Review: Porsche Taycan GTSJul 4th, 2022
GTS. For Porsche fans, these three letters mean a lot. Whichever model you are looking at – the Cayenne and Macan SUVs, the Panamera sedan, or the 718 and 911 sports cars – the GTS models are often the sweet spot. They are an enticing combination of extra performance, sporty styling details, upgraded interiors, and a more emotional driving experience – a useful and worthwhile upgrade over “S” models, but less extreme from a performance and price standpoint than the flagship Turbo or GT versions. GTS models look great, sound great, and offer, for a Porsche, a compelling value proposition that make them popular for many buyers.
Now, there is another GTS Porsche, this time featuring the all-electric Taycan in sedan and sport turismo (wagon) versions. Is it, too, the sweet spot in the Taycan lineup? Or is an electric GTS something else?
Within the Taycan lineup, the GTS sits comfortably between the 520-horsepower Taycan 4S and the 670-horsepower Taycan Turbo, both of which feature dual motors and all-wheel drive. In fact, the Taycan GTS integrates the front electric motor from the 4S and the rear electric motor from the Taycan Turbo for a total of 590 horsepower in its most aggressive launch mode. Which is a lot – enough to accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
Porsche’s popular Sport Chrono package is standard. It combines an analog dashboard stopwatch (amusing in a very digital car) with a rotary drive-mode selector on the steering wheel that lets you quickly switch between Range, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual driving modes depending on your needs and driving situation. Flicking it into Sport Plus mode also tightens up the standard air suspension and unlocks a launch control feature that provides the quickest acceleration from a standing start.
Gasoline-powered Porsche GTS models all come with a sport exhaust system that provides a bit of extra sound – and the emotion that comes with it. With its electric drive, the Taycan GTS doesn’t actually have an exhaust, or the greenhouse gas emissions that come with it. What it does come with is an enhanced “electric sport sound” that can be selected on the central touchscreen, or that can be automatically engaged with certain drive modes. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie: high-tech and electronic, with a bassy undertone that feels powerful. Is it the same as a great exhaust on a gasoline car? No, but it is cool and special.
Certainly, there are no complaints about the actual power produced by the Taycan GTS’s twin electric motors. It is almost uncomfortably quick at almost every speed, with instantaneous torque the moment you put your foot down. Traction from a standing start is incredible given the forces at work, and at speeds well over the highway limit, there’s so much go that you wonder why anyone would need the more expensive Turbo, or the even more expensive Turbo S.
Fortunately, the brakes are equally powerful; push on them gently and they help recharge the standard 93.4-kWh Performance Battery Plus. In more aggressive situations, there are huge brake discs and giant eight-piston calipers to slow the Taycan down; the brilliant thing is that the two forms of braking work so well together that you can’t sense the transition between the two.
Another key component of Porsche GTS cars has been a suspension that delivers an extra level of sportiness without sacrificing ride quality. In this sense, the Taycan GTS is no exception. It features a standard four-corner air suspension like the 4S and Turbo models, which gives a range of settings, from comfortable to super-stiff.
The electronic damping control, which adjusts damping force based on road conditions and driving style, has been enhanced for the GTS to provide more and better feedback. It contributes to superb steering feel and an incredible sense of confidence in turns. While you are always aware that you are piloting a heavy car, the GTS can really dance on a back road. When you’re ready to relax, ride quality is superb, even on the optional 21-inch wheels (20-inch wheels are standard).
Also contributing to a great-handling package is standard Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which can vary the amount of power delivered side-to-side (in addition to the two motors apportioning power front-to-back). This further increases stability and cornering grip, driving the outside wheels faster in a corner, which reduces slipping and sliding. In practice, it works remarkably well, the suspension working hard to keep the body level and controlled at impressive speeds for a sports car – never mind a heavy four-door EV sedan.
That the Taycan GTS really loves being driven hard can, of course, impact its range. The good news is that, thanks to the latest version of Porsche’s battery-management technology, the GTS is actually more efficient than the less-powerful 4S (as well as the Turbo); indeed, its software will soon be integrated into the whole lineup. On the other hand, even in ideal conditions, real-world range rarely exceeds 400 km or about 245 miles – not spectacular given that there are many electric cars on the market that now comfortably exceed those figures, at least based on government estimates.
On the other hand, full credit to Porsche for how conservative the Taycan is when calculating range. Even when driving a little aggressively – or cruising at high speeds on the freeway, where very little regeneration happens – the Taycan GTS often improved on its estimated range in the real world – indeed, AMCI, an independent American testing institute, regularly found that the Taycan would significantly outperform it EPA-rated range estimates.
Even with a couple few long trips thrown into a busy few days, I never felt any range anxiety –the reality is, folks buying a car this expensive will likely have a home charger, which will give them a full battery every morning. It’s only on long road trips that range might actually become an issue. And on that front, the Taycan is at least one of the fastest-charging vehicles on the market. Should you be able to find a public charger that will dish out electrons at 270 kW, the Taycan has the ability to quickly fill its battery from 5 to 80 per cent in just 22 minutes in ideal conditions. And even on a Level 2 home charger, the Taycan can charge at up to 19.2 kW – twice the speed of most EVs.
For this kind of money, should you expect more range? Probably. But, from its chassis setup to its 800-volt electric architecture – and the size of its battery, which would get even heavier with more capacity – the Taycan GTS is about performance first.
Certainly, the design of the Taycan GTS exudes performance. The front bumper is more aggressive and angular, and the side sills are extended, with a sportier look. There are numerous gloss-black highlights, including on the window trim, side skirts, and diffuser. Standard finish on the wheels is black, too.
Inside, the default option is black as well, with black “race-tex” synthetic suede inserts on the seats, on the steering wheel, and other surfaces, but Porsche lets you choose leather, vegan leather, or other finishes if you wish. The biggest change is the front seats, which now feature 18-way power adjustment – they are supremely comfortable and have adjustable side bolsters, lumbar, and thigh support. Get yourself settled into these superb chairs and the seating position is almost exactly the same as you’ll find in Porsche’s 911 sports car.
From a practicality standpoint, the Taycan GTS is no different from any other Taycan: there is plenty of room front and rear, and two trunks – a small one up front good for carry-on bags, and a surprisingly large and deep one in the back. The actual trunk opening in the rear isn’t big – if you’re regularly loading large packages, consider the sport turismo variant instead, which looks fantastic as well as providing some extra practicality.
Like all Taycans, the latest GTS model isn’t a perfect vehicle. Its range isn’t fanatstic compared to the high-end Teslas and Mercedes of the world; the twin touchscreens for the climate control and infotainment are less intuitive than physical controls; and its high-tech interior can feel a little stark, and not that luxurious, given the high price.
On the other hand, if you love to drive, you’ll find a lot here that is seriously engaging on an emotional level. The Taycan – and especially the GTS – has great steering, amazing handling, and incredible power. And they all work together beautifully in a way that only Porsche seems to be able to pull off.
For well-heeled driving enthusiasts, the best thing the Taycan provides is reassurance: that in the electric future, there’s still a lot to look forward to.