Payne: Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. OMG Speedwagon.

Posted by Talbot Payne on September 8, 2022

Charlevoix — On a vacant country road south of this small north Michigan burg, I initiated launch control in my all-electric, Mamba Green, 2022 Taycan GTS Sport Turismo wagon by simultaneously flattening the brake and accelerator pedals. Just like a Porsche 911 sports car.

I released the brake, and the all-wheel-drive GTS exploded forward like a Cedar Point amusement ride, crushing my rib cage into the seatback. “GEE-SUS!” was the universal reaction of everyone I took for a ride. Just like a Porsche 911. Sixty mph went by in just 3.5 seconds before I entered an ess turn, Taycan hugging the road courtesy of a battery powertrain mounted low in the chassis. Just like the flat-six engine in a 911.

Coveted by Porsche-philes, Taycan sold over 9,000 units in the 2021 sales year. Just like a Porsche 911.

In a luxury EV market dominated by King Tesla, Porsche is the only brand to have made a significant dent. The Tesla Model 3, for example, outsold the #2 sedan in class, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, 128,600 units to (ahem) 1,766 last year. The compact Model Y SUV outsold the Ford Mustang Mach-E: 172,700 to 27,140.

Taycan was the only vehicle to outsell Tesla in class: besting the Model S sedan by 9,419 units to 9,100.

The electric rocket also outsold Porsche’s gas-powered sedan, the Panamera, by 3:1. No doubt that’s because Taycan is the latest “It” thing from a fashionable brand. But I sense Taycan also has sex appeal that (the plenty capable) Panamera has struggled to achieve.

I’ve raced Porsches, owned Porsches, put the 911 on a pedestal as the best sports car on the planet. But I haven’t bonded with Panamera, the brand’s first sedan/wagon. Maybe because it looks like an overstuffed 911. Maybe because it’s powered by front-mounted, V-shaped engines (heresy!), not rear, horizontally-opposed, flat-cylinder engines. Maybe because of its cluttered center console.

The 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo can hit 155 mph, and go 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Staying charged is more of a challenge, with just 233 miles of range.

By contrast, I’m smitten by Porsche’s second sedan/wagon entry because of its aforementioned attributes. Ask anyone who’s driven one. It’s the best handling EV on the market, period. My 911 pal Jon had to be pried out by 10 men.

Where Panamera always felt like it was trying (like the ungainly Cayenne SUV) to force sports car looks into a sedan wrapper, Taycan has its own design signature — while retaining Porsche’s crucial brand DNA.

The styling is stunning. The front end is more sportscar-ish (no front engine) than Panamera, and framed by unique horizontal headlights. They make Taycan look lean, menacing. Out back, the wagon’s hatch tapers elegantly between Simba-like muscular hips, punctuated by a 911-inspired horizontal taillight spanning the rear deck. This vision sits on Porsche J1 skateboard chassis, making for a low center of gravity and thrilling cornering capabilities despite the car’s 5,200-pound girth — 500 pounds more than the comparable Panamera GTS Sport Turismo.

Necks swiveled wherever I went. At a Charlevoix cross walk, a family walked by before the dad finally stopped in his tracks, staring. GTS OMG.

The 590-horse GTS Sport Turismo is the sweet spot of Taycan beauty, performance and utility. Slotted between the Taycan sedan and insane 2.4-second-zero-60, 750-horse Turbo S, the GTS (like a 911 GTS) brings a more handling-focused package with sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires, tightened suspension and SPORT PLUS mode that makes a futuristic flat-6 sound (I could do without it. I love the 911’s glorious, flat-6 wail, but if you’re going electric, give me an electric motor shriek).

The clean, spare interior of the 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo includes two dash screens - one for driver, one for passenger.

The wagon then adopts the hatchback from the Cross Turismo Taycan crossover — sans fender cladding for a sleek, simple aesthetic.

The spare elegance continues inside. Under a panoramic roof is a TV store of screens — not a button in sight. The dominate piece is the hoodless, curved boomerang-shaped instrument display. It’s as lovely as the first day I saw it at the Taycan’s 2019 Niagara Falls unveiling — though its novelty has worn off as other curved displays from Cadillac and Mercedes have come to market.

Draped over 21-inch RS Spyder wheels, the Mamba Green 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo looks ready to rock.

In Porsche tradition, the ignition is a button on the left dash (so you can fire up the beast as you jump into the driver’s seat like Le Mans racers of old). In fact, you only use the button to turn the car off with a loooong hold like a smartphone. Taycan comes to life automatically (with key in my pocket) as I step on the brake pedal.

Everything is simple. The electronic shifter has been reduced to a chicklet-sized toggle on the dash, freeing up the center console for a haptic touchscreen. Climate controls and charging info are accessed here — freeing the infotainment screens (there are two — one for driver, one for passenger) to do infotainment stuff like Sirius XM and Android Auto navigation.

Speaking of navigation, Taycan’s biggest shortcoming compared to Panamera is road trips.

Given its sales numbers, most Porsche sedan buyers apparently drive local. But hit the road to Charlevoix from my Oakland County domicile and Taycan is notably thin on self-driving tech. Herr Payne, zis ist ein Porsche. I am meant to be driven!

And then there’s the EV range issue. Panamera’s 400 miles of gas-powered range (enough to make the 500-mile round trip in a single stop) is a clear advantage (buy a Panamera E-Hybrid and that range extends to 464 miles).

On the trip north to Charlevoix, Payne stopped twice at Electrify America chargers to fill up on electrons. Each stop added about 120 miles in 30 minutes compared to, say, a gas Porsche Panamera that can add that in 2 minutes.

After years of taking my Tesla Model 3 and other EVs north, I’ve settled on a two-stop strategy at Bay City and Gaylord fast chargers. Featuring a 800-volt platform (superior to a 400-volt Model 3 or Mach-E), Taycan should be able to charge at over 250 kilowatts at a 350 kW EA charger.

But I-75 EA chargers on this trip only let me charge at 115 kW, negating the $160K Porsche’s advantage. I sat at Bay City and Gaylord Meijer parking lots for 25 minutes each filling GTS to 80% of charge. Go joy riding in Charlevoix (guilty as charged) and you’ll need to go to, say, the local Ford dealer to charge on a 240-volt unit for a few hours. I like to pack a bicycle in the back of EV SUVs for the trip back to the charger — but the narrow (hey, you want those sexy Simba hips, dontcha?) Sport Turismo hatch requires I take off the bike’s front wheel.

Such are the compromises one makes for EVs.

So you can keep your Taycan caged in Metro Detroit for local commutes. Or you can explore this state’s glorious country roads testing the limits of this low slung, 626-torque rocket ship and its laugh-out-loud launch control capability.

Just like a 911.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Vehicle type: Battery-powered, all-wheel-drive four-passenger SUV

Price: $137,450, including $1,450 destination fee ($161,470 as tested)

Powerplant: 83.7 kWh lithium-ion battery with twin, electric-motor drive

Power: 590 horsepower, 626 pound-feet torque

Transmission: Single-speed direct drive/front axle and two-speed/rear axle

Performance: 0-60 mph, 3.5 seconds (mfr.); top speed, 155 mph

Weight: 5,152 pounds

Fuel economy: EPA MPGe 80 combined: range, 233 miles

Report card

Highs: Head-turning looks; electrifying performance

Lows: Lacks self-driving tech; road-trip charger blues

Overall: 4 stars

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

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