As we roll out of town, the Taycan impresses with low noise levels and a compliant ride. There's a distant whirr from the e-motors, and some muted tire noise over coarse surfaces, but it's all well suppressed. The Taycan uses the same three-chamber air suspension and 48-volt active anti-roll system as top-spec Panameras and the Bentley Continental GT, though they've been retuned to cope with the Taycan's weight and dynamic performance targets. It feels sportier, but there's the same oily cadence to the primary ride motions as in the other two cars.
We turn off into the hills, onto a quiet, twisty two-lane, away from the traffic. Meier twists the steering wheel-mounted controller out of Normal mode, through Sport, and into Sport +. The e-motor whirr changes pitch, becoming deeper, more earnest. It's purely showbiz; the e-motors don't operate any differently. But as in internal combustion Porsches, the accelerator response is sharpened, there's more meat in the steering feel, and the suspension stiffens its sinews.
Meier floors it.
It's like being fired out of a railgun. The black Porsche lunges at the horizon, the rate of acceleration one long, linear surge of weapons-grade thrust. Corner! Meier's hard on the brakes, the monster carbon-ceramic rotors feeling every bit as predictable and precise as in a 911, and turns in. I detect mild understeer on corner entry, then a perceptible weight transfer as what is clearly a strongly rear-biased powertrain delivers a mountain of instant-on torque to those wide rear tires.
The next few miles are epic, Meier quick and neat behind the wheel as this biggish Porsche sedan appears to compress time and space with the insouciant ease of a GT2 RS. Braking, turn-in response, midcorner balance, post-apex traction: the Taycan stays flat, grips tenaciously, and feels instantly responsive. It soaks up big midcorner heaves and sharp-edge stutters with aplomb, and the body feels as tight as a drum, despite the massive loads coming through the suspension. I sense the weight on the transitions—batteries are heavy—but Meier confirms the center of gravity is lower than that of a 911.
Even from the passenger seat, it's obvious the Taycan sets a new benchmark for electric car dynamics. It makes a hard-driven Tesla Model S feel loose and skittish. But the big question everyone's going to ask is: What's the range? Meier won't quote EPA numbers, but a peek at the instrument panel at the end of the day suggested our mule would cover at least 235 miles despite being driven at times like it was on a qualifying lap at Le Mans.
We'll wait until we get our hands on a production Taycan before we make final judgement, but this first acquaintance suggests Porsche has created an electric vehicle with impressive performance and handling, and one that's remarkably efficient. Other than saying the e-motors were designed to deliver both power and efficiency, Meier refuses to be drawn on how. But he smiles when I mention feeling what appeared to be gearshift under hard acceleration.