Rarely does a car land in my garage and leave me almost lost for words, but that’s how I felt when trying to convey the major talking points of the new Porsche Taycan CrossTurismo Turbo.
I drove a prototype in the desert last year and was astounded by its performance, all the while aware this wouldn’t be how it turned up in the showroom. Yet the silence I was stunned into as I gave the production version a blast was much the same.
A sports car should be a two-seat, low-slung, wild-sounding gas guzzler, selfishly made with no one else in mind except the person behind the wheel. Said person, too, should not be carrying luggage or need to stop by the shops on the way home.
On paper, the Taycan CrossTurismo is anything but a sports car because, for one, it’s electric, powered by a motor in each of the front and rear axles that also makes it all-wheel drive and silent.
Then there’s the practicality aspect, as the CrossTurismo debuts Taycan’s wagon body with a longer roof similar to the Panamera Gran Turismo, incorporating a huge glass roof that extends behind the rear seats.
It offers 47 millimetres more rear headroom and three times more stowage when the rear seats are folded flat for 1,255 litres when you combine the 1,171 litres in the rear with the 84 litres up front.
But it’s also a mild off-roader to take you to your favourite camping spots across low-lying desert dunes. This is thanks to 30mm of extra ground clearance and Gravel Mode that lifts the suspension by 10mm. Gravel Mode does the behind-the-scenes work splitting torque to the wheels, winding back the stability control and equalising the speed of each wheel to mimic a diff lock on an SUV, all to minimise your chances of getting stuck off road.
That extra 10mm also comes with the optional off-road design package fitted to The National’s test car, which included off-road design flaps on the lower valance, side skirts and a rear diffuser.
So it’s a zero-tailpipe-emission EV that’s also a practical family wagon and a versatile, mild off-roader. It is bestowed with the inherent good looks of Porsche’s 911 Coupe, thanks to raised front guards bookending a sloping front bonnet mixed with wide rear wheel haunches connected by a full width tail light across the back.
On looks alone it can only be a Porsche, but has it got the performance and drivability to match? Has it ever!
Based on the 2018 Mission E-Cross Turismo concept, this uses the same 800-volt architecture from the Taycan saloon, delivering 625hp and 850Nm, and retains Taycan’s innovative two-speed transmission. This family wagon will get to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.3 seconds and silently on to 250kph. It’s helped by the two-speed transmission, which shifts up at 120kph and back down at 80kph for faster standing-start runs, before maximising its longer second gear ratio for premium efficiency at motorway speeds.
Porsche says its range ― up to 456km ― and the Turbo’s 250kph top speed is the same as the saloon when used under the same motorway conditions. This, even though the Turbo carries an extra 105kg for the larger body and wears more durable tyres, which are better suited to off-roading than the normal slimline fuel-savers.
Despite the raised height, Taycan’s centre of gravity is lower than a conventional car thanks to the batteries being hidden in the floor. However, unlike others that also store batteries below the feet, Porsche has kept a low 911-like driving position by shifting battery cells away from the foot well, allowing you to sit lower down, like a sports coupe.
From behind the wheel, it feels all 911 with a central, 10.9-inch infotainment display and an optional passenger display combined to form an integrated glass band. Conventional switches and buttons have been replaced with a touchscreen using haptic feedback via pulses through the fingers, and the interior is similar to other Porsches in the range.
With 35 years of road testing ticked off, this is probably the best car I've driven in five or maybe even 10 years, and is the mic-drop moment of the automotive industry today. That’s about the only way I can describe my impressions of a car that seemingly does it all but, most importantly, without compromising a single thing.