Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: February 21, 2022
Porsche is notorious for their pantheon of trim levels and model names that seem to only split hairs in terms of actual visual or dynamic differences. Their Turismo line up is no less confusing with the Cross Turismo, Sport Turismo, and Gran Turismo badges. Oops, that last one is just a video game.
First off, the foundation: the Porsche Taycan, Stuttgart’s vanguard into the electric vehicle foray. It was one of the most exciting and hyped up vehicles we drove in 2020, and we even featured it against its antithesis: a fire-breathing, combustion-polluting, BMW M8 Gran Coupe. But the Taycan sedan has now spawned two more variants. The Taycan Sport Turismo is your traditional sport wagon with an elongated roofline, hatchback-like liftgate, lowered ride height, flared fenders, and a cavernous trunk to boot. It follows the same ethos as the Panamera Sport Turismo.
The Cross Turismo on the other hand is a little different. Think of it like Volvo’s Cross Country spec or Audi’s Allroad models. Off-road ready is a good way to put it, as the ride height has been jacked up by 20 mm for better ground clearance, there is plastic cladding around the wheel arches to protect the bodywork against dirt, mud, and mild scratches, and the elongated roofline means significantly more rear seat legroom and trunk space than the sedan. It’s what people buy when they want the functionality and practicality of an SUV, but desire the superior road handling and looks of a four-door sedan. The Cross Turismo effectively splits the difference.
In our eyes, the Taycan Cross Turismo is one of the sleekest looking wagons, electric or not, in recent memory. The shape is slippery and that roofline tapers down real nicely to make for a sporty silhouette. It makes Porsche’s own Panamera appear bloated and overweight. It was also the Lunar New Year so Porsche Canada wrapped our test vehicle with a Year of the Tiger theme complete with stripes and Chinese characters that wish everybody a lucky, prosperous, and healthy year ahead. With no end to this pandemic in sight, we might need it.
The Taycan Cross Turismo comes in a few flavours: 4, 4S, Turbo and Turbo S, all of which add more power and speed. However we’re testing the entry-level model, the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo - it’s really all the casual driver would ever need. The 4 utilizes two electric motors, one on each axle, a 93.4 kWh lithium ion battery, and a unique two-speed transmission mounted on the rear axle. Whereas the sedan had this larger battery as an option, the 93.4 kWh here comes as standard fare, along with a standard adaptive air suspension and all-wheel drive. A base rear-wheel drive model is not offered.
In all, the Taycan 4 produces 375 hp (469 hp with overboost) and 369 lb-ft, but with 469 hp in Overboost and an eventual 0-100 km/h time of 5.1 seconds. Overboost is a launch function that unlocks maximum thrust for a short 2.5 second period in an effort to keep the batteries from overheating. Think of it like overclocking your graphics card on your gaming PC.
Furthermore, the Taycan Cross Turismo uses a 800-volt power supply, which is double the voltage of what EV cars typically use. This means faster acceleration and charging times, taking the 93.4 kWh battery from a 0-100% charge using an AC charge in about 10 hours. A 50 kWh DC charge will take 5-80% charge in 93 minutes, and a faster 270 kWh fast charger from 5-80% in just 22.5 minutes. The catch? These 270 kW-350 kW high-powered charging stations are few and far in between, and the one we aimed to charge at was broken when we got there, meaning we had to settle for less powerful 50 kWh charger instead at our local mall. Worse yet, while it states 50 kWh, it was only able to use 42 kWh. Still, we went from 10% to 100% in just over two hours - more than enough time to shop for a new pair of shoes.
Natural Resources Canada gives the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo a range of 346 km, but our driving that took into account regenerative braking, cold Canadian weather with heated seats and steering wheel perenially turned on, and the occasional lead foot to get the electrons (and our dopamine) flowing, we yielded 296 km. Whether or not that range is enough for people is all relative and dependent on your driving needs, but it clearly won’t challenge any long-range Tesla to total EV domination. After all, range anxiety is one of the biggest factors contributing to the slow uptake and transition into zero-emission vehicles. But the Taycan comes with other tricks up its sleeve that puts other EVs to shame: performance and driver engagement.
With rear-axle steering, 20-inch wheels, an electric sound generator, and an adaptive air suspension, the Cross Turismo is a pleasure to drive on both smooth highway asphalt and on twisty, snowy roads. As with all electric vehicles, acceleration is strong right from the get-go, and while it doesn’t hold a candle to the staggering (albeit somewhat violent) launches offered by the Taycan Turbo or Tesla’s finest, the Taycan 4 will never have you complaining or asking for more.
