Porsche Taycan: Three Minutes Behind the Wheel
One of the most anticipated cars of the upcoming year is the Porsche Taycan. It's fully electric and boasts great specs. It even holds a world record. It did the «Fastest Lap in a Four Door Electric Vehicle» on the Nürburgring. It's one of these marketing records, only a bit shy of something ridiculous as «Fastest Lap in a Red Four Door Electric Vehicle on a Tuesday».
So basically, we know very little about actual performance outside of a few videos and boasts about the admittedly impressive tech specs. Sure, it's fast, but it's also hyped by makers and enthusiasts. Then again, I might be cynical.
But now, the Taycan is being shown off at exhibitions such as Auto Zürich. Audiences can look at it and even sit in it for a very short amount of time. Which is exactly what I've done for about three minutes because understandably, the Porsche Taycan is something that everyone at the exhibition wants to look at.
The Terrible Wheel
There are two things that stand out about the interior of the Porsche Taycan. The first thing I notice when glancing at the dashboard and the centre console is the fact that there's no gear stick. There's also no set of gear shifting buttons as seen on other EVs such as the Hyundai Kona.
So I start looking for the gears. Because even though the Taycan is an automatic, there must be some place where you can shift into R or N. And I kind of expect a performance car such as a Porsche to at least give the driver the option to control gears as she sees fit.
I touch the steering wheel.
It's Alcantara. Alcantara is a horrible material that nobody should ever even think of putting into a car or a laptop as most people are probably familiar with it from Microsoft's Surface line of laptops. It's a microfiber synthetic material lauded for its durability. In cars, it's one of the more common choices replacing leather or vinyl. It really shouldn't.
I am obviously the minority here, but I really dislike the feel of Alcantara. I know I am the minority because if I weren't, Microsoft would have stopped with the Alcantara ages ago and Porsche wouldn't even have thought about coating the Taycan's, the new flagship's, steering wheel with it.
However, the wheel does have its nice aspects. There are very few controls. There's this very confusing trend of just slapping as many buttons on the wheel as possible, even if there are very few features you actually use on the wheel. The 2019 Mustang GT is a prime example of this. But Porsche decided to reduce the amount of clutter on the wheel. Of course, there's your phone controls and the trigger for the voice assistant of your phone that you can connect via Bluetooth and the cruise controls.
A highlight is at the four-o'clock of the wheel. There's a little knob that you can turn that switches driving modes from «Normal» to «Sport» and the implied-to-be-super-badass «Sport Plus». The Taycan sports harder than regular sports cars.
The Search for the Stick
At the point where I'm done twisting the little knob and having fun with it, because it feels good, about a minute of my two minutes in the driver's seat has passed. I decide to check out the various panels and screens. This is where Porsche has put all the clutter. Because you can't really have a modern car without there being what feels like half a million buttons. Only that we live in the future now, so the buttons need to be touch screens.
The main screen that a driver interacts with is in the centre console. Think Tesla's tablet and the fact that it's the obvious place to put it. Much like Tesla's centre tablet, the Taycan's seems to be able to control all of the everything the car has to offer. From the air conditioning to the doors and the charging ports that are neatly hidden away under little hoods of their own.
It's a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
Then there's a second screen over the main tablet that shows you information about the car and the phone that is connected. It seems a bit cluttered, but it looks as if it can be configured. It better be. Because if the map and navigation system takes up only a third of the admittedly small screen, then navigation might be better done using an external navigation device such as the Garmin Overlander. Or you can just maybe put navigation onto the main tablet in the middle, analogous to how Tesla is doing it.
And I absolutely love the little clock on the top of the dash. The hand showing the seconds is still a manual hand. Old-school. Cool.
Time's up. I need to get out.
One Thing About the Exterior: The Tank Lids
While the fully electric Taycan has absolutely no use for a gas tank, Porsche is conscious enough about their own heritage that they made the charging ports feel like gas tanks... from the future!
The tank lids can be opened from inside the car and from outside by swiping the black seemingly-decorative element right next to it. Now, I'm not sure whether or not the Taycan Turbo S exhibited in Zürich is a pre-production model or a production model, but there appears to be two different ports hidden under the two tank lids that are located at the rear of where you'd find the front engine of an Internal Combustion Engine car.
On the driver's side, there's a Type 2 charger from the looks of it and on the passenger side, there's a CCS Port. What happens if you plug in two plugs? Will it charge faster?
Generally, the Taycan is very much a Porsche on the outside. While Porsche thankfully didn't opt for just taking the 911, ripping out its ICE and replacing it with an electric motor, there's no way that the Taycan will ever be able to deny that it's a Porsche. This is how you update a look. What's new are the sabre-tooth-looking elements under the headlights that give the Taycan a mighty but not pompous or overstated look.
Also, there's a front trunk or as the Internet calls it, a Frunk.
First impressions: I like the general look of the Taycan from the outside much better than from the inside. The inside has the horrible Alcantara wheel and even though the instruments and controls seem to be cluttered around wherever there was space.
However, this shouldn't be seen as some sort of final review verdict sort of thing. There is only one thing left to do: Drive the Taycan. Which is something I'll hopefully get to do soon. Because, Porsche, you have my attention.