While it may not be on the cusp of supplanting Toyota in terms of sales, the Porsche brand has enjoyed relatively consistent growth since 2009. Despite 2020 representing a poor sales year for just about everyone who wasn’t producing vaccines, the German manufacturer weathered the storm better than most and came back to break a few records the following year.
By the end of 2021, Porsche had sold nearly 302,000 vehicles globally. It also managed to break its previous sales records in China and the United States. Considering that global production volumes have remained suppressed by supply chain problems, it was an impressive accomplishment. However, Detlev von Platen, Executive Board Member Sales & Marketing at Porsche AG, believes the automaker can still outdo itself in 2022.
The crew from Stuttgart whipped the covers off new machines at this year’s Auto Show in Los Angeles. In particular, two of them caused necks to snap more quickly than if a famous Hollywood celebrity decided to doff their clothes and streak through the show floor.
We’re still waiting for that to happen, by the way.
As for cars, we’re partial to a new wagon-esque EV and a mid-engined hotshoe.
While Audi, Mercedes-AMG, and other luxury automakers hold performance driving programs at various race tracks across the U.S. and abroad, years ago Porsche decided to take a different tack. Now operating in seven different locations around the world, its Porsche Experience Centers are basically automotive playgrounds that showcase the brand’s performance heritage and contemporary racing efforts while also providing a facility for customers to build out custom specifications in the Personal Design Studio. The most interesting feature of the PECs, though, is the Driver Development Tracks. These purpose-built proving grounds allow drivers to put the capabilities of Porsche’s various vehicles to the test – whether that’s the at-limit handling of a Cayman or the off-road prowess of a Cayenne.
Now that Porsche has committed to Volkswagen Group’s plan for widespread electrification and manufactured its first purpose-built EV, many are starting to make comparisons with Tesla. Like it or not, Porsche’s Taycan is probably the closest competition the Tesla Model S has.
Porsche’s R&D boss, Michael Steiner, doesn’t like the comparison, saying any direct juxtapositions are apples to oranges — even if Tesla’s recent attempts to call out Porsche’s newest model seem contrary to this.
While car fires may not be commonplace, they still happen. Your author saw a Buick Century burning itself into nothing along the West Side Highway not more than three months ago. Local media referenced it as the probable cause for midday delays, but it would have earned its own story had it been a rarer model.
Exotics and electrics garner headlines when they do their best impression of kindling; regular cars only get attention when they’re catching fire en masse. In addition to the warm feeling one gets when learning a car they can’t afford has destroyed itself, there are loads of people who are curious about the dependability of burgeoning technologies. Hypercars are often on the bleeding edge of available tech and are assembled in low volumes. As a result, eyebrows are raised anytime one goes up in smoke for no apparent reason.
Electrics vehicles are in a similar situation. Reportedly poised to take over the world someday, they’ve yet to saturate the market and still stand out wherever they’re parked. Battery fires, which offer the departments tasked with fighting them new challenges, have also become a point of interest after a batch of EVs in Asia turned up the heat.
As one would expect with an electric model, the first iterations of the Porsche Taycan revealed to the public were the high-performing Turbo and Turbo S variants. Hotter models land with a bigger splash (and earn their maker more money), so it was no surprise to see Porsche keep lowlier versions on the back burner. One surprise was the Turbo’s range: 201 miles, drawn from a 93.4 kWh battery pack. Hardly an industry-beating figure, especially for a six-figure car.
Now, the EPA has bestowed a rating on the Turbo’s more muscular sibling, the Turbo S. With an identical battery and extra oomph on tap — 750 horsepower — the Turbo S manages a 192-mile figure. Deal breaker, or irrelevant?
Just the other day, Porsche discussed how excited it was with the number of people placing reservations for its hot new Taycan EV. Unfortunately, that release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the Taycan’s “fuel economy” — a figure that was waiting around the corner to bash Porsche’s shins with a lead pipe.
When the German automaker announced the model, it claimed the electric sedan would offer ranges of up to 280 miles on a single charge using the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The real number came in at 256 miles for WLTP. Since EPA estimates are typically much more conservative than WLTP averages, many expected maximum range to come down substantially once the United States finished testing … and come down it did.
The EPA calculated the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as having a maximum range of 201 miles.
Porsche has taken payments from 30,000 European customers eager to be among the first to drive the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, the Taycan sedan. The number of reservations exceeded the automaker’s expectations, according to CEO Oliver Blume.
It also gives some amount of hope that electric vehicles still have a place in the premium market space. EV sales remain weak and high-end models like Jaguar’s E-Pace and Audi’s e-tron have struggled, though both have suffered supply-related struggles since entering production.
While Porsche’s Taycan has been praised as unquestionably worthy of the Porsche name, it’s also subject to the brand’s (ahem) aggressive pricing structure. Gone are the days when you can purchase a basement-level Porsche 944 for the modern equivalent of $20,000. The cheapest model currently occupying the automaker’s portfolio is the 718, which sets you back 57 grand before you’ve added a single option.
When the Taycan debuted as Porsche’s first purely electric vehicle a number of weeks back, the model’s $150,900 (before destination) MSRP was expected. Porsche rolled out the higher-end “Turbo” trims first, with promises of more budget-minded models to follow. That car arrived today, and it costs $105,150.
After Porsche’s Taycan secured its status as the fastest electric production vehicle ever to grace the Nürburgring, Tesla Motors was keen to steal the title. This evolving rivalry also resulted in Elon Musk tossing some light shade at the German manufacturer over its liberal use of the word “turbo.” What followed were some sedan-based lap records set by the American company at Laguna Seca, which was little more than a distraction from the main event while Tesla got its ducks in a row.
In Nürburg, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S set the highly impressive time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds in August. The following month, Tesla starting running the Model S. This week, reports coming in from Germany claim the American manufacturer set an unofficial time of 7 minutes and 23 seconds. But there are issues with Tesla’s record-breaking run.
The one thing we don’t know about Porsche’s sexy and prohibitively expensive Taycan EV happens to be one of the most important aspects of any electric car: its range. While many of you (read: almost certainly all of you) have no use for the Taycan and couldn’t afford one without a Brinks holdup, the newly revealed model is nonetheless making waves.
Mostly among argumentative nerds, mind you, but bear with us.
Call it pettiness, call it schadenfreude, call it whatever you like, but it’s quite enjoyable watching an established and storied automaker attempt to beat Tesla at its own game. The Fremont, California-based automaker had it coming after years of pencil-snapping pronouncements by its larger-than-life CEO. And maybe there’s some satisfaction to be had on the part of Tesla for creating a segment other rivals want to carve a slice out of.
But about that range…
Perhaps it’s both. After four long years of teasing, Porsche pulled the wraps off its Taycan electric car on Wednesday, lifting the sheet at a glitzy affair overlooking Niagara Falls.
The four-door EV is sleek, sensuous, fast, expensive, and without a doubt Tesla’s worst nightmare. Why mention the chief rival of Porsche’s new offering? Well, because Tesla’s Model S 100D came first, and it’s still a significant money-maker for the hard-pressed automaker. But Porsche is Porsche — status comes standard with each purchase, and the Taycan brings that desirable badge into the growing realm of hot electrics.
So, what does the Taycan offer?
Well, “free” under certain circumstances. We’re referring to the cost of recharging Porsche’s upcoming electric super sedan, and we’re certainly not referring to the time it takes to reach triple-digit speeds.
As it prepares to launch a vehicle that truly deserves the overused title of “Tesla fighter,” Porsche has a perk it wants would-be owners to know about: industry-beating charging speed, at no cost to the operator.
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