Porsche's Taycan Cross Turismo is arguably the market's wildest electric SUV. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Porsche has now long been a company as much about SUVs as sportscars. So it's natural that the brand's EV development should reflect that. The eye watering level of investment needed means that it needs to anyway. Which is why the Taycan range was broadened in 2021 to include this crossover body style, available in both Sport Turismo guise and in this more SUV-like 'Cross Turismo' form.
It might look like something from a Spielberg film and a car that can't quite make up its mind what it wants to be - Porsche doesn't like calling it an 'estate'. But it's likely to be the most popular of the Taycan models going forward and, a little surprisingly, does have a degree of (optional) prowess for limited use off a paved surface. Sounds intriguing.
The Cross Turismo shares the same powertrain options as the normal Taycan, save for the fact that it can't be ordered with two things most customers for this Porsche EV don't tend to want anyway - rear wheel drive and the smaller 79.2kWh battery pack. All variants get the Taycan's usual twin e-motor set-up, with the rear unit driving a 2-speed transmission with a shorter initial ratio optimised for initial acceleration. The standardised 93.4kWh 'Performance Battery Plus' set-up will take the car anywhere between 241 and 283 miles, depending on variant and the conditions. Though not if you exercise your right foot as you'll be tempted to.
All derivatives are almost indecently fast for anything proporting to be an SUV. Even the base 4 Cross Turismo variant has 476PS and gets to 62mph in just 5.1s en route to 137mph. The 571PS 4S version improves those stats to 4.1s and 149mph. Both the Turbo and the Turbo S variants develop a standard 625PS, but also feature a Launch Control feature that for short periods can boost that to 680PS on the Turbo and as much as 762PS on the Turbo S, the latter as a consequence able to demolish the 0-62mph sprint in just 2.9s.
A must-have in our view is the 'Off Road Design Package', which adds an extra 'gravel' drive mode and an extra 10mm of ride height, so you can make assertive progress down the kind of light, unpaved roads that would damage an ordinary Taycan. You'll unsettle your passengers if you do that though; there's no 'comfort'-orientated 'chassis' mode and you can expect a firm feel.
Design and Build
You can have this crossover-style Taycan design in two forms. We tested the more SUV-like Cross Turismo model. The alternative is the Sport Turismo model, basically the same car but without side cladding or raised suspension.
Our focus here, as I've said, is on the Cross Turismo variant, which sits 20mm higher off the ground than the standard Taycan Sports Saloon (or 30mm higher with the 'Off-Road Design Package' fitted, as on our test car). Both the Sport and Cross Turismo models have a nose section differentiated from that of the ordinary four-door Taycan by a specific front apron.
The unusual profile's defined by a sporty flyline that slopes towards the rear, ending in high-gloss black fixed roof spoiler. Enhanced wheel arch trims are intended to underline this model's sporty crossover character. And as on the saloon, there are flat door handles that are flush with the doors and pop out electrically when required.
Inside, as you would expect, things are much as with the Taycan Sports Saloon, though a compass mounted on the top of the dashboard is optionally available to give more of an SUV vibe. As in the conventional model, wing-shaped upper and lower sections of the fascia stretch across the entire width of the cabin and a freestanding curved instrument cluster forms the highest point of the dash. A central 10.9-inch infotainment display and a further, optional, front passenger display combine to form an integrated glass band in a black panel look. The main changes with this Cross Turismo though, are at the back where the modified roofline enables rear seat passengers to enjoy 47mm more headroom. And of course the boot is bigger, increased from 407-litres on the saloon to 446-litres here - or 1,212-litres when the rear seat backrests are folded forward. As on the Sports Saloon, there's also an additional 84-litre front 'frunk' compartment.
Market and Model
There are four Taycan Cross Turismo model choices, your options kicking off with the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo which from launch, was priced at around £82,000 and, like all versions of this SUV model, features AWD and Porsche's largest 93.4kWh 'Performance Battery Plus' Pack. The faster 4S Cross Turismo costs around £88,000. For the '4' and the '4S', there's not too much of a p[rice premium over the equivalent Taycan Sports Saloon once you fit that sedan out with this SUV model's 'Performance Battery Plus' Pack.
If you can afford to move up to the two Turbo variants, there's the 'Turbo' version (which costs around £118,000) and the Turbo S (which costs around £140,000). Save some extra budget for the optional 'Off-Road Design Package'. There's a special rear bike carrier available too.
As you'd expect, it's possible to spend a further fortune on the options list - which you'll need to do if you want all of the handling systems the brand offers. As you'd expect, there's also a whole portfolio of available camera and radar-driven safety and autonomous driving tech. Most Taycan Cross Turismo owners will want Adaptive Cruise Control, which works particularly well as part of the Porsche InnoDrive system. This can look ahead for up to two miles as you drive using radar and sensor feedback plus predictive GPS data before then modifying speed and gearshift strategy to better suit the speed limits, topographic road features and traffic flow you're likely to encounter. 'Active Lane Keeping', 'Traffic jam Assist', 'Lane Change Assist' and 'Night Vision Assist' features are also available.
Cost of Ownership
You'll be wanting to know about WLTP driving range. Well it's some way off what you'd get from a comparable Tesla Model X. The exact figure depends on your model variant choice, though all versions are fitted with Porsche's larger 93kWh 'Performance Battery Plus'. The base Taycan 4 Cross Turismo variant will take you 242-283 miles; the Taycan 4S Cross Turismo manages 241-281 miles. For the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, it's 245-281 miles. The Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo will take you 241-260 miles.
The key difference with this EV over most of its rivals lies in its 800-volt power supply, which is double that normally seen with electric cars and is based on tech trialled by Porsche in its Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid race car. The idea here is that by pushing up voltage, you can drop the current without affecting power output. Lower current means faster charging times. Using a three-phase 11kWh wallbox, replenishment will take around 9 hours; a more common 7.2kW garage wallbox not requiring a three-phase supply would take slightly longer. Porsche is keen to talk of the Taycan Cross Turismo's peak charging capacity of 270kW, which theoretically means that the 93kWh battery can be recharged from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes: that's at an 800-volt charging station. Currently, there are two of those in the UK... A more easily located 400-volt public charging station will take about an hour and a half to do the same thing - providing you pay Porsche extra for the optional on-board booster which increases the car's standard charging peak from 50kW to 150kW.
If you're choosing a Taycan because it's a more practical version of what an electric 911 might be like, then you'll probably like the Taycan Cross Turismo even more. It manages to feel both involving and commanding to drive and, like the standard Taycan, is stupendously quick in its faster forms. Also like the standard Taycan though, it's EV range figures are some way from the class best.
But since a typical owner will have several other combustion sports luxury models in his or her oak-timbered garage, that shouldn't matter much. Of greater importance is whether the dawn-of-time looks represent the statement you want to make at the golf club. If you're happy with that, make sure you tick the 'Off-Road Design Package' option, a must-have if said club is at the end of the kind of rutted track that might ruin a conventional Taycan. Actually, a drive in one of these might ruin a conventional Taycan for you. In many ways, it's the next stage on.