Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is the best speedwagon in its class with a 911-like takeoff

CHARLEVOIX, Michigan — On a vacant country road south of this small northern Michigan market town, I threw launch control in my all-electric 2022 Taycan GTS Sport Turismo wagon by simultaneously flattening the brake and gas pedals . Just like a Porsche 911 sports car.

I released the brake and the all-wheel-drive GTS rocketed forward like a Cedar Point carousel, crushing my ribcage against the seatback. “GEE-SUS!” was the universal reaction of everyone I took for a ride. Just like a Porsche 911. Sixty mph passed in just 3.5 seconds before I entered an ess corner, Taycan hugging the road thanks to a battery-powered powertrain mounted low in the chassis. Just like the flat-six engine of a 911.

Coveted by Porsche enthusiasts, Taycan sold over 9,000 units in the 2021 sales year. Like a Porsche 911.

In a market for luxury electric vehicles dominated by King Tesla, Porsche is the only brand to have made a significant breakthrough. The Tesla Model 3, for example, surpassed sales of the No. 2 sedan in its class, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, by 128,600 units to (ahem) 1,766 last year. The Model Y compact SUV topped sales of the Ford Mustang Mach-E: 172,700 to 27,140.

Taycan was the only vehicle to outperform Tesla in its class: beating the Model S sedan by 9,419 units to 9,100.

The electric rocket also outpaced Porsche’s petrol sedan, the Panamera, by 3:1. It’s probably because Taycan is the latest from a fashionable brand. But I feel that Taycan also has a sex appeal that the high-performance Panamera struggled to achieve.

I raced Porsches, owned Porsches, put the 911 on a pedestal as the best sports car on the planet. But I didn’t befriend the Panamera, the brand’s first sedan/wagon. Maybe because it looks like an overcharged 911. Maybe because it’s powered by front-mounted V-shaped engines (heresy!), not horizontally-opposed flat-cylinder engines at the rear. Perhaps because of its cluttered center console.

The Porsche Taycan GTS and GTS Sport Turismo.(Porsche)

In contrast, I’m struck by Porsche’s second sedan/wagon because of its aforementioned attributes. Ask anyone who has driven one. It’s the best electric vehicle on the market, period. My 911 buddy, Jon, had to be dragged out by 10 men.

Where Panamera has always felt like it’s trying (like the unsightly Cayenne SUV) to force a sports car look into a sedan, Taycan has its own design signature, while retaining the crucial DNA of the Porsche brand.

The styling is gorgeous. The front is sportier (no front engine) than Panamera, and framed by unique horizontal headlights. They make Taycan look lean and menacing. At the rear, the wagon’s hatch tapers elegantly between Simba’s muscular haunches, punctuated by a horizontal 911-inspired taillight that spans the rear deck. Underpinning that vision is the Porsche J1 skateboard chassis, delivering a low center of gravity and thrilling cornering capabilities despite the car’s 5,200-pound girth, 500 pounds more than the comparable Panamera GTS Sport Turismo.

Necks swiveled everywhere I went. At a Charlevoix crosswalk, a family passed before the father finally stopped in his tracks, staring at him. GTS OMG.

The 590 horsepower GTS Sport Turismo is the sweet spot of Taycan beauty, performance and utility. Between the Taycan sedan and the incredible 2.4-second 60-750hp Turbo S, the GTS (like a 911 GTS) offers a more handling-focused package with sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires, tighter suspension and SPORT PLUS mode that makes futuristic flat-6 sound (I could do without it. I love the glorious flat-6 whine of the 911, but if you go electric, give me an electric motor shout ).

The Porsche Taycan GTS brings a more handling-focused package with the Pirelli P-Zero...
The Porsche Taycan GTS brings a more handling-focused package with sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires, tighter suspension and a sport-plus mode.(Porsche)

The wagon then adopts the tailgate of the Cross Turismo Taycan crossover – with no fender cladding for a simple, sleek aesthetic.