Does the Cross Turismo wagon feel any different than the sedan? Not really. The raised ride height doesn’t seem to affect wind or cabin noise, and dynamically there’s still a sense that the Taycan sits low to the ground thanks to the battery’s clever placement on the floorbed. The added visibility is excellent though, and splits the difference between the height of a Panamera and a Macan.
The steering is light without being overboosted, and quick without being twitchy, adding to its overall sense of athleticism. The active anti-roll bar system anchors the Taycan down and the brake pedal is much more natural and easier to modulate than the early Taycan models. Taut and tightly strung, the adaptive air suspension makes a case for itself too, neutralizing small suspension movements better than the Panamera but about on-par with the Taycan sedan. There’s even a driver-selectable ride height lift function that allows drivers to traverse over nasty speed bumps and steep ramps, and a new Gravel Mode if buyers equip the optional Off-Road Package, which raises up the ride height even more, and tweaks the traction control and power delivery to optimize grip and traction.
The interior of the Cross Turismo is pretty much identical to the sedan save for the rear seat accommodations, which are significantly more spacious the sedan but for such a large wagon, we still expected more leg- and headroom. Both the Audi RS 6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63 Wagon are roomier, more comfortable, and aren’t as stingy on knee- and legroom. Furthermore, while the Cross Turismo’s liftgate is effective for cargo loading and there is more volume back there than the sedan, it’s still less than the Cayenne, Cayenne Coupe, and even the Macan. The actual trunk compartment isn’t as square or as boxy as its competitors either due to the heavily sloped roofline. On the bright side, the rear seats can be folded down to remedy those concerns, and the Taycan also comes with a small front trunk since there is no engine compartment required - it’s quite small but deep, and ours was packed up with the portable charger and its paraphernalia.
The rest of the Taycan’s interior is typical Porsche in terms of ergonomics and material quality - that’s a good thing. While Porsche tradition dictates a large tachometer sitting front and center of the instrument cluster, we have a curved 16.3-inch digital screen instead. Like its analog counterparts, there are five digital dials but the steering wheel blocks the outer two, rendering their usefulness and convenience moot. While the screen is adjustable, Porsche actually limits what you can see in each dial, unlike Cadillac that pretty much lets you mix and match until your heart's content.
Fingerprints will mar the army of screens (there are three in total, four if you pay extra for the passenger display) no matter how diligent you are with cleaning, though they’re bright enough that they won’t wash out easily under heavy sunlight. Those who prefer the direct tactility of real buttons will be disappointed but those looking towards the future of technology will find much to love. The build quality is exceptional, the fixed panoramic roof is expansive, and the Taycan does a stellar job balancing out the right kind of simplistic and futuristic vibe that it wants to convey.
The thin, leather-wrapped steering wheel feels just right under grasp, and its small diameter seems to exaggerate the front end’s eagerness to rotate. More automakers really need to implement a programmable shortcut (diamond logo) button like Porsche here - Audis have a similar one. But strangely enough, Porsche limits what you can actually program it to do. We had ours set to activate the spooky Porsche Electric Sport Sound function that pipes spaceship noises both inside and outside the vehicle. Ever hear a Taycan accelerate? It’s like they pulled an audio clip from a Star Wars pod racer.
The Taycan Cross Turismo is an engaging and enjoyable wagon that takes all the benefits, handling, and design of the sedan, and transforms it into a more functional package with more cargo volume and a raised ride height. The range still leaves us wanting, especially when you consider a Tesla’s superior battery and network of charging infrastructure, and Porsche’s entry fee and extensive options list will leave this EV out of range for some (no pun intended), but its apparent drawbacks hardly dampen the charm and character shrouding this handsome, emission-free, and entertaining electric wagon.
Model: 2021 Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo
Paint Type: Custom Lunar New Year wrap (Year of the Tiger)
Base Price: $119,900
Price as Tested: $147,530
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,974 / 1,967 / 1,409
Unladen weight (kg): 2,245
Powertrain: 2 perm-magnet synchronous AC electric motors, 93.4-kWh lithium-ion battery
Horsepower: 375 hp (469 hp with overboost)
Torque: 369 lb-ft
Transmission: 2-speed automatic (rear-axle)
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Claimed Range (Natural Resources Canada): 346 km
Observed Range: 296 km