Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo: long-term test review
Taking a 2.3-tonne shooting brake onto Porsche’s track seemed strange at first, but it actually taught us a lot about what the Taycan CT can do. And it’s fast-tracked us past the settling-in period to boot.
When a new fleet car arrives, we usually spend a few hours going through the cabin, learning the different features. We may even read the manual (yes, really), while there’s a lot to be said for a good, long journey to help us settle in. But visiting a test track, accompanied by an instructor? That’s a rarity.
However, that’s just what we’ve done with the latest addition to our fleet – the Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo – and it’s the same approach that we’d have taken if we’d actually bought the car. Anyone who purchases any new Porsche in the UK gets a complimentary half-day driving experience, you see – regardless of whether they’ve just taken delivery of an all-electric Taycan or a 911 GT3 RS track-day special.
Even so, our own Taycan doesn’t really seem an obvious candidate for track activity. As the Cross Turismo version, it’s the slightly jacked-up, semi-estate version of Porsche’s EV, more focused on school runs and driving holidays than lap times and clipping apices. But at the same time, even the relatively modest 4S boasts some stonking performance figures; with 469bhp on tap, and up to 563bhp and 650Nm available under launch control, this is a full-sized family car that can crack the 0-62mph sprint in 4.1 seconds.
It turns out that Porsche’s Experience Centre in Silverstone is fully EV-ready, with a couple of fast chargers out front and another half-dozen at the side of the imposing building to keep the in-house fleet of Taycans up and running. Yes, you’ve read correctly; most customers don’t want to drive their own pride and joys on track, but because they’re meant to go through the experience in an equivalent model to the one they’ve just bought, Porsche has a bunch of Frozen Blue Taycans along with the usual Caymans, Cayennes, Macans and 911s.
Surmising that it makes little difference whether I drive Porsche’s Silverstone-based car or one owned by the press office, I opt to take our own Cross Turismo out onto the track – but only after attending the briefing, where Porsche officials guide the owners on everything from their cars’ braking ability to nutrition, health and fitness.
My tutor for the afternoon is a chap called Brian Saunders – an accomplished GT racer who splits his time between helping punters at Porsche and fine-tuning the technique of other racing drivers. We start off with a few gentle laps of the test track, after which he concludes that my lines and anticipation are good, but that my brake-pedal modulation is “horrific”.
It soon becomes clear that the guidance around the fairly sinuous handling track isn’t about learning to drift; Brian’s focus is on getting me to drive more smoothly, particularly when easing off the brakes, and trying to anticipate how the road ahead is going to twist or turn.
I’ve told him to be brutally honest (he says he’s a perfectionist, so I guess he’d do that anyway) but after several laps he seems happier with my driving – enough so to put it to the test on the other track, which also includes the opportunity to sample the Taycan’s remarkable launch control.
Just when I think I’m getting the hang of things, Brian directs me to the kick-plate – a water-soaked, plastic-coated stretch of asphalt with a moveable section of road at its entry. We approach at 20mph, the rear of the car is suddenly thrown off course and, before I know it, 2.3 tonnes of Weissach’s finest is sliding gracefully at right angles to the intended direction.
Brian starts working on my technique, cutting down my reaction time, maintaining my focus on the direction I want to travel and removing needless steering input. It takes a few goes to get it right, but by the end of class I feel considerably more tuned in to how the Taycan behaves in situations such as this.
Ultimately I come away with a better understanding of why this half-day is so valuable to Porsche and its customers. While most of the Porsche Experience Centre’s day-trippers are new buyers, the bulk of the other attendees are repeat visitors, keen to further explore the limits of what their cars can do, in a safe, controlled environment. There’s performance to thrill and delight, of course, but also the opportunity to get a solid grounding in the cars’ systems, and how to get the best out of them. I certainly feel I’m in the best possible place as we approach six months with ‘our’ Porsche.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.
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