Car reviews - Porsche - Taycan - GTS
Combines compelling performance and on-road comfort with aplomb; engaging but unintimidating handling, tremendous stopping power, but with a natural brake feel
Room for improvement
Rear accommodation cramped for taller occupants; stands up well to track use, but be mindful of your (rapidly depleting) charge level; quicker than it needs to be?
Near-perfect balance of a traditional driving experience with stonking electric shove
5 Jul 2022
PORSCHE has bolstered the line-up of its Taycan model with the addition of a ‘GTS’ variant that offers improved dynamics and comfort, distinctive styling, plus blistering performance.
The GTS is widely regarded as the ‘sweet spot’ variant of whichever Porsche range it adorns… and there are quite a few of them. In the case of the Taycan GTS, the variant is distinguished by a blacked-out theme – inside and out – as well as its evocative badging.
Other blacked-out elements include the 20-inch Turbo S Aero Design wheels, front apron, rear diffuser, and assorted trim pieces.
While its powertrain, chassis and suspension are shared with some other Taycan variants, the GTS incorporates various tweaks aimed at providing sportier handling and improved comfort over its siblings. It’s an odd combo, because comfort and performance are usually mutually exclusive.
Porsche premiered the Taycan GTS alongside the 911 GTS at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November last year, which was also when it opened its order books for the model.
The Taycan GTS comes in at $241,900, plus on-road costs (ORCs) for Australian buyers; it slots in between the lower-spec 4S ($198,800) and bonkers Turbo ($281,900) variants.
Demand for the Taycan has so far been strong, Porsche Cars Australia says, with many existing GTS owners waiting for the electric range to score the badge.
“Those customers that really want a GTS, and perhaps are existing GTS customers, those people have been waiting,” the firm’s head of public relations, Chris Jordan, said.
When asked whether the Taycan GTS was generating the same demand as its petrol-sipping 911 GTS stablemate, Porsche Cars Australia confirmed it was pretty neck-and-neck, but buyers are likely to get a Taycan earlier than its 911 equivalent.
Early buyers are already receiving their new cars, but for anyone ordering now, PCA says that they’re likely to take delivery of their Taycan GTS in early- to mid-next year.
“The cars are just arriving now, after we opened the order book when the world premiere happened,” said Mr Jordan.
“The Taycan GTS will be here next year for buyers, but we urge people to go to their local Porsche Centre, because it does change a lot.”
Porsche went to great lengths to ensure the Taycan performs and drives like a ‘true Porsche’, rather than other EV options that offer one-pedal driving.
“What we’ve tried to do all along is make sure this car is genuinely a true Porsche sportscar and a genuine part of the range, not an outlier,” said Mr Jordan.
This much is evident: the new Taycan GTS may well be the most versatile Taycan yet.
The GTS shares the same 800V system as the rest of the all-wheel-drive Taycan range; it is said to offer 485km of range and, of course, the same savage all-electric power.
The GTS produces 380kW/850Nm under normal operation, but 440kW on ‘overboost’, which is more than the 4S’ 320W, but less than the Turbo’s 460kW or 680kW on overboost.
A motor at each axle means that drive is apportioned to all four wheels, but Porsche utilises a two-speed transmission at the rear to aid off-the-mark acceleration. In fact, during normal driving the front motor remains mostly de-energised, which helps to extend the range due to reduced drag.
The Taycan GTS is said to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds and it’ll top out at 250kmh – if you’re game taking it that far.
When pulling out of Queensland’s Norwell Motorplex, where the GTS road drive started and ended, we were instantly reminded of how sickeningly quick the Taycan is off the mark.
On public roads, right foot restraint is needed because, despite the Taycan being an easy car to drive sedately, it can accelerate like a plummeting roller coaster if required.
The Taycan reminds you to be cognisant of the ‘boot-to-brain delay’, because it all happens pretty damn quickly once you start winding those motors out.
Give it a big boot-load of throttle and, while it’s fast, the Taycan GTS isn’t as blindingly quick as the range-topping Turbo S. What it does offer, however, is a considered blend of the Turbo S’ performance focus with the 4S’ ride- and occupant comfort.
From the traffic lights, not much is going to get near the all-wheel-drive Taycans, but Porsche has dialled the performance of the GTS down to a less-insane level compared with the Turbo options. It’s still bloody quick, though.
Porsche’s Race-Tex interior package, with various GTS-specific black leather trim accents, makes for a suitably performance-oriented feel. The suede-like Race-tex is a high-quality microfibre, and in the Taycan GTS it’s been liberally applied throughout the cabin.
Unlike most BEVs, the Taycan doesn’t feel like it’s ‘all screen’ inside. Instead, it features dual screens plus a vertical centre screen, to split up functionality. There is still a fair bit of digital display going on, but it somehow doesn’t feel overwhelming, due to the simple interfaces.
Porsche’s Sport Chrono Package is also fitted as standard, which further adds to the sporting feel and incorporates the particularly useful drive-mode switch on the steering ‘wheel.
