range. It’s called the GTS and it has 20 per cent more roll stiffness than the Taycan Turbo S. That’s a thing.

A RIVAL TO THE AUDI RS6 AND MERCEDES-AMG E63, THEN?

Plus Porsche’s own Panamera Sport Turismo, which has a very similar model line-up and price strategy. For clarification, the Panamera is bigger inside and out and arguably slightly more luxurious, but for those wanting to switch to electric the Taycan is the stepping off point beyond the hybrid Panameras.

The Sport Turismo may be a step back for practicality (both boot and back seats are smaller here than in those conventional super-estates. More on that in the Interior tab), but it has them pegged for pace. The GTS develops 590bhp in Launch Control, giving 0-62mph in 3.7secs. As the range pads out it’s likely to sit smack in the middle of the performance spectrum, flanked by base and 4S versions beneath it and Turbo and Turbo S above. Expect the price spectrum to run from £80,000-£145,000.

WHAT DOES THE SPORT TURISMO GTS COST?

£104,990 – only about £800 more than the saloon. The looks help justify the expense. Just bear in mind that the wheels you want – these RS Spyder Design 21s that are uniquely black for the GTS – are an £1,860 option. 

HOW DOES IT DRIVE?

You don’t need a faster one. You certainly don’t need a harder one. Not that this rides harshly. The adaptive three-chamber air springs and low centre of gravity combine to create a car with immense body control and family-friendly comfort levels. Although think control rather than cushioning as the general strategy.

It’s crisp, smooth and quiet, just with a fraction more emphasis on steering clarity and chassis response than other Taycans. But the margins of difference between the models are slight and seem only more so when the only way to tell the powertrains apart is from the level of shove in your back.

WHAT ABOUT RANGE? 

The non-Sport Turismo GTS was the first Taycan with a WLTP range of over 500km (311 miles) from its 93.4kWh battery. The heavier, marginally less aero Sport Turismo has a best of 304 miles. And yes, treat that as 200 miles in winter.

It’s worth knowing that the main reason the GTS has better range is because Porsche has tweaked the battery management software – a modification that will be rolled out across all models and retro-fitted to existing cars when they’re serviced.

HOW DOES IT FUNCTION AS A FAMILY CAR?

As we said above, it’s not that spacious inside and a roof box is going to ruin range. But in terms of driving simplicity, interior functionality and design, it’s thoroughly thought through and every bit as impressive to use and live with as the regular Taycan. Great cabin design, top notch quality.

It is low though and for that and a couple of other reasons we’d point you at a Cross Turismo if you have practicality in mind. The plastic cladding should shirk scuffs and it has a sense of ruggedness that’s more likely to play better with family life.

Still not quite your thing? How about the Audi e-tron GT? That’s the Taycan’s sister car, but will likely spawn an estate variant sometime in 2022.

WHAT'S THE VERDICT?

“The Taycan Sport Turismo handles as beautifully as it looks, but we're not convinced it sufficiently outperforms the Cross Turismo”

The least surprising addition to the range, the Sport Turismo does add more practicality to the Taycan package and the GTS variant is likely to be the pick of the range for helmsmen even after other models arrive. But don’t go expecting this to be a radical shift in direction or philosophy. Porsche has clearly spent huge amounts of money developing the Taycan and wants to recoup that investment by spinning as many models off it as possible. The margins of difference among Taycans are slender.

However, if you want a sleek, moderately practical, fine-driving electric car, look no further. It’s a crisp, composed machine to drive, and in GTS guise arguably the most satisfying Taycan of all. And while everyone else has focused on SUVs as their electric leaders, Porsche stands proud in championing an estate.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The chassis and suspension are identical to the standard Taycan and the estate is only 15kg heavier. And since we’re talking about 2,310kg of mass, that weight difference is beyond negligible.

So aside from the rear glass being further away in the rear view mirror, there’s not much change for a driver to detect. Treat with extreme scepticism anyone who says the handling is more tail-happy because that 15kg extra mass is mostly over the rear axle.

NOTED. IS THIS VERY MUCH A SPORTS ESTATE THEN?

It is. The Cross Turismo is a fairly racy crossover, and this is a fairly racy estate. However, the Cross Turismo is more languid, has detectable pitch and dive which we think actually suits the role of an estate car better. 

