This is it then, the first pure electric Porsche - a car that's been very, very long in the works and one that, if it lives up to the hype, could be as significant to the brand as the original 911. Or the Cayenne at least - this is new era stuff, after all. Even if we put aside the fact that it's the first EV Porsche for one second and consider only the performance on offer, the Taycan is so clearly a leap forward that direct comparison with any existing model seems futile. Obviously there's no flat-six or V8 aboard - but because there isn't, Porsche says it has the lowest centre of gravity of any series production car it's ever made. And it has 761hp in Turbo S format (yes - weirdly, the regular nomenclature is retained), which, excluding the 918, puts it in a league of its own. Ditto the way that power gets to the ground, which is so far removed from any other Porsche that it must be considered 'all-new' in the most comprehensive way.
Evidently, the brand is concerned not just with the prospect of launching its first proper EV - but one that sets the bar for such machines. This, you'd imagine, was the intention from day one; especially with the enormous head start Tesla enjoys when it comes to high-powered, usable electric cars. PH can report that its all-guns-blazing zeal is not conthe new car first-hand - albeit from the passenger seat in a pre-production model. The numbers though, are worth covering off: case in point, the powertrain's prodigious output is somewhat overshadowed by the Taycan's use of an 800-volt system architecture, the first to be fitted to a production car and double that of the Tesla Model S and pretty much everything else expected to charge from the plug.
With such voltage, Porsche's twin-motor machine promises massive performance, great usability and multiple years of future proofing. The Turbo S offers 774lb ft of instant torque for a 0-124mph sprint time of 9.8 seconds, while the 680hp/627lb ft Turbo can recharge all 650kg-worth of its 396 floor-located cells (stacked in 33 modules) to 80 per cent of their 279-mile range in 22.5 minutes - and still hit 124mph in 10.6 seconds. It takes five minutes to go from empty to 62 miles-worth of range, or, if you've only a regular 50kW charger to hand, 1.5 hours to brim it. The Turbo S is set to have near identical charge times, with its range rated at 257 miles. Those stats are inevitably only possible when the charging hardware is supplied with its maximum of 270kW, the figure provided by Porsche's home charging docks. These will be offered alongside the car, and - in Europe at least - at Ionity-run public locations which are specifically made for Porsches (much like Tesla's Superchargers). For UK buyers the wait for the charger network to catch up will be longer - there are currently just two Ionity Porsche chargers in the UK, both in the south east - but 38 are said to be planned for next year. The manufacturer also points to the 400 150kW chargers that BP Chargemaster plans to roll out by 2021. Failing that, power can be supplied by a regular domestic wall socket as well - should you have much, much more time on your hands.
Drive for the 2,295kg Taycan is supplied to all four wheels via two motors, one on each axle. Both are permanently excited synchronous motors (an exotic choice for a production car) that share their casing with pulse-controlled invertors, with the motor on the rear also benefitting from two speeds. Not only does the setup give both the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S 161mph top speeds, it ensures the motors offer the highest kW per litre density of any EV powertrain. This is possible thanks to Porsche's use of innovative hairpin wound coils, which, in layman's terms, means that they are more tightly packed to offer more power and torque from the same space - sort of like a higher compression combustion engine. With the twin-speed rear axle, more of that energy is available for longer.
Using two motors and floor-mounted batteries within a four-door body has helped engineers achieve a 51:49 per cent front to rear weight distribution for the Taycan, which measures 4,959mm long, 1,958mm wide and stands 1,380mm high, making it almost as large as a Panamera. Yet thanks to the tight packaging of the innards, the floor underneath is flat and, combined with the sculpted aluminium body, gives the car a drag coefficient of just 0.22. There are two boots, by the way, with 82 litres of space in the front and 400 litres in the back. Additionally, to emphasise the fact that this is a true four-seater, there are a couple of gaps in the battery-packed floor to create rear footwells, while the chassis gets three-chamber air springs as standard to deal with the weight of the car plus adults. The suspension - which has technical similarities to the weight-hiding hardware of the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid - is continuously adaptive (PASM), too, and comes as part of Porsche's so-called 4D Chassis Control, which synchronises torque vectoring, damping rates and roll stabilisation.
Consequently, even from the wrong seat of a development car, the Taycan has a real quality to the way it moves. The overt elasticity of the torque delivery lunging from the twin motors is also among the obvious first impressions; our demo driver - one of the car's engineers no less - wasting no time in demonstrating an organ-shifting flat-out launch. Impressively, the Taycan can do these launches over and over again thanks to its ultra-effective cooling systems, something that sets it apart from its current rivals. And despite its significant mass, the natural deceleration from the car's energy recuperation tech - it amounts to 0.4 G alone - means the brakes have a far easier time than normal. In fact, 90 per cent of normal braking scenarios are said to be handled without the use of the actual brakes, although stamping on them will slow the Taycan with 1.4 G of deceleration - which might have helped in making the Taycan an EV Nurburgring record-breaker. Sitting in a Taycan that is being driven around a test track like an all-wheel drive drift car is honestly mind bending, with our all-wheel steering (an optional feature) development car quite happy to enter corners at considerable yaw angles and equally impressive speeds. There's so much torque and traction on offer it feels like the Taycan could haul itself out of scenarios that would be far trickier to save in anything else - and more importantly, it seems to do so seamlessly.
The flatness with which the Taycan corners is of little surprise, what with Porsche's familiar anti-roll tech marshalling the body - and with such a low centre of gravity it feels like there's no lateral movement at all. We're told the balance is set to mimic the 911, rather than Panamera, and judging by our driver's use of the pedals, we'd hedge that the Taycan is most rewarding when the great commitment is followed with an instant dose of throttle - and the satisfaction is genuinely enhanced by the acoustically-boosted electric motor sounds, which are not fake but rather microphone-supplied from within each motor's casings. The soundtrack is part Formula E, part space craft - a combination which actually works. Our test pilot explained that it's useful, too, particularly in low grip scenarios, when the sound of raised revs is often noticed before a slide begins.
On first impression, then, it would appear that - at the very least - Porsche has built a car of enormous capability. The way the Taycan combines massive performance with smart design, a high-tech cabin, and an anticipated running cost of 28 cents (Euros) per kWh with an eight-year or 99,500-mile battery warranty - not to mention 30,000 orders already in the bag - suggests that Porsche's first go at fully electric is well placed to turn the premium end of the industry on its head. Or at least it ought to, so long as things match up from the driver's seat. Only a few more weeks to wait before we find out if they do.
The Taycan configurator is already live, too - have a go here.