Describe the sound of gravel bouncing off the underside of a rally car. Tapping? A jingle? Like a rattle? Something like a tapping? You may not quite define it, but hey, it’s a secondary noise, something soft and half lost behind a wall of sound coming from a raging four-cylinder engine.
Now remove the soundtrack from the gasoline engine. Stepping on the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo it is somewhat akin to facing an instantaneous and very aggressive hailstorm. A bombardment. A machine gun. These are the words that I would use, like Chris, the cameraman, did when he was hit by a stone on the head. Almost knocked him down …
And it is that the gravel is hostile; spreads like buckshot and when the weapon used to fire these abundant projectiles develops 1,050 Nm, it has what a ballistics expert would probably call “a good range.” My classmates should have come in bulletproof suits …
The Cross Turismo has a mode called Gravel which raises the air suspension body by 30mm, adjusts torque distribution, throttle response and, in Porsche’s words, gives the Cross Turismo “greater capabilities on bad roads.”
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But otherwise, the ingredients are similar to those of the normal Taycan. The same engines that develop the same power (476, 571, 680 and 761 hp), same 93 kWh battery pack, identical chassis, the same range of four models with the Turbo S at the top, even the same suspension with adaptive air springs and four-wheel steering. Changes are limited to new wheel mounts, strut mounts, and a revised self-leveling system.
This is one of those cars in which the result is more than the sum of its original parts
I mean, you thought you knew what to expect from Audi Allroad by Porsche, but in electric: a slightly taller Taycan with a larger boot. Which it is, but it is also more than that. Much more. The best electric car of the last 12 months, which is why we have given it the award for the best electric car in the Top Gear Electric Awards in 2021.
For price of 171,906 euros, the Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S It is also probably the most expensive electric car that has gone on sale in the last 12 months (although I don’t really think this is the most appetizing of the range: the 4S of 114,508 euros is the best option for me).
The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo that has lit 2021 with its know-how rides wonderfully. More than wonderfully. Like a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, in its smoothest modes, the Cross Turismo isn’t afraid of its weight. It does not flinch on roads, you float on the asphalt with a serene movement of the suspension. This is the most important and in many ways impressive aspect of the car.
The regular Taycan always feels uptight, ready to prove it’s a sports Porsche. This one knows how to relax. Silence comes not only from the engines, but from everywhere. Noise and vibrations have been banished. With the sole exception of tire noise, the Cross Turismo stands out for its comfort.
It moves effortlessly, carrying speed with ease, lightness and dexterity – the kind of speed that leaves passengers with no idea how fast they are traveling. Does it matter that it lacks V8 engines? Less and less, I think. I quite enjoy the propulsion sound of the Porsche, but more than that I enjoy the precise and proportionate throttle response.
It is a wonderfully fluid car on any road for any type of driving. I already said it when I told you about my driving sensations in this test of the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo: acceleration can be agonizing. The kind that makes passengers gulp while suddenly and uncontrollably clinging to whatever they have on hand.
In short, it is a fast, safe, smooth, quiet and enormously satisfying way to get around the roads of the Elan Valley, Wales.
The next day the whole team went to the Sweet Lamb Rally Complex (web). And it blew me away. An electric crossover shouldn’t be able to do what this one did on a gravel rally stage. With the stability control deactivated, he could play with the brakes to make it turn like a racing car. It looked like it was going to slide over the surface, but it always found a way to send traction to the Pirelli P Zero. P Zero, no mud or gravel tires.
The Cross Turismo delivered the performance you’d expect from a true rally car
The only downside to electric power is that it is difficult to know how much you are using. Especially when the wheels are turning. The signals you get from a gasoline that indicate how hard it is working, what traction it has … That just isn’t there. But with that little exception, the Cross Turismo got the performance you’d expect from a rally model.
Let’s call this extreme research. We made it so you don’t have to go through it. We actually spent a whole day doing this, draining as much battery as we could before going through a 50kW fast charger 50km away. Except for a touch on one of the liners and a few scratches on the rims, he was unscathed. After a day of heavy impacts, flying slate shards, airborne wheels, skidding, and downright dirty use and abuse, he returned home as easily as he got there.
Let’s talk about practicality. If you want it, you have it. The 420-liter boot is deep, but with a peculiar shape and somewhat narrow; The tailgate’s rake and loading height mean it’s not suitable for carrying your dog, as it is.
But there’s 34mm of extra headroom inside and that makes all the difference, doubling the feeling of space even though there’s no more legroom.
The driving position, the seats, the quality or the design at the front cannot be faulted either. It’s attractive and easy to use, something that seems to be increasingly rare these days of screens, menus, and sub-menus.
The less good part is that you have to charge it. Think of a range of about 320 real km and consider that you may not have the possibility of finding a suitable charging point, as happened to me back from the rally complex. The one next to my house was repaired two days before the Taycan arrived: of course it was still not working. Another attempt at an Ionity point in the town of Chippenham, which refused to recognize the car for several increasingly tense minutes. The last attempt, a BP Pulse in Llandrindod did not recognize any of my credit cards.
But behind this is an electric car that is the best on the market. And a bigger truth: the Cross Turismo is further from the Taycan than I expected. The Taycan, as a sports car, is brilliant, but it also reminds you of everything you miss from a conventional sports car.
This, with a more outdoor-focused family mission, runs smoother, has a wider horizon, and yet can deliver 99 percent of the Taycan’s driveability. And in places the base model can’t even come close to. What a device.
This article was published in Top Gear by Luis Guisado