Performance is key to Porsche’s DNA. Every one of its vehicles, regardless of what’s powering it, must be capable on a track and a winding road. It gives their cars an identity, a distinguishing factor that you won’t mistake for anything else. Driving the Taycan Turbo S at the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles (PECLA) shows that electrification won’t stop the brand from making highly potent yet well-balanced performance machines and best of all, they’ve retained their soul despite all of the technology crammed in them.
We spent the day driving the Porsche Taycan Turbo S on several different modules and tracks at PECLA. After a quick familiarization session through each one, the instructor let us loose and guides us from the sidelines. Car control sections like the ice hill, a low-friction handling course, the kick plate, and the low friction circle all emphasize the importance of steering input to stabilize and regain control of the vehicle during skids and slides. If you don’t steer enough or turn the front wheels toward the direction that the rear is sliding toward, you lose control of the vehicle.
Quite possibly the most important lesson of the day was modulating the throttle to control a vehicle. Since the Taycan Turbo S is a battery-electric vehicle, power delivery is instant meaning there’s no waiting for anything to rev up. Once you get the car sideways, keeping it there and moving toward your intended direction requires careful modulation and lots of little steering input. However, you need to be smooth because sudden inputs will unbalance the vehicle.
Once all of the car control sections were done, it was time to see what the most powerful Taycan can do. On the circuit and autocross courses, the Taycan Turbo S moves like a proper Porsche. Telepathic steering, eager turn-ins, zero body roll, and unrelenting grip all prove that this is a sports car that happens to have four doors. You don’t feel the car’s 5,000-pound curb weight because it shrinks around you the moment you turn the wheel. Step on the brake pedal and you get a firm yet natural feel as the massive carbon-ceramic brakes bring you to a stop. All of that handling and stopping prowess doesn’t come at the cost of ride comfort either. Cycling through all of the drive modes, the suspension is surprisingly compliant even in Sport Plus, meaning you can daily drive a Taycan in comfort even on 21-inch wheels shod in Pirelli summer tires measuring 265/35ZR21 in front and 305/30ZR21 in the rear.
A high-performance electric sports sedan wouldn’t be complete without mind-boggling acceleration. Luckily, the Taycan Turbo S delivers on that too. With Launch Control and overboost, both electric motors produce 750 hp and 774 lb-ft of torque combined. The result? Face-melting acceleration that pushes you back so hard you can feel your cheeks spilling over to the headrest. Was it fun? Absolutely. Crazy? Yes. So much so we did it multiple times. On the acceleration straight, we consistently saw triple digits before the braking zone and entering a replica of the karussell from the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack.
At the end of our session, we came away with a newfound respect for the Taycan Turbo S. This is a legitimate performance car, only electric. Its capabilities place it squarely in supercar territory yet it can chill down and be your daily driver. In short, the Taycan Turbo S is a textbook example of a proper Porsche: a four-door electric sedan that doesn’t compromise on the road and track.
(Editor’s note: You, too, can spend time at the Porsche Experience Center. Maybe a post-quarantine vacation?)