We spent a weekend with the new Taycan GTS to figure out exactly what GTS means in a Porsche EV. Traditionally, the GTS designation has served as a stop-gap between the ‘S’ model and a full-blown GT car. Slotting in between the ‘S’ and the ‘Turbo’ in terms of power level, and offering Porsche’s driving enhancing options as standard. It is a jack of all trades designation. While an ‘S’ is more street-oriented, and a GT car is more track-oriented - the GTS has always attempted to satisfy both use cases.
Applying the GTS designation to the Taycan can be a bit confusing. With no real concept of an EV as a track-oriented vehicle, it can be hard to understand how the Taycan would do double duty as a street-track vehicle. Changes have been made to the Taycan for the GTS variant. The chassis has been tuned and the all-wheel-drive system tweaked to improve handling and Porsche’s suite of driving enhancing options come as standard. Even so – we’re still getting used to this electric vehicle thing. How do these enhancements apply to the Taycan?
To better understand this new model variation, we took our Taycan GTS along with us on our 5th annual Area 27 Track Experience Weekend as a support vehice. This weekend would test the Taycan GTS as both an everyday driver and a viable track day vehicle.
Loaded to the brim with camera gear and materials for our event, we departed with the rest of the pack for a group drive to Osoyoos. We set off with some initial anxiety about our range. While the 360 kilometer range of the Taycan would get us most of the way on our 378 kilometer drive, we had never personally embarked on an EV road trip. We stopped over for lunch in Manning Park and let the Taycan GTS charge on the 50kW charger they had available. During the 45 minute stopover the Taycan managed to gain an extra 160km of range. This realization that we’d make it to Osoyoos with the rest of the group with nearly 150km of range to spare immediately dispelled any anxiety we initially had. Once we reached Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos, we were able to plug into their Porsche Destination Charger and let the Taycan fully charge before its’ day at Area 27.
Bright and early, we loaded up the Taycan and headed to Area 27 Motorsports Circuit. It is a 26km drive from Oliver to Osoyoos, which was a distance we had to keep in the back of our minds as we monitored the Taycan’s range throughout the day. Arriving to Area 27, we unloaded the Taycan and prepared it for a day on the track. Which really just meant removing loose items and moving the charging cable to the frunk. To get ourselves oriented, we started the Taycan GTS off with some autocross. We knew from our drive up that the Taycan GTS had more than enough power to keep up with the other Porsche’s on the road, but we had no idea how it would perform on track.
Starting with autocross, the advantages of the Taycan were immediately clear. Launch control with overboost meant the Taycan was past the starting cones and into the first corner before one could react to their change in location. This was known, what was unknown was how an electric vehicle would deal with braking. Braking in the Taycan is done in two parts; the first part is regenerative, and the second part is actual braking. Regenerative braking uses the electric motors to slow the car and regenerate the battery; comparable to engine braking in an ICE vehicle. As you press your foot further, the actual brakes engage as they would in a traditional vehicle. The combination of regenerative braking and regular braking being engaged by the same pedal does feel unusual to someone who has only ever driven traditional vehicles. The result is a linear slowing down of the car followed by a surge of braking as you get deeper into the pedal. Once the Taycan had slowed itself, turn-in was precise and it quickly pointed itself towards the next corner.
As soon as the Taycan was straightened out, full throttle could be applied, and you were at the next set of cones before you could really process what was going on. With a few more runs the Taycan felt more and more natural in the autocross, and what it lacked in corner speed it made up for by teleporting from each corner to the next.
With autocross done, we headed out on track for some proper laps in the Taycan GTS. As with any EV, there is an immediately noticeable absence of sound. While this doesn’t take long to get used to on the road, it’s rather disorienting on a track where the sound of your vehicle is often used as a reference for speed and available power. Turn 1 at Area 27 catches a lot of cars out. It is a high-speed entry into a decreasing elevation left turn that comes out onto the main straight. The speed of this corner combined with the decreasing elevation is a recipe for understeer – which is what we expected in our 5300 pound electric sedan. Magically, the Taycan turned in like any great mid-or-rear-engined Porsche and cruised past the apex towards the main straight. The Taycan surged down the straight, putting us in our seats all the way up to 220 kilometers per hour - around the speed a 911 C2S will hit on the same straight. Through the rest of the lap we were amazed at the corner speed such a large vehicle was capable of; pulling just as many lateral G’s as the other 911s were that day. The Taycan’s low center of gravity was on full display as it miraculously avoided understeer and hit its’ marks with surprising grace and agility. The weight of the Taycan was hard to notice. The lower center of gravity and precise steering meant it reacted to steering inputs similarly to a much lighter Porsche. Needless to say, it could keep up.
The braking took some time to get used to. While engine braking is usually done by downshifting in a traditional vehicle, it is done by applying the brakes in the Taycan. Downshifting to the proper gear for a specific corner usually helps a driver know they are going approximately the right speed for the limits of their vehicle. In the Taycan, you are left to judge your entry speeds purely by the rate of things passing you by. As a result, we did find ourselves entering some corners too hot – and other corners too cold. We also found that getting the car to rotate was accomplished in ways different from how you would a traditional vehicle. The direct connection of the wheels to the electric motors meant that lift-off oversteer was non-existent, and the initial regeneration stage of the braking didn’t rotate the car quite like a quick dab of the brakes would in a traditional car. Having 100% of your power available to you at any time also took some getting used to. Maintenance throttle is often necessary for something like a 911 through turn 6 at Area 27. Maintenance throttle in the Taycan was tricky. You can’t hear it, and with instantaneous full power, it’s easy to overdo. Everything mentioned in this paragraph are things that you would be able to get used to over time, and eventually adjust your driving style to match. We have spent so much of our lives driving ICE vehicles, it can be hard to readjust to a new way of driving. That being said, the most surprising part of the Taycan GTS was how similar to a Porsche sports car it felt. Having a low center of gravity and the majority of the weight away from the front axle makes it dynamically feel very “Porsche-like”.
Where the Taycan GTS varies the most from other Porsche sports cars is in its’ weight. This is partly because, unlike a 911, the Taycan is a 4 door, but it is mostly due to the weight of its’ batteries. While we remarked that the weight was hardly noticeable, it took a few hard laps for the laws of physics to catch up to us. As we began our third hot lap, the tires began to sound out their cries for help and the Taycan started to experience some loss of grip as a result. After 10 minutes of hard driving on a 28 degree day, cooking the tires of our 5300lb vehicle was an inevitability. Thankfully, the Taycan seemed incredibly balanced and any slippage we did experience was progressive and manageable.
Expectedly, we saw a noticeable drop off in range when we started lapping the Taycan GTS in Sport Plus. A lap around the 5km circuit used about 15-20km of range in the Taycan. Starting the day with 340km meant that we had about 15-20 laps worth of range – taking into account our drive back to Spirit Ridge. This is undoubtedly less than a traditional vehicle’s range at the race track. That being said, you would only want to do about one out lap and three flying laps in a given session due to the Taycan’s propensity for overheating its’ tires. So a full charge would net you about 5-6 session – which is about as many sessions as you’ll get at most track days.
To conclude this rather long write-up: the Taycan GTS stays true to its’ model designation. It made for an engaging and exciting vehicle on the track that was more than capable of keeping up with the rest of the pack. It also made for an excellent support vehicle. Managing the drive from Langley to Osoyoos with no disruptions for charging and comfortably carrying all of our gear and two passengers. Our time on track helped us appreciate the Taