A Tale of Two Porsche Taycans: Which of These Luxury Electric Performance Cars Will Win My Heart?

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I was surprised. 

When I first got a glimpse of the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, an elongated and puffed-out wagon-style version of the all electric Taycan, I thought, oh those silly engineers: always challenging themselves to take their projects to the next level, even if the result is an illogical hybridized mashup of all the stuff they love.

Little did I know how much goodness they packed into this sporty SUV-like crossover/wagon, which, at certain angles reveals its Porsche DNA and might even be mistaken for the Taycan sedan. 

I’d have to wait a bit to find out, but finally I got the chance to take it for a spin, back to back with the Taycan sedan, through the North Georgia mountains. 

It was worth the wait.


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Related: Porsche Taycan Turbo S: An Electric Car Like No Other

The Driver'S Seat In The Porsche Taycan

The driver’s seat in the Porsche Taycan. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The All-Electric Porsche Taycan is All That: Electric and Porsche

Designed and built in true Porsche tradition, the Taycan (pronounced tie-con) was built to be everything Porsche drivers expect: A fast, fun sports car that clings to every curve in the road. Porsche engineered the Taycan to be the best at everything it does.

But, then, it delivers something I don’t necessarily think of when it comes to Porsche, which always strikes me as more of a driver’s car: thoughtful attention to the experience of all passengers and the lifestyle conveniences that so many demand these days.

Clearly, Porsche anticipated the evolution of people’s lifestyles when the company first designed the Taycan a few years ago; rather than building an iconic 2-door model, the Taycan is a 4 door, 4 passenger sedan with plenty of creature comforts. 

But realizing that Taycan buyers are younger, more adventure focused and want everything in a single car — including electric performance, a battery range that allows travel and quick charging — the Taycan concept was expanded even more, giving life to the Cross Turismo. The result is an off-road capable crossover with SUV traits, a tad more ground clearance (and but just a tad, it’s still fairly low to the ground) and more creature comforts without making compromises to Porsche performance. 

Related: Electric Super Car Superstar: Porsche Taycan Charges Onto the Global Electric Stage

The Porsche Taycan In Frozen Berry Metallic

The Porsche Taycan in Frozen Berry Metallic. Photo: Scotty Reiss

How These Sisters Differ

The Taycan sedan has an elegant swoop of the roofline, the rush-of-air look to its shoulder lines and a sculpted rear spoiler that, with a pert span of the trunk, embodies performance. The Cross Turismo has an elongated roof line (even though both models are the same length), extending the greenhouse, or the sections of glass, out over the trunk area with a more angular slope toward the lower bumper. 

Even though both cars are nearly identical with the exception of this one major detail and a few other subtle details, they look dramatically different from the side and rear. From the outside my instinct is to choose elegance, and in that instance, Taycan wins over Cross Turismo. But would I feel the same once inside these cars?

Related: Yes, You Can Live the Porsche Life: Learning to Drive, and Have Confidence, on a Track 

The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, In Its Natural Habitat This Crossover Is Intended For Unpaved Roads

The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, in its natural habitat this crossover is intended for unpaved roads. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Cross Turismo Adds more to the Taycan

The nature of its name gives you the idea that this Taycan is designed for travel and adventure. It adds all wheel drive for more capability in snowy, slushy weather, flexible seating and cargo space and more passenger comforts. 

The Cross Turismo carries the same electric power plant as the Taycan, a motor on each axle that together generate 375 horsepower for most driving, though it can zoom to 469 HP in launch control (which is: put it in sport mode, depress brake with left foot, depress accelerator with right foot, let off brake and gooooooo). And for those who want more power, there are 4 versions of the sedan and Cross Turismo with up to 750 horsepower (the sedan has 5 trims also with a max power output of up to 750 HP). 

The Cargo Area Is Extra Spacious In The Taycan Cross Turismo

The cargo area is extra spacious in the Taycan Cross Turismo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Heart of a Sports Car, the Soul of an SUV

The Cross Turismo also has a few more crossover/SUV-like features that the Taycan sedan does not: Even though it’s the same length as the Taycan, it has about 2” more rear seat headroom and 20mm higher ground clearance or .8’ of an inch, an additional 10MM on demand (for 1.2” total).

There are multiple drive modes, including gravel mode, which allows better traction on unpaved or slippery roads. To protect the car, Porsche added cladding along the lower portions and mud flaps behind the wheels to keep kicked-up gravel from leaving dings in the paint. 

Its capability can be increased, too; it comes with roof rails so owners can attach a roof box or sports equipment. The rear bumper has extendable rails that can be pulled out to mount a a bike rack. And there’s lots and lots of cargo space. 43 cubic feet with seats folded.

