First drive: Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Rory FH Smith

27 April 2021

Following a year in which one-third of all Porsches sold in Europe featured some form of electrification, the marque expands its first all-electric sports car range with a bigger, bolder, off-road version of the Taycan saloon 

27 April 2021 | Rory FH Smith

When Porsche Chairman Oliver Blume pulled the covers off the Mission E Cross Turismo concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, it certainly raised a few eyebrows. Gone were the sleek and smooth lines of the original Mission E concept – that would eventually evolve into the Taycan – and in came the Frankenstein Cross Turismo with knobbly tyres, raised ride height and rugged bodywork. Heck, it even had a boot-mounted drone.

At the time, the Cross Turismo concept divided opinion, existing as a halfway house between a slick executive shooting brake and an adventure-hungry 'cross utility vehicle.' Porsche proudly labelled it "the electric athlete for an active lifestyle". Some maintained the marque had lost the plot. Others praised the carmaker for blazing its own trail. Either way, Porsche had successfully stolen the Geneva show.

Now, three years and one global pandemic on, the rugged Mission E Cross Turismo concept is ready for the road, taking the finished form of the Taycan Cross Turismo. Following on from its saloon sister, the Cross Turismo is the second fully-electric car from the Stuttgart carmaker, designed to showcase Porsche's commitment to a more sustainable future.

"Sustainability is a top priority for Porsche," said Blume at the car's production launch in March. "Our goal is to make our vehicles carbon neutral and that's why we'll press ahead with decarbonisation," added the car boss.

Just 10 years ago, the thought of Porsche – a marque synonymous with petrol-powered performance cars – embarking on a campaign of decarbonisation would have been laughable. But these days, it's expected, and the sales show just that. In 2020, one-third of all Porsches sold in Europe had some form of electrification. By 2025, the marque predicts that will be more like half. If you still need convincing that the era of the all-electric Porsche has arrived, then how about this: in the first quarter of 2021, Porsche shifted just 61 fewer Taycans than 911s, with the all-electric sibling poised to knock Stuttgart’s golden child off its pretty little perch imminently.

And the vehicle charged with dealing the death blow to its combustion-engine counterpart will undoubtedly be the Taycan Cross Turismo. Bigger, bolder and more practical than the Taycan saloon, the Cross Turismo is an attractive package that plays to those with a penchant for adventure or a need for practicality, without losing the Porsche identity.

Sitting 20mm higher than the standard saloon, or 30mm if you go for the optional off-road pack, the Cross Turismo boasts a higher roofline, which gives an additional 47mm of headroom in the rear. Good news for load luggers and for longer-legged people, there's also more space for feet behind the front seats. Aside from the longer body style, off-road-inspired design touches, such as the rugged wheel-arch trims, front and rear aero skirts and side sills are the main styling cues that separate the Cross Turismo from the Taycan saloon.  

On the inside, there's no noticeable change to the cockpit configuration, with the Taycan's signature smattering of screens still dominating the dashboard. Inside, it's still a fantastically well-appointed interior while the driving position is more 911 than SUV, despite the added ride height. Living up to its 'cross utility' intentions, Porsche offers its own eBike cross (£7,500) and eBike Sport (£9,500) as optional extras should you feel the Cross Turismo's £80,000 starting price (or £140,000 for the Turbo S) isn't steep enough.

But that's enough about the practical attributes. After all, this is still a Porsche and, in its most potent Turbo S guise, one that produces up to 750 bhp on overboost. Just don't ask why 'turbo' appears in the name of an electric car. We're still not sure, either. With all that power readily available, the Cross Turismo Turbo S can cover 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds, which is only 0.1 seconds slower than a Mclaren Senna, to put things into perspective. In terms of that all-important range figure, the Turbo S can get 260 miles on a single charge while the Turbo, 4S and base model 4 variants can all travel up to 281 miles. Despite that, we’d advise planning a route slightly shorter than the manufacturer's stated range for real-world driving.

Take the Cross Turismo Turbo (that's one step below the Turbo S) up to the sunny South Downs of West Sussex and Porsche's more practically-minded EV makes a lot of sense. While both outlandish and obscure in its concept guise, the production car is every bit the practical Porsche while retaining the jaw-dropping performance first demonstrated by its saloon sister.

The full force of the Taycan's acceleration remains its greatest party trick, while the addition of a Gravel drive mode on the Cross Turismo is designed for use on loose surfaces, bumping up the suspension to full height while optimising the torque delivery and stability control to better suit slippery surfaces. Despite the nod to unpaved tracks and trails, the Cross Turismo won't be scrambling up rock faces or wading through rivers. It still shares more in common with an executive saloon than an SUV, despite the cladding around the arches suggesting otherwise. While the entry-level Taycan saloon comes with rear-wheel drive only, all four of the Cross Turismo variants come equipped with four-wheel drive as standard, in keeping with its all-terrain intentions.

What started out as an odd – albeit eccentric – exploratory exercise for Porsche when it lifted the covers in 2018 has blossomed into a hugely capable and practical production car. While we've managed to steer clear of any Tesla comparisons until now, there's no avoiding the Californian elephant in the room, with Tesla's Model S and X appearing on paper to be the closest rivals. In reality, the Porsche feels better made and more driver-focused than either of Elon Musk's creations, while the Cross Turismo occupies a niche but neat space in between the Model S and X.

As car buyers continue to flock to SUVs, Porsche's "courage to break new ground", in the words of its Chairman, is refreshing, with the Cross Turismo reiterating the marque's faith in the estate car segment. In that, Porsche's latest EV offering is an attractive – albeit expensive – new player in the world of all-electric driving, that's destined to draw more electro-curious car buyers in and, perhaps more importantly, coax Tesla owners out of their Musk machines.

It will be exciting to see just how far the Stuttgart powerhouse pushes electric-powered performance cars.

Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Power: 380 PS / 375 BHP
Overboost power for Launch Control: 350 kW (476 PS)
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds
Top speed: 220 km/h
Range: 389 – 456 km
Price: From £79,340

Taycan 4S Cross Turismo

Power: 490 PS / 483 BHP
Overboost power for Launch Control: 420 kW (571 PS)
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds
Top speed: 240 km/h
Range: 388 – 452 km
Price: £87,820

Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo

Power: 625 PS / 616 BHP
Overboost power for Launch Control: 500 kW (680 PS)
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
Range: 395 – 452 km
Price: £116,950

Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo

Power: 625 PS / 616 BHP
Overboost power for Launch Control: 560 kW (761 PS)
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
Range: 388 – 419 km
Price: £139,910

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