Porsche Taycan Turbo S, Route de Thorenc – Matt Saunders: A few years ago, I had a once-in-a-lifetime drive in an electric hillclimb car. Not one driven by Pikes Peak legend Nobuhiro Tajima, sadly (else I’d insist on being called Monster), but still: this Mitsubishi had three motors and would surely have set a competitive time if it hadn’t been crashed halfway up the mountain (not by me, I hasten to add). The best compliment I can pay the Porsche Taycan is that it made that car seem quite pedestrian – and it didn’t do so with brute poke on a drag strip, either.
The roads of the French Préalpes d’Azur are among the greatest in Europe, and they don’t let up. They give you 200 metres of clear line of sight, then three corners of different radii within the next 200. Wide sections followed by sudden, unforgiving, rocky narrows, with the constant prospect of a quarter-mile drop into the gorge below to contend with if you get things badly wrong. They make you concentrate all right.
Something heavy or underbraked, oversized or short on tactile feedback would have hit its natural speed limit very quickly here, but the Taycan just wanted to surge on quicker and quicker. It’s so much smaller on the road than you think it will be and feels so much lighter. And yes, it’s rapid; but that’s only a small part of what makes it a really special driver’s car.
The most recent is driving a Porsche Taycan in France with Matt Saunders. While the car felt sensationally complete in its own right, the equity its powertrain gave to the stunning surroundings was profound. Car and driver, moving through awe-inspiring scenery at stunning pace and with barely a whisper. The thrill of movement, rather than the car, was put on a pedestal, which I liked more than I was prepared to admit at the time.
The second memory is from almost a decade ago, when I first drove the Tesla Roadster. Even now, it’s difficult to put into words the sensation of a Lotus Elise-sized (and slightly rickety) car accelerating from a standstill at the same rate as the Lamborghini Huracán shifts at full throttle from 7500rpm. I’d never felt anything like it, and the bowel-loosening impact was heightened by the fact that photographer Olgun and I were still struggling out of congested London; neither of us had truly appreciated before just what electric motors may mean for the future of performance.
Finally, there was the international launch of the Renault Twizy. Empty, twisting Ibizan back roads in the off-season and a punchy little quadricycle that could oversteer. Enough said.
Driving the worst electric car in Britain – Steve Cropley