For 2021, Porsche has taken their wildly successful Taycan sedan, added a longer roof for more rear seat room and cargo room plus AWD and the model’s larger 93.4 kWh battery as standard and called it the “Cross Turismo”. It also gets a higher ride height, gravel mode for looser surfaces, and plastic cladding ‘round the wheel arches and rocker panels.
It looks spectacular in this spec – not awkward at all, a fate that has befallen many performance wagons through the years – all squat and wide-hipped and futuristic. I love the headlight lenses, I love the taillight bar and I love the rims, even though the snow tire-clad items on my tester are far from the most spectacular examples you can get. I like them because their large hubs remind me of the brake cooling fins seen attached to the rims of old Group B rally cars. It fits the aesthetic of a more “off-road” sportster like this. The same can be said for the optional small fins around the wheels to help direct stones down and away from both the paint and traffic around you.
I’ll tell you one thing, having now sampled both versions of the Taycan, you can really feel that extra room in the back, and though there’s just 39 litres of additional storage behind the rear seats over the sedan, I was able to slide two adult-sized hockey bags in there plus sticks. That’s made possible by a rear seat that folds in a 40/20/40 split so you don’t lose an entire outboard seat if you need to fit longer items. There’s also seating for three in the back, whilst in the sedan, the third seat is optional.
Forward of the b-pillars, you get pretty much the same feeling here as you do in the Taycan sedan. That’s means a deep, high-bolstered bucket seat, perfect steering wheel placement, a digital gauge cluster that does a pretty good impersonation of the analogue gauges Porsches have become famous for, and one whole heck of a lot of display screens.
If you include the gauge cluster, there are four screens in total: the gauges, PCM infotainment display, supplemental lower display that acts as your climate controls (and a few other things we’ll touch on in a minute) and a display for the front passenger. Said passenger gets their own app screen and can perform tasks such as setting the navigation system.
There are no traditional or “hard” buttons to supplement the touch-activated climate controls. I prefer hard buttons as I find them easier to use when driving as you don’t have to stare at a screen to get them. All you have to do is feel for them, which means less distraction. That’s strike number one against it, I suppose.
Strike two comes in the form of the other controls found there, namely the rear and front trunk (“frunk”) controls. Popping them is done via the touchscreen with not one but two button presses as opposed to hitting one of two mechanical door-mounted switches, as you do in the 718 or 911. I find it more natural to move to door-mounted switches as I step out than to turn back to a display. Which, as it happens, could be more responsive.
Other than those two bugaboos, though, the cockpit is a great place to sit as it is properly ensconcing and keeps all the controls at your fingertips. That includes the tiny little shift dongle sprouting from the dash; it seems strange at first, but it’s not unique as it’s the same item you get in 911s equipped with the PDK dual-clutch automatic.
Also, very nifty is the way you start your Taycan experience. All you have to do is step up to the car with the keyfob in your pocket, the flush-mounted door handles pop out, you step in, latch your seatbelt and select drive. No need to even hit a power button and that’s very cool in a secret handshake kind of way. Add the fact that Apple CarPlay connects wirelessly and there’s very little you have to do before you get rolling.
You’ll want to get rolling as quickly as possible, too, because in Turbo S form, the Cross Turismo is an incredibly fast car. Power is rated at 616 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, but that hp count increases to a startling 750 hp for a short time during launch-controlled starts. To perform one, all you have to do is activate either Sport or Sport Plus, hold the brake, mash the throttle until you hear a fairly innocent “ding”, release the brake, and proceed to have the skin of your face pulled tightly to your skull as you sprint to 100 km/h in less than three seconds.
After that, the Cross Turismo proves a big, heavy car that handles like something way lower down the weight chart. The steering – as it should be in a Porsche – is ultra-direct and has some nice feel to it, while my car’s air ride suspension and well-tuned dampers do a fantastic job of keeping the body flat through corners and over bumps. This is a big, wide vehicle that is going to be a handful for any chassis to support, but support it this chassis does, to an almost unfathomable level.
I have driven many lighter sports cars – including examples from Porsche – on the same roads I took the Cross Turismo and the big EV didn’t feel out of place at all. In fact, it almost felt like it was faster in these circumstances and that is really saying something.
Range-wise, NRCan rates the Turbo S at 325 km of range on a full charge, and throughout my test I saw about that. Keep in mind that unless you have a Level II charger at home, you’ll have to plug in elsewhere because the Taycan does not come with a Level I charge cable. It can, however, be charged at a rate of 270 kW on a DC fast charger, meaning a charge time of about 20 minutes from five to 80 per cent – that’s tied with the Audi E-tron GT as the fastest in the biz as of right now. So, you park up, plug in, go have lunch (or even just a coffee), and you’re good.
Good grief, what a car this is. Indeed, I consider myself a die-hard petrolhead that loves his V8s. I should not like this car so much but even I cannot deny that the thrills on offer here really do rival those more old-school powertrains, even eclipsing then in some situations. Add that great wagon body style and ultramodern styling, and all of a sudden, my tester’s $245,000 list price becomes just a little easier to swallow.
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.