Porsche wants the world to know its upcoming Taycan, a revolutionary four-door sports car that will drive the German marque into the all-electric era, can handle anything the world throws at it.
Looking like a cross between the legendary 911 and the family-friendly Panamera, Taycan test cars have covered more than six million kilometres in weather conditions from minus 35 to plus 50, everywhere from Finland and China to the USA and South Africa.
Australia missed a slot on the test-road roster, but the Aussie influence comes from Mark Webber, the one-time Formula One star and Porsche ambassador who tops a list of 1000 test drivers, technicians and engineers on the Taycan program.
Focus for their work and spending of more than $1 billion is a 500km range between charges and a truly phenomenal 0-100km/h sprint in less than 3.5 seconds.
Development of the Taycan is peaking ahead of its launch later this year, and an Australian arrival in 2020 with a starting price around $120,000, as Porsche spends close to $25 billion on the new products it will introduce by 2025.
Apart from the Taycan, the Porsche badge will ride on the Taycan-derived Cross Turismo SUV and the all-electric Macan model confirmed by Porsche Cars Australia for its future line-up, as well as a growing number of petrol-electric hybrids including the new 911, Cayenne and Macan that have already arrived down-under with petrol power.
“Our aim is to take a pioneering role in technology,”says Oliver Blume, the chairman of Porsche. “Over the next 10 years we will focus on a drive mix consisting of even further-optimised petrol engines, plug-in hybrid models and purely electrically-operated sports cars.”
Porsche is not the first to make such a strong electric commitment - BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have already shared their ambitions - but it will be one of the first to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model S when the Taycan hits.
In Australia, the waiting list for the Taycan (the name means ‘lively young horse’) is already growing fast to more than 200 people following a public showing of the Mission E concept car in Sydney last year.
The show car was the first tease for the Taycan and was dropped into Bangaroo in central Sydney to test the local reaction.
“It was important for us to be able to showcase this concept car to people and to show that it’s real and coming,” says the marketing chief at Porsche Cars Australia, Toni Andreevski. “Barangaroo is an ideal location for us. There’s a young urban lifestyle and it’s particularly relevant for us as a target market.”