The understated elegance continues inside. Under a panoramic roof is a store of television screens – not a button in sight. The dominant piece is the curved, boomerang-shaped instrument display with no hood. It’s as beautiful as the first day I saw it at Taycan’s 2019 Niagara Falls unveiling – although its novelty has worn off as other curved displays from Cadillac and Mercedes hit the market.

In Porsche tradition, the ignition is a button on the left dash (so you can ignite the beast by jumping into the driver’s seat like the Le Mans racers of old). In fact, you only use the button to turn off the car with a loolong socket like a smartphone. Taycan comes to life automatically (with the key in my pocket) when I step on the brake pedal.

Everything is simple. The electronic shifter has been reduced to a chick-sized rocker on the dash, freeing up the center stack for a haptic touchscreen. Climate controls and charging information can be accessed here – freeing up the infotainment screens (there are two – one for the driver, one for the passenger) to do infotainment stuff like Sirius XM and Android navigation Auto.

Speaking of navigation, Taycan’s biggest flaw over Panamera is car travel.

Given its sales numbers, most Porsche sedan buyers apparently drive locally. But take the road to Charlevoix from my home in Oakland County, and Taycan is particularly meager when it comes to self-driving technology. Herr Payne, it’s a Porsche. I am made to be led!

And then there’s the issue of the EV range. The Panamera’s 400-mile gas-powered range (enough to do the 500-mile round trip in one stop) is a definite plus (buy a Panamera E-Hybrid and that range expands to 464 miles).

After years of taking my Tesla Model 3 and other EVs north, I opted for a two-stop strategy at the Bay City and Gaylord fast chargers. Featuring an 800-volt platform (higher than a 400-volt Model 3 or Mach-E), Taycan should be able to charge at over 250 kilowatts with a 350 kW EA charger.

An optional panoramic roof features an electrically switchable liquid crystal film that can...
An optional panoramic roof has an electrically switchable liquid crystal film that can change the roof from clear to matte. This protects occupants from glare, without darkening the cabin.(Porsche)

But the I-75 EA chargers on this trip only allowed me to charge at 115kW, negating Porsche’s $160,000 advantage. I sat in the Bay City and Gaylord Meijer parking lots for 25 minutes each filling GTS to 80% charge. Go biking in Charlevoix (guilty as charged) and you’ll have to go to, for example, the local Ford dealership to charge a 240 volt unit for a few hours. I like to pack a bike in the back of electric SUVs for back to charging – but the cramped (hey, you want those sexy Simba hips, don’t you?) Sport Turismo hatch requires me to remove the front wheel of the bicycle.

These are the compromises that are made for EVs.

So you can keep your Taycan caged in the Detroit metro for local trips. Or you can explore the glorious country roads of this state as you test the limits of this low-torque 626 rocket and its laugh-out-loud launch control ability.

Like a 911.

Henry Payne, The Detroit News (TNS)

The design of the Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is both breathtaking and menacing.
The design of the Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is both breathtaking and menacing.(Porsche)

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Vehicle type: Four-Passenger, All-Wheel Drive, Battery-Powered SUV

Price: $137,450, including $1,450 destination fee ($161,470 based on testing)

Power plant: 83.7 kWh lithium-ion battery with dual electric motor

Power: 590 horsepower, 626 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: Single-speed/front axle and two-speed/rear axle direct drive

Performance: 0-60 mph, 3.5 seconds (mfr.); top speed, 155 mph

Lester: 5,152 pounds

Fuel economy: EPA MPGe 80 combined: range, 233 miles

The interior of the Porsche Taycan GTS is best described as understated elegance.
The interior of the Porsche Taycan GTS is best described as understated elegance.(Porsche)

Report card

Tops : A head-turning look; electrifying performances

Down : Lack of self-driving technology; travel charger blues

Globally: 4 stars

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