Charging The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Charging the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Learning to Love That Shape (And, I did)

All this space and capability carved out of a sleek sports sedan, however, is what lends to the Cross Turismo’s unconventional shape. Even nodding my head in happiness for all this car can do, its exterior still makes me give a lingering look, trying to decide if I like it or not. 

Once inside, though, I can forgive the Taycan Cross Turismo for its wide hips and bootylicious rear end, not something I equate with performance cars. Inside, though, it’s simply gorgeous. It has a glorious glass panel sunroof that, with the extra 2” of headroom, gives the cabin a wide, open and airy feel. The rear lift gate glass adds to the open feel. The rear seats fold flat for SUV-like contiguous cargo space.

The Drive Mode Selector Is A Small Toggle To The Right Of The Steering Wheel

The drive mode selector is a small toggle to the right of the steering wheel. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What the Porsche Taycan is like to Drive 

Here the two models are fairly interchangeable, or as twins are like to be, incredibly, delightfully, similar in DNA if differently executed. And they both are all Porsche: elegant, agile, precise. Keep in mind that the gas model Porsches are powerful but not power beasts; they draw their excellence as much from precision as design. And that is the essence of the Taycan.

We wound our way though Atlanta to North Georgia. In the city, I put on the adaptive cruise control and let the Taycan do most of the work while I sipped a latte. Once in we left Georgia 400, however, and headed toward Dahlonega, the roads became more interesting and demanding; I pushed my shoulders and hips back into the driver’s seat, allowing it to fully support me as I focused on the drive, hands on the wheel, eyes straight ahead. This is when the Taycan really shows its talents. It is responsive and confident; even around curves that most cars would take slowly, the Taycan allowed me to maintain my speed. 

The Rear Of The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

The rear of the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Learning Electric Driving the Porsche Way

The Taycan’s electric performance is a bit different than other electric cars. Porsche offers two electric modes, normal and recuperative, which is accessed via the touch screen. Recuperative mode channels more energy back into the battery while you drive, even capturing and storing energy created by braking, which is a key way to recharge the battery while you drive. You feel a distinct but not dramatic slowing when you lift off the accelerator. But it’s when braking that the car really recuperates energy. This means that you should brake ahead of a curve rather than just slow the car by lifting off the accelerator, which is how most electric cars are designed. Porsche’s engineers believe in the total control and physical experience of driving, which also means braking. 

And, it’s effective. We drove about 180 miles round trip and used about that many miles on the range, despite lots and lots of acceleration — and putting in in electronic sport sound mode, which feeds the actual sound of the electric motor into the cabin so you can hear the acceleration. In fact, in a gas-powered car we may have gotten severely reduced fuel economy on these fun, curvy roads; but the range was on par with the distance, a nicely predictable detail. We returned with just about 20% of the battery remaining; enough to plug it in for the night and recharge most of the range. 

The Sunroof In The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

The sunroof in the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Inside the Cabin, All the Porsche Toys

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the fun things that this car offers drivers and passengers: a screen for the front seat passenger (which I didn’t get to try); “Hey Porsche” voice activated assistance, which I used A LOT, and it’s awesome (“Hey Porsche, set the cabin temperature to 70 degrees please!”). Cooled seats that help you get more miles out of the battery by not running the A/C. Head up display. A curved driver information screen with touch-sensitive icon buttons— touch the suspension control icon to change your setting. A multimedia screen integrated into the dash. Apple CarPlay. Ambient lighting that allows you to set your favorite color. Sport mode. Park assist. Even a touch pad that allows you to quickly access your favorite features on the media system. Our test model didn’t have a sunroof, but I would opt for one to make the cabin feel even more open and roomy. There’s a lot of luxury tucked into this elegant little sports sedan. 

The Rear End Of The Taycan Also Shows Classic Porsche Details, From The Rear Spoiler That Deploys Over 40 Mpg To The Logo Bar That Spans The Tail

The rear end of the Taycan also shows classic Porsche details, from the rear spoiler that deploys over 40 MPG to the logo bar that spans the tail. Photo: Scotty Reiss

And All the Porsche Fun

The Taycan sedan also comes in several iterations, each with more electric power and muscle; our test model had 375 horsepower but can pump it up to 486 when using launch control, a drag-race style shot-out-of-a-cannon experience that front loads all that power for a head rush of giggles. If you really need that. My guess is, whichever Taycan you choose, you might just forget about launch control, they both deliver so much fun. 

Rear Legroom In The Taycan Is Made More Ample Due To Deep Footwells

Rear legroom in the Taycan is made more ample due to deep footwells. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Disclosure: I was a guest of Porsche for this test drive, with travel and accommodations provided. All opinions are my own. 

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss