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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Porsche Taycan's Design Points to Porsche's Past

  • Now that the camouflage is off and we've seen Porsche's new Taycan, we're taking a moment to comment on the design.
  • The Taycan is wide and features some important exterior styling cues borrowed from the 911.
  • The Taycan's instrument panel could be described as a modern interpretation of the classic 911 cockpit.

Now that you've been briefed on the power, acceleration, charging times, and range of the Porsche Taycan, we'd like you to take a moment to look it over with us.

Now that Porsche has removed the camouflage, we can more clearly see how it fits into the family.

The Porsche Taycan's Design Points to the PastThe Porsche Taycan's Design Points to the Past

There are many obvious Porsche design elements at play in the Taycan. The long and thin taillights that wrap around the car slightly and the four-LED headlight are bits shared with the rest of the Porsche showroom. But there are deeper and longer-standing bits of tradition in this EV's design.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Like a 911, the car has wide hips at the ends and a narrow center section. The relationship of the body to the cockpit and to the fenders has long been part of the 911's secret sauce. The body is wider than the cockpit, and the fenders are wider than the body. This is something the slab-sided 996 (1999–2004 911) ignored to its own detriment. Standing at the back of the car, the fender-to-cockpit relationship is clearly 911 inspired. The longer you look at the Taycan—the side glass, the roofline—the more it seems like a 911 sedan.

The Porsche Taycan's Design Points to the Past2020 Porsche Taycan

While not as long as a Buick Electra 225, this is a fairly large sedan. Its 195.4-inch length is just a half-inch smaller than the Tesla Model S, but the Taycan has a much lower roofline than the Model S. According to Porsche, a hatchback would've raised the low and 911-like sweeping roofline, which is something they didn't want. So, the Taycan has a trunk. Porsche will gladly sell you a Panamera to meet your hatchback needs.

The Porsche Taycan's Design Points to the Past

It's that low roofline, dropped on a very wide body with even wider fenders, that gives the Taycan a presence and overt sportiness that is better appreciated in person, according to our testing director, Dave VanderWerp. The lowness is striking and photos don't quite convey the size and proportions or the lowness of the nose. Large wheels are part of the deal too—Turbo S models are shod with 21-inch wheels, and the Turbo gets 20-inchers.

The Porsche Taycan's Design Points to the Past

A look inside reveals even more 911-inspired design. As the owner of a 993 (1995–1998 911) with a Classic Grey interior, what immediately struck me about the Taycan's interior were the common bits. Not literally, of course: the Taycan has a fully modern glass cockpit with two big touchscreens, and it shares zero parts with an old 911, but there's an immediate connection to the past that Porsche is playing with and riffing on. If you've been in an air-cooled 911, you'll recognize the elongated oval that houses five round gauges, the tapered shape of the dashtop lip, and the black center section sandwiched and sunken between the gray upper and lower parts of the instrument panel. Where you'd find a passenger airbag in an old 911, the Taycan has an optional touchscreen.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S interior1998 Porsche 911 Carrera S (993)

Perhaps to assuage the fear surrounding a battery-powered Porsche, the Taycan brings a lot of the best of Porsche design. Freed up by fewer packaging constraints (the battery and the motors are easier to package than an engine and transmission), the Taycan can pull from Porsche's greatest hits. And that's what Porsche has done here. While the sound of it might not remind you Porsches past, at least the looks will.

The Porsche Taycan's Design Points to the Past

The cars, expensive cars. By: Car and Drive

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