Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo 2022 review – a brilliant drive, and not just 'for an EV'
The Taycan GTS is the best EV yet in both saloon and Sport Turismo forms. The numbers are still big, but Porsche has gone some way to cracking electric performance car enigma
Most of us have come to know what Porsche’s GTS lineage stands for: a focus on vehicle dynamics while deferring in terms of sheer horsepower to the most powerful in the range; a unique look, but nothing as drastic as changes to the overall body-in-white, and a wealth of standard equipment, either for a keen price or perhaps in a combination that can’t otherwise be ordered. At its best, it’s given us some of the very finest Porsches, such as the 997.2 Carrera GTS. Now the treatment has been applied to the Taycan.
This is hardly surprising given that the Taycan is proving such a runaway sales success, it’s already the biggest selling Porsche in the UK, one of its biggest markets. The GTS sits between the 4S models and the Turbo (and Turbo S), and the easiest way to understand this is to look at the numbers. The 4S generates a maximum of 563hp, the Turbo and Turbo S 671bhp and 751bhp respectively. The GTS has 590bhp. But of more interest is how that power is delivered, because the GTS uses the full-house electric motor on the rear axle, but a weaker one at the front. What that means, in crude terms, is that it’s effectively much more rear-driven than the Turbo and Turbo S models, with the resulting effect on the car’s handling characteristics.
Porsche engineers refer to the Turbo S as the power monster for the autobahn, but when it comes to driving, this is the one they’re excited about. The GTS also boasts the best range of the Taycan lineup at 313-miles from a full charge, but it’s worth noting that this has been achieved through a new version of the car’s operating software, which is being rolled out across all Taycan models. However, given those other models haven’t been homologated with the new software, Porsche can’t claim the revised figures for them (some of which would be higher still), so the GTS wears that particular crown for now.
As for the suspension, the GTS has 20 percent stiffer anti-roll bars front and rear, and higher spring rates, while the three-chamber air suspension setup now uses all three chambers only for Normal mode, with Sport and Sport Plus both reverting to a single chamber, unlike the 4S. The optional PDCC active anti-roll bars and rear-wheel steering have also been configured to suit, and the cars we’ve driven had both those options fitted, while the steering takes on a different feel given the changes to the suspension. There are new 21-inch GTS rims too, some 5kg a set lighter than the existing 21-inch Mission E rim, while if you do order those 21s you get a sportier tyre over the more range-biased rubber fitted to the 20-inch wheels the car comes with as standard.
Spotting a GTS is fairly easy too, given the amount of black trim and the Sport Design body kit they will all come with. Inside it’s awash with Porsche’s Race-tex upholstery (akin to Alcantara) and there’s also the option of a new panoramic roof, too, that can switch from clear to opaque at the press of a button.
So, there’s a strong hint of the ICE-powered GT cars in the cabin, and it certainly looks the part from the outside, but does the GTS actually provide any more additional driver entertainment over more expensive Taycans? The first thing to say is that you won’t feel short-changed in performance terms. It may ‘only’ offer up to 590bhp, but that’s enough for 0-61mph in just 3.7-seconds, and as ever with an EV, that huge slug of instant torque is more than enough to compress your innards in a deeply unpleasant/exciting fashion.
As you might expect, the GTS feels indecently rapid on the public road. The Turbo and Turbo S models provide a stronger kick again, but there’s nothing wrong with the way the GTS picks up instantly and heads ferociously to the horizon in the manner so typical of EVs. It also features a louder and unique ‘artificial engine noise’ in the cabin, which can at times sound to my ear a little like a V10 at low revs, as in the subtle resonant tones of the old C6-gen Audi S6. It also has a more obvious change in pitch than the usual Taycan ‘noise’, which gives the impression of different gears being used. This might read like I’m desperately searching for an element of soul to the GTS, and you might be right, but it’s amazing what a bit more noise can do to the driving experience even if the effect is wholly subconscious – and artificial.
Like any Taycan, the Sport Turismo is a wonderful long distance car (public charging and range limitations aside). It cruises serenely, mile after mile in near silence, and while the suspension is firmer than other models in the range, it’s not at the expense of ultimate comfort in Normal mode. When the road gets more interesting, however, it’s time to twiddle the steering wheel mounted dial to Sport, or even Sport Plus, and that’s when the GTS really comes alive.
Mountain hairpins beckon. Time and again you can dig really deep into the retardence of the carbon-ceramics and they show no signs of losing their edge, of juddering or of a lengthening of the stopping distance. Turn into the corner and the GTS steers the best of any Taycan I’ve felt so far – smooth, accurate and natural. I can’t feel it, but it must be the rear-wheel steering at work because the way the car pivots into the corner belies its size and weight, and suddenly it doesn’t seem too big for this road at all. What I also haven’t got my head around is how much torque is available upon the corner’s exit, which energises the rear of the car, assisting in keeping the nose pointing up the road where you want it, but never feeling contrived.
It’s not that violent tug at the wheel you can get with some four-wheel drive cars, a madcap desire to have the car pointing straight as soon as possible. Instead it just keeps the car fluid and alert. I push harder, expecting the GTS to crack first, to start to understeer or wallow or just generally feel as though it’s being made to do something it really would rather not be doing, but at the sort of pace that would keep it on the tail of a hardcore hot hatch it’s my own nerve and sensibilities that are beginning to wilt, not the car. It just seems to be lapping it up, while I’m starting to flag with the required concentration.The Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is probably the first all-electric car where I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed the drive without any caveats applied, along the lines of ‘for an EV’.
Prices and rivals
Priced at £104,190, the GTS sits – you guessed it – halfway between the family models on either side of it. Based on this first experience though, it’s very much the driver’s choice in the Taycan range, whatever the price. This is only just underneath the closely-related Audi RS e-tron GT, but as we found over our six month tenure with one, the Audi’s dynamics are far from perfect. At just over £111,000, they’re priced in-line of each other too, although both can quickly rise depending on the trim-level specified on the Audi, or how liberally you tick the Porsche’s individual options.
The Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 is still on its way, but is far bigger and more powerful, so too is Tesla’s Model S Plaid and the new Lucid Air, but for now it’s the Porsche and Audi that have a monopoly on the large performance EV saloon genre and of the two, we know which we’d go for.