Driving the world’s first electric luxury estate car



The 2022 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo isn’t scared to get its wheels dirty

Electric cars are all the rage these days. And the reason for their growing presence is multifold. First, there is ‘sustainability’, the need for a cleaner environment through greener transportation. Second, they provide unbeatable performance. Viral videos of EVs ripping past ICE vehicles have garnered millions of views on the Internet. And finally, the EV is the ‘it’ thing now. It is new. It is enigmatic in ways. And now everyone, wants a piece.

For a decade, Tesla has been setting the standard for every EV metric out there. Meanwhile, traditional car makers have quietly been brewing their recipes and are now out with their own range of EVs. One such manufacturer is Porsche, the maker of exciting sportscars, hatchbacks and SUVs. Recently, we got behind the wheel of their off-roader estate version of their Taycan sedan and here is our take!

Design & Styling

The 911 is a masterpiece of aesthetics. Only a small population would disagree. And Porsche designers have attempted to apply its silhouette to all of their vehicles in various segments, which hasn’t really worked in their favour. But rest assured, the Taycan family is a beautiful execution of design overall. While the family resemblance remains, it is unique and cutting-edge even — it has concept car vibes. The rectangular LED headlamps are a dominant piece in the frontal architecture — just like in a 911 — with the added complexity of vertical inlets that flank them. And the rear haunches are wonderfully wide, also like the 911.

This being the Cross Turismo variant borrows the estate silhouette from the Taycan Sport Turismo and gains some off-roader bits as well. It’s got plastic wheel arches, skirting along the sides and what seems bash plates, front and rear, with some stone deflectors as well. It is all in keeping with what the car’s intended purpose i.e., mild-mannered off-roading.

When you walk up to the car, the door handles that are flush with the body pop up automatically. Pull and have a peek inside and you’d notice that the simplicity of Tesla interiors that have inspired a generation of electric vehicles can be seen here as well. But somehow Porsche has elevated that visual, without turning it into a circus. The 3-screen layout — one of which is a 16.8-inch curved and configurable display — that stretches along the dashboard is very futuristic and remarkably impressive, losing out only to the seamlessness of Mercedes’ 56-inch ‘Hyperscreen’. The build quality is impeccable! No squeaks. No rattles. No imperfections! The Taycan TCT and all Porsches, in general, are a lesson is craftmanship.

Even after being an estate, the Taycan TCT shares the fantastic vantage point of its 911 sibling: low-slung, with near-perfect visibility (except for out the rear) and plenty of adjustability from the 18-way power adjustable, ventilated seats and beautifully-crafted, leather-wrapped steering wheel. This is a no-compromise driving setup. My only gripe being the washer fluid splashes that mess up the front windows.

Overall, the outer skin and the interiority of the Taycan TCT together is testament of luxury. And the design details are so interesting, it will leave you curious to explore every inch of the vehicle.

Powertrain & Performance

Without doubt, this is the fastest accelerating vehicle I have ever tested. Plant your right foot hard and you will go from being an immovable object (it’s deceptively heavy) to a road-going rocket by the irresistible force of 625 horses. Activate Launch Control and you get 680 PS, which allows you to complete the 0 to 100 km/h run in just 3.3 seconds, which is just a blip in time. A blip so little, you’d want to repeat it just to recall what happened. The experience took me back down memory lane when I first drove the then-mighty Godzilla i.e., Nissan GT-R. Only difference is that the Taycan is still quicker. Even with three others onboard, it will eclipse the quarter mile in a little over the claimed 11.1 second time. Therefore, making drag racing an actual family thing.

The steering is more sensitive than a spectrometer and the accuracy is remarkable. And thanks to the 4WD system, which I call 4-paw approach, the grip is immense. The Taycan TCT is a confidence-inspiring for a newbie and a corner carving tool for the expert driver. To slow you down before the corners, Porsche has equipped it with racecar-like brakes. You get massive 410 mm discs at front and 365 mm at rear, grabbed by 6-piston and 4-piston aluminium brake calipers respectively. And it deserves it because at 2,320 kgs, it weighs more than a Range Rover. Do note that the brake pedal requires a deliberate effort to engage but once it does, the full braking force is like hitting a wall, thanks to which you won’t be hitting one.

The Cross Turismo has another trick up its sleeve. If you are looking for excitement beyond the smooth tarmac of Dubai city roads or track days, the Taycan TCT is fully capable to speed down a gravel road or splash some sand at the beach without much concern. It sits 20 mm higher than standard Taycan, which can be made 30 mm with the touch of button, thanks to the air suspension. But our advice, engage Gravel Mode and keep away from sandy hills like Badayer, and you’re good!

Tech & Practicality

One of the coolest things about this car is the ‘magic’ air vents that seem unidirectional to the eye, but can be adjusted via the multimedia screen. You got to see it to believe it! The cupholders are large and can hold a “bladder buster” and so are the door bins. The glovebox, though, is tight and may fit a pair of gloves.

Yes, like most other 4-door coupes, it is a 4-seater, but it also comes with a ‘4+1’ rear seat configuration for a little extra. The rear windows are smallish, but space and convenience are of little concern thanks to the squarish estate roof that gives it an extra 47 mm of headroom over the sloped-roof Taycan; and 4-zone climate control with underlap USB ports.

Speaking of accommodations, the 84-litre frunk (front trunk) will fit a couple of bags of cables. While the rear trunk can eat up your luggage up to 446 litres, and folding down the rear seats gives you a commendable 1212 litres of space. Baby stroller? No problem! Airport drops? No problem!

The Sci-Fi Noise

The racy exhaust note of a combustion engine is not missed in the electric Taycan TCT. The artificial “exhaust note” it emanates when you accelerate sounds like spaceship in a sci-fi movie, and a reverse frequency is played when you brake. Switch to Sport Plus mode and this enthralling noise gets further amplified. In fact, I had a few people saying they’d have this over a Tesla just for the noise it makes.

And if that won’t suffice, you have the fidelity of a 710-Watt 14-speaker Bose Surround Speakers to match your mood.

Juicing it up!

Our test car came prepped with the Performance Battery Plus with 93.4 kWh capacity (gross) giving you a combined range of about 500 kilometres or around 370 kilometres for long distance. Beyond those miles you are at the liberty of the charging network. If you do plan on getting one, I suggest you download an app like PlugShare and keep a keen eye on the range indicator. Charging the Taycan TCT is simple enough — run your fingers along the plastic ridge on the front side fender and the flap opens up, plug it in and wait for the lights to indicate the status. You can charge it to 100 per cent at home, but it will take like a day. You can charge it quicker using the AC plug at a 22kW station which would take five hours, or still quicker using an DC plug at an 800Volt station, but best of luck finding one close to you.

Verdict

The 2022 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo is the tougher and bigger boot version of the Taycan electric sedan. And for those who worry that Porsche has gone from being a maker of the exciting 911 coupe to that of an electric estate, worry not, the Taycan is proof that the electric future will not only be family-certified and functional, but mind-blowingly fast and fun to drive as well.

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