The Sport Chrono Package adds a pleasantly analogue feel, which seems suitable in a GTS variant, with a beautiful clock (with a stopwatch function) in the centre of the dash. The speedo, rev-counter, and all important onboard information, are all digitally displayed.
Being a four door, there’s sufficient space for five adults, though taller rear occupants may feel a bit cramped. Meanwhile, a claimed 491-litre storage capacity further adds to the touring potential of the Taycan GTS – there’s ample cabin storage for loose items too.
GTS variants are renowned for offering ‘extra sportiness but with impressive comfort for daily use’ and the moniker premiered on the endurance race-ready 904 GTS in 1963.
Impressively, the Taycan GTS ticks both boxes and looks good while doing it, which was apparent within the first half-an-hour of semi-spirited driving.
Acceleration, braking and, to a slightly lesser degree, cornering, are all mind-bending for a two-plus-tonne car. That part isn’t shocking.
The adaptive air suspension takes care of ride and handling with aplomb; it offers constant changes to ‘spring rates’ in fractions of a second, which, when coupled with Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM), nails the ‘performance with added comfort’ brief.
Even with the Sport Plus drive mode engaged, the air suspension, specifically adapted for the GTS, absorbed some pretty harsh bumps without disrupting a single vertebra.
On the road, the Taycan GTS is incredibly refined when left in Eco or Normal drive modes, but when you twist the dial to Sport or Sport Plus, the throttle responses become sharper and regenerative-braking effect increases.
The regenerative braking, while being powerful, mimics traditional engine braking and isn’t over the top, even with Sports Plus mode engaged.
While other electric carmakers have opted for a one-pedal driving experience, which scrubs off speed as if braking, Porsche appreciates ‘lifting’ doesn’t always mean you want to stop.
Big brakes provide a typical high-performance brake feel, with the Taycan being equipped with huge 6-piston (front) and 4-piston (rear) monobloc stoppers, but together with the powertrain’s regenerative efforts, the GTS pulls up with anger.
What Porsche has managed to achieve is a traditional driving experience, but with instant torque (so integral to all-electric motoring) reminding you there is not a piston in sight.
You might expect the absence of noise to be the most obvious detractor, in terms of driving experience, but this is not the case thanks to tweaked acoustics.
Porsche has added an improved sound profile to the Taycan GTS, with its Electric Sport Sound that can be toggled on or off. We mostly left it on because, while subtle, it offers a surprisingly encouraging whirr, which is intoxicating in itself.
The two-speed transmission fitted to the rear axle also offers an audible shift as it swaps cogs, adding to the mechanical noise and overall sensation of speed.
With the faux sports sound silenced, the Taycan GTS cabin is whisper-quiet, but you’re still reminded of its performance-focus with that Sports Chrono package, particularly the Race-Tex covered steering wheel.
The low seating position and sports seats serve as reminders that you’re in a Porsche, but they’re sufficiently comfortable while offering body-hugging bolstering for when you want to ‘generate some g-force’.
By the time you have worked your way up to Sports Plus mode, the sense of urgency is arguably more than anybody could really use on the road, which is why we ended the drive with a healthy amount of track time to properly test the Taycan’s performance chops.
The Taycan makes more sense on a track than we expected it would; it offers blistering acceleration out of corners in conjunction with supercar-like stopping power.
Norwell is a pretty demanding track, but the Taycan GTS felt composed, although probably a bit overpowered for the technical layout.
It doesn’t feel like a 2,295kg car in the corners, with minimal body roll despite its heft, thanks in part to the air suspension firming right up when handling demands intensify.
Handling is incredibly direct, and it steers like a Porsche should, with more feedback than we’ve come to expect of battery-electric vehicles.
Even when braking about as hard as we could, the GTS remained flat and entered corners confidently with loads of lateral grip, before hitting what felt like warp speed thereafter.
Use too much right foot enthusiasm out of corners and the Taycan will provide ‘feedback’, to let you know what you’ve done ‘wrong’, before tightening things back up for you.
It seems we aren’t the only ones who have come to appreciate the GTS’ potential on-track; Porsche Cars Australia says more track-focused owners are opting for the Taycan...
“One of our Porsche Centres held a track day and invited 30 to 40 of their owners who like to do track work – five of them rocked up in their Taycans,” explained Mr Jordan.
After completing hard laps at Norwell, the test unit’s brakes seemed merely warm – the Taycan GTS was ready for more! This shows just how much those electric motors are assisting when hard on the anchors, despite the brake feel mimicking that of, say, a 911.
Battery capacity, however, did plummet once the hot laps began. But that’s to be expected, most owners may contend that it’s well worth rapidly depleting the battery once in a while.
On-road, the Taycan GTS is comfortable and refined, but still doesn’t hide from its Porsche sporting roots with its performance-focused interior.
Once out on the track, the Taycan arguably offers more performance potential than most owners are ever likely to exploit. Suffice to say this Taycan variant well and truly deserves the Gran Turismo Sport moniker, because it feels like ‘a true GTS’ within the range.
The Taycan GTS is the ‘best of both worlds’ model for Porsche GTS fans and those who want a ‘sweet spot’ Taycan option that can tour in comfort, but also drive at ten-tenths on track.
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