The Sport Turismo is slightly harder, sharper and more immediate. It has lovely steering and is immaculately behaved through corners, doing a very impressive job of disguising its mass and maintaining impressive body control over rough surfaces. Certainly crisper to drive than an Audi RS6.

DOES THIS ONLY APPLY TO THE GTS?

It applies to the GTS most of all, since this is – and probably always will be – the sportiest machine in the range. We doubt other Sport Turismos will drift that far from the template laid down by the GTS though.

One thing about the GTS: it’s the most rear-biased Taycan. Because of how the motors work, the GTS shuffles a greater proportion of torque to the rear axle than even the Turbo S. In fact as far as it can, it’ll only send power to the rear axle, activating the front motor as it gets close to the fringes of grip.

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Not on the public road. But the Sport Turismo is a very well balanced car. You’ll get some understeer if you really hurl it along, but on the whole it grips tenaciously and behaves neutrally at the limit.

You can up the ante with the Sport Turismo as well: rear steering is a £1,650 option, there’s sport chassis control for £2,315 and the £6,321 PCCB ceramic brakes if you absolutely must.

HOW’S THE POWERTRAIN?

More polished than just about any other electric car out there, but where electric motors are concerned those margins are small. The background fake engine noise is actually pretty decent and the calibration of the throttle is brilliant – gives you faith in the car no matter what mode you’re in or where you’re driving. 

It’s an effective deliverer of speed (0-62mph in 3.7secs, 100mph in 7.9secs). But that’s with Launch Control’s overboost function. The rest of the time instead of 590bhp you have to make do with 510bhp. Don’t stress. Backed up by 626lb ft, it’s more than enough to put the hound in the boot on red alert.

WHAT IS IT LIKE ON THE INSIDE?

A 446-litre boot that expands to 1,212 litres with the seats folded means it’s about two-thirds the size of equivalent estates from Audi and Merc. You do notice. The tailgate’s slope limits load capacity and the boot is actually quite narrow. Don’t forget about the area under the nose though. Another 84 litres and just the place for the bulky cables.

There’s more. Although this can be partially alleviated by raising the air suspension, elderly relatives aren’t going to enjoy dropping down into the low seats – however conversely elderly dogs are less likely to need assistance into the boot and if you do wreck the 0.25Cd drag factor with a roof box you should be able to access it easily. But yeah, for good or ill, a roof height of 1,391mm (100mm lower than an RS6) does mean this is a low-slung car.

HOW IS IT FOR THOSE IN THE BACK?

A bit dark and lacking in legroom. The front chairs are big and dominant in your view, but the Sport Turismo does at least benefit from an extra 36mm of headroom compared to the saloon. Two people will fit, the third will complain.

And you’ll be able to hear them because it will come as no surprise to learn that this is a very quiet and refined car. It’s beautifully built and attractively designed and laid out inside.

DOES THE DRIVER HAVE THE BEST OF IT THEN?

Emphatically. It may be an estate, but this is still a Porsche, it’s all about the driver. The GTS comes with Race-Tex alcantara upholstery as standard. Have it, it’s great. Lovely driving position, small, tactile steering wheel, you sit low and feel snug.

On the whole the screens are good to interact with. The dash display is operated logically via the steering’s clickwheel, while the twin-stacked central screens don’t bury things too deep in the menus.

WHAT SHOULD I BE PAYING?

If you want a really sporting electric estate, the GTS is the one to have. Hard to put a point on exactly why, but it has the right image and kudos. You’ll pay a lot more for the Turbo models when they arrive and besides yet more forceful power delivery, there’s not much point.

You still need to treat the £104,990 price as a jumping-off point, though. Get on the Porsche configurator and you’ll see just how quickly and easily the price rises to £120,000. Leasing? You’re looking at £1,300 a month after a £10k deposit.

It’s not stopping people though. UK business tax regulations have ensured we are the world’s second biggest Taycan market after China, ahead of the USA and Germany. In fact the Taycan is Porsche’s number one seller in the UK ahead of the Macan and Cayenne.

On to more practical matters. Get a home charger installed and the running costs should be low – a full recharge from empty will cost around £14. As we said earlier, expect a 200-mile winter range (against Porsche claims of 304 miles), but in the summer that should rise to 260 miles.

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