Categories: Autos and transport

Review of the 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo

This wagonified Porsche strikes a wonderful middle ground between EV speed and everyday convenience.

A few years ago, Porsche made the world scratch its collective noodle when it gave the Taycan EV a “Turbo” moniker to denote its highest-performance spec. Then, as if we weren’t already confused enough, Zuffenhausen decided to make a lifted, longroof version of its zero-emissions automobile, called the Taycan Cross Turismo.

Go back in time and tell Steve McQueen that the builder of his Porsche 930 would someday make station wagons with off-road body cladding and cursive turbo badges (but no engine under the decklid) and watch his head spin.

The thing is, the 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo might just be the best, most interesting vehicle the company currently makes. Available in 4, 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S trim levels, it combines the comfort and usability of a wagon with the interior quality and soul-stirring performance of a modern Porsche, all with no tailpipe emissions. The Taycan Cross Turismo makes a brilliant case for itself – if you have the scratch to afford it, of course.

Tailor-Made Alterations

The Cross Turismo is 0.79-inch higher off the ground than the standard Taycan, the elevation delta coming from a standard air suspension. It’s not just a matter of pumping up the air springs and calling it a day, however. Porsche engineers retuned the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dampers through each phase of the air suspension’s modes – Low, Lowered, Medium, High, and Lift – so that the Cross Turismo rides and handles much the same as its more conventional sibling.

2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo (rear view)
2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo (rear view)

Its longer, flatter roofline is a real boon to the Taycan’s passenger- and cargo-hauling capabilities. The Cross Turismo boasts 1.4 cubic feet of additional luggage space behind the rear seats – 14.3 cubes for the Turbo we drove, expanding to 41.3 with the seats folded – and roof rail mounting points will be standard on US-market cars. There’s also a very noticeable 3.6 inches of additional headroom for rear-seat passengers in spite of the Cross Turismo’s standard fixed glass roof. Larger rear quarter windows and door glass help alleviate second-row claustrophobia further; as such, the Cross Turismo is almost (but not quite) spacious in back.

Enhancing the Taycan Cross Turismo’s do-it-all persona is the matte plastic body cladding that adorns the lower body all around – an optional Off-Road Design package adds unique winglets to the wheel arches, protecting the bodysides further from stone damage. Every Cross Turismo will also come with a unique Gravel drive mode that raises the suspension 10 millimeters, allows for more slip from traction control, and splits torque more evenly from side to side across the rear axle via the limited-slip differential. Set up thus, lurid powerslides should be an absolute cinch in the dirt.

Unfortunately, my time in the Gentian Blue Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo was apportioned solely to the pavement, but thank goodness it was the lovely ribbon of blacktop known as Upper Big Tujunga Road. Running between the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest Highways, the 16-mile stretch was nearly deserted in those few hours with the Porsche, allowing me to explore each facet of the wagon’s capabilities with every successive pass.

The Other Form Of Hauling

My first few “laps” of the road were mainly for familiarization. Every Taycan Cross Turismo comes with all-wheel-drive grip, motivated in the Turbo’s case via an electric motor on each axle making a combined 616 horsepower (670 with the eyeball-bending launch control activated) and 626 pound-feet. Over bumpy, broken pavement littered with remnant wintertime gravel, the Cross Turismo rode very nicely, dispatching all but the nastiest impacts with a Germanic thwunk and little else. The added suspension travel likely helps in these situations, though the Taycan sedan is nearly as lovely – there’s no denying this is a well-tuned platform.

Once comfortable with the Taycan Turbo’s linear power delivery, I began increasing the pace. I kept the Porsche in Sport mode most of the time, keen to preserve a thick safety net of stability controls (Sport Plus is available for the truly fire-haired), but I also never felt the big wagon was lacking in grip or responsiveness, nor did I notice any ESC intervention. The Taycan simply explodes out of corners with unreal ferocity and balance, and impressively linear regenerative brakes do the same wonders for deceleration that the single-speed front and two-speed rear electric motor do for speed acquisition.

