Porsche Taycan 4S

Cross Turismo

Current Affair

When a self-confessed petrolhead like me is suddenly exhilarated by electric cars, you realize that they have come a long way. Porsche’s newest Taycan, the 4S Cross Turismo, gave me smiles & more. And a fast charger reduced earlier onsets of range anxiety significantly.

Just when I begin to feel a trace of achievement of having driven the newest Taycan 4S Cross Turismo on this dusty, corrugated dirt road, I am brought back down to earth. While stopping to take a selfie with my electric ride, a shiny silver car is thundering up the track, trailing a huge dust cloud behind. Incredibly it’s a 1958 Porsche 356. Who for god’s sake is beating such a precious classic mercilessly through the botany. It is 70-year old Andrew Gunn, owner of Iona Wine Estate, which produces one of my most favourite Sauvignon Blancs in South Africa. Andrew is instantly likeable. “I am not a collector, I drive my Porsches‘, explains the tall man, with the deep, calm voice. He reminds me a bit of the actor Patrick Stewart with the right dose of Bruce Willis thrown into the mix.

And driving he does. Even the Cross Turismo has to accelerate to keep up with him on his gravel home run. Andrews Porsche collects dust on a dirt road, not while standing in an air-conditioned display room. He loves driving on dirt. And the 356 is fine with this. It was built at a time, when Germany and the Austrian Alps still had a couple of gravel roads left.

Andrew and his silver 356 are together forever. The South African entrepreneur bought the 1958 model, his first Porsche and his first car ever (!), in 1969. Pretoria-born Andrew was 19 at the time and paid the purchase price of 675 Rand from hard earned cash. He sweated away during his engineer study breaks in the steel mills of Vereeniging. At the time 675 Rand were a fortune. Or as he puts it: ‚I didn’t have a rich father. When he saw the car for the first time he was 15 years old.

And today the 356 acts as a fountain of youth. When Andrew talks about Porsche classics, his enthusiasm is taking at least a decade of his age. He will never sell this Porsche.

ENGINE

Two electric motors (800 volts)

POWER

350/420/500kW and 640/850/1050Nm

TOP SPEED

220/240/250 km/h

Why? He wants me to find out myself, by handing me the keys to his chrome jewel. And I am going back in time. Way back into time. What a feeling with this beautiful air cooled 4-cyl. boxer engine in the back on this dusty track.

After a cool drive it is back to the future for Andrew. To say the least, he is sceptical about the concept of an electric Porsche. But it is one that just outsold the iconic 911 for the first time. The traditional Porsche driver pushes the start button of the soundless fully, electric Taycan, which sold 20 000 units in the rather challenging Corona year 2020. Mostly in first world countries, where load shedding is a foreign concept.

And off we go. Andrew’s initial reluctance turns to surprised bewilderment, then enjoyment, especially on his beloved dirt road. ‘I can’t believe it, it’s a Porsche. It feels and reacts like one. Even the tails spins out!’

Yes, the newest Taycan, the high-riding Cross Turismo is – in gravel mode – meant to be driven on loose surfaces as well as on tarmac. Pushing into new territory. I think the Sportback style rear suits the car very well, with more space inside and better looks.

There is obviously all-wheel drive and an adjustable air suspension. It has 20mm more ground clearance and it is 11 mm longer than the regular Taycan. An optional off road design pack with more protection against stone chips adds another 10mm of ground clearance – and about R40 000. The Cross Turismo can do off road, except rock climbing.

The power distribution is perfect and the huge brakes are necessary to stop the 2300 kg vehicle. Inside it is identical to the other Taycan, including digitised air vents. So you have to adjust the ventilation with your fingers on the touch screen. Due to the design the boot space increased from 366 to 405 litres – with much better access.

Like with its brethren the sensory feeling of an internal combustion Porsche is missing, but made up partially with this exhilarating performance.

Like with its brethren the sensory feeling of an internal combustion Porsche is missing, but made up partially with this exhilarating performance.

By the way, the optional fake noise (artificial warp sound) will set you back R12 000. And it’s quite addictive. I first left it switched off, then enjoyed it. It fits the current propulsion method. Another cool extra is the rear cycle rack for three bikes. Porsche E-Bikes, if you are totally loyal to the brand.

Speaking about propulsion, there is one electric motor per axle, resulting as mentioned before, in four-wheel drive. There are 175kW available at the front axle and 320kW at the rear, with two gearboxes connecting to the 20inch wheels.

At 120km/h the second gear engages at the rear. Usage is between 20 to 28 kW per 100 kilometres, equaling 448 to 336 kilometres of range. Pricewise the two Taycan models are quite close together, making the Cross Turismo the obvious choice. Especially in 4S guise.

Before driving it, Andrew wouldn’t have considered owning an electric Porsche. He will never sell his old one and he would never abstain from enjoying internal combustion engines, but he wouldn’t mind having one of those now as well. I must agree. If you don’t see it as competition to fuel driven vehicles, more like an alternative way of moving fast forward, this technological masterpiece is a hell of a lot of fun to drive. Well done, Porsche.

Tech Specs

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo 4/4S/Turbo S

Engine

Two electric motors (800 volts)

Power

350/420/500kW and 640/850/1050Nm

Top Speed

220/240/250 km/h

0-100km/h

5.1/4.1/3.3 seconds

Battery Capacity

94.4 kWh

Price

R2 596 000/R 2 701 000/R3 543 000

Watch our Porsche Taycan

Cross Turismo 4/4S/Turbo S

video here:

Driven by Dieter Losskarn

round

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