Marketing is such a strange and wonderful world, as any fan of the Netflix series Mad Men will tell you. This week, Porsche told us a little more about its upcoming electric 4 door sports car, the one we used to know as the Mission E. That seemed like a perfectly appropriate name for an all new battery electric car from the storied Stuttgart automaker, but then the marketing types got involved and decreed the car would be known as the Taycan instead.
According to Porsche, the name “has its linguistic roots in the east” and loosely translated means “lively young horse.” The company is tight lipped about precisely what Asian language the name comes from. In any event, it now says there will be three versions of the car — the garden variety Taycan, the Taycan 4S with all-wheel drive, and a range topping Taycan Turbo.
If your first thought is that “turbo” has nothing whatsoever to do with an electric car and everything to do with the internal combustion engines that made the company famous, go to the head of the class. But the “turbo” designation has long been associated with the fastest, most expensive Porsches, so the marketing department must have decided it needed to leverage that history. Seems like a dumb decision, but nobody asked us. Maybe Porsche is hoping no one will notice the car doesn’t have a gasoline engine? Or maybe they just figure people don’t know enough about cars, and are used to “Turbo” modes in videos games that have nothing to do with engines.
Either way, noted automotive journalist Alex Roy seems to agree with us. He got a note from Porsche recently revealing the three-model lineup and the prices for each. Hope you are sitting down when you see the price for the Taycan Turbo. (Oh yeah, you already saw the price in the title.)
It appears the performance version of the Porsche Taycan EV will be branded “Turbo”.
Because ICE nomenclature is how one converts customers to EV.
— Alex Roy (@AlexRoy144) December 26, 2018
Tesla fans will note the pricing structure is very similar to the Model S and Model X — low $90,000s to start with and well north of $130,000 for the all singing, all dancing version with every option known to humanity.
Speaking of performance, Porsche says the Taycan will have about 600 horsepower and be able to sprint to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. There is no official word on whether the 4S enjoys a performance advantage over the base car or if the Turbo version has more power than the 4S. The 0–100 time is scintillating performance by most standards, but the Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode will trounce the Taycan at the drag strip unless the Porsche option spices up the Turbo trim somehow.
It seems what Porsche is relying on to separate it from the competition is not stellar performance at the stoplight grand prix but the ability to go on the track and provide exhilarating performance lap after lap after lap. Porsche owners have been pulling on their Autodromo string-back driving gloves and heading to the nearest racing circuit for generations. They won’t settle for a car that can only go a couple hundred feet before it needs to cool down. Porsche has worked long and hard to create a cooling and battery management system that can tame the heat created by high-performance driving for long periods of time.
Will that be enough to pry some customers away from the Tesla showroom? Sure it will. Porsche has created a powerful brand and it expects that brand to serve it well in the electric car era. But somebody should take the marketing department out for dunkle bier und bratwurst and then lock the door so they can’t get back in building. Taycan Turbo? That’s the best you can do? How embarrassing.