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For such a heavy vehicle – 5,196 pounds unloaded – the Cross Turismo changes direction adroitly, rapidly convincing the man behind the wheel that he would run out of talent far before the car would. Even dialing it back a bit to preserve my own sanity, every corner was an opportunity to try the near-perfect steering and enjoy the lower-back shove of the electric powertrain at each apex, the digitized whir of virtual engine noise soundtracking the dappled sunlight breaking through the pine trees.

Finding Balance

One more pass through the corners and it was time to calm down and relax. Driven much more calmly through Angeles Forest, it became easy for me to appreciate why the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo starts at $153,500. Its interior, for one, is possibly one of the best in the business. Black and Atacama Beige leather – dyed using a more environmentally friendly “Olea” process – cover nearly every surface (vegans will like the leather-free Race-Tex microfiber suede). Anything that’s not hide is either glass, rose gold metal, or high-quality soft plastic, making the Taycan feel fresh and modern, yet also cozy and cosseting.

Unfortunately, for something that’s intended to battle other crossover-style EVs, the Taycan Cross Turismo still isn’t spacious enough. I sit somewhat close to the wheel for being 6 feet tall, but even so, there isn’t enough rear legroom behind the driver’s seat for me to truly get comfortable. And while 14.3 cubic feet is indeed more cargo room than the Taycan sedan, it pales in comparison to virtually every other EV out there, crossover or not. Even the tiny Nissan Leaf has more room.

The Porsche Communication Management infotainment is the same here as it is in any other modern P-car – beautiful graphics and adequate usability – and the optional Burmester 3D audio system kicks out even streaming audio with impressive clarity. An optional passenger-side touchscreen was a neat touch that went entirely unused in my solo drive, but it would allow a copilot to select destinations, provide DJ services, and otherwise assist the driver with trivialities. Seat comfort in both front positions is first-rate, even in the base 14-way power chairs found in this example. Optional 18-way adaptive sport seats would likely be even better.

Set to Comfort or Range drive modes, the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo settles down into an approachable groove, with the mountain of torque making itself known only when the driver really wills it. Wafting down the road like any other EV, it’s easy to forget there’s more combined power and torque in this wagon than in any other vehicle in Porsche’s lineup save the range-topping Taycan Turbo S, which boosts torque to 774 lb-ft and Launch Control overboost to 750 hp and will be available in both wagon and sedan forms. As equipped, though, this high-spec Taycan Turbo feels almost perfect but for one big detail.

Brass Tacks

Porsche rightly thinks the entire Taycan Cross Turismo family is an ideal balance of the company’s values, with scintillating performance, unusual and attractive design, and daily-driving usability and cargo space, all hallmarks of the brand ever since the 911 debuted in 1963. However, many shoppers will be turned off by its frankly astronomical price – the Euro-spec model I drove is hard to suss out using US marketing tools, but with as many option boxes ticked as I could recall, I came up with an as-tested price of at least $200,900, up from the aforementioned base of $153,500.

If any Taycan could be considered a value, it’s the base Cross Turismo 4, which starts at $90,900. Optioning a normal Taycan with a longer-range battery, air suspension, and fixed-glass roof – all of which come standard on the wagon – yields a price that’s just $1,500 less than the Cross Turismo 4, meaning you get all-wheel drive, added cargo space, and better interior room for a thoroughly reasonable price.

That vehicle should also have a longer EV range than the estimated 210 miles I experienced in the Cross Turismo Turbo, making it a more willing weekend-adventure companion (EPA estimates are still in the works, but the Taycan has a reputation for beating EPA figures).

Regardless of trim though, the Taycan Cross Turismo is an incredible piece of machinery. Sure, adding options drives the price sky-high, and other EVs like the $119,990 Tesla Model X Plaid offer more space and similar performance for less money. But only the Taycan Cross Turismo can blend a luxurious interior, serene ride over any road surface, and max-attack canyon performance in one package, with a dash of rough-road capability coming along for the ride. The weirdest Porsche on sale right now is probably the best. Who knew?

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