The 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS first drive
LOS ANGELES—A few weeks ago, we sampled Porsche’s newest 911 variant, the Carrera GTS. Automakers’ naming conventions can be impenetrable to the casual observer, so in Porsche-speak, GTS stands for “Gran Turismo Sport.” It’s basically the “have your cake and eat it” model in the range, as it has more power and sharper handling than the standard car, but it’s less powerful (and cheaper) than the Turbo or the more specialized GT-plus-a-number 911s.
But today, we’ll be talking about Porche’s Taycan, as the company has now applied the GTS treatment to the battery-electric vehicle. Anyone who has made the mistake of asking me what my favorite car is will know just how deep my feelings for the electric Porsche run, so when Porsche asked if we wanted to test a $131,400 2022 Taycan GTS on track at Willow Springs in California, it was an easy decision.
Truth be told, Porsche hasn’t done a ton of re-engineering work to create the Taycan GTS. The car uses the same front and rear drive units as the Taycan Turbo, but they’re calibrated to produce less power. Launch control allows for bursts of 440 kW (590 hp) and a zero-to-60 time of 3.5 seconds. The rest of the time, the Taycan GTS has a nominal output of 380 kW (509 hp). Maximum torque, however, is identical to the Taycan Turbo at 849 Nm (626 lb-ft).
The two permanent magnet electric motors are supplied by a 93.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (83.7 kWh useable capacity), which, like all Taycans, runs at 800 V. That enables the car to fast-charge very rapidly; 5–80 percent takes less than 22 minutes when the Taycan GTS is connected to a DC fast charger capable of feeding the car with up to 270 kW.
Porsche has also retuned the Taycan GTS’s suspension versus the Turbo, and the front brake discs are slightly smaller, but the additions are otherwise mostly cosmetic—new air curtains at the front, new side skirts along the side, and glossy black trim.
You also get a lovely interior as part of the GTS treatment, including acres of Race-Tex fabric, embroidery on the seats, and brushed black aluminum trim that is a nice change from the “piano black” plastic so common in new cars these days. And the USB-A ports in the center console are now USB-C ports to match the two for the rear passengers.
But the Taycan still hits all the right notes, with a 911-like driving position, a 911-like view framed by the curved front wings, and a curved digital main instrument display ahead of you. (Unfortunately, the car also includes too many touchscreens; Audi made the right choice in opting for buttons on the closely related e-tron GT, which shares the Taycan’s J1 platform.)
Porsche has always stressed that the Taycan is still a proper Porsche, so it makes sense that there is a long and potentially expensive options list available for the GTS, including rear-axle steering, better adaptive suspension, and some RS Spyder Design 21-inch alloy wheels that look amazing and save a total of 11 lbs (5 kg) of unsprung weight (but which will damage the car’s aerodynamic efficiency).
Less flippantly, it also makes sense that the Taycan GTS can hold its own at a track day, as any Porsche should be able to—hence, our morning at the track, lapping euro-spec GTSes specially imported for the occasion.
Of course, the Taycan GTS is not a natural track car. Porsche’s engineers are not shy about this—their idea of an electric track car is the Mission R. As mentioned, though, the Taycan was designed to be a Porsche first and foremost, so if someone wants to take a Taycan for some hot laps, the vehicle should perform well if it wants to wear the GTS badge. If the Cayennes and Macans can do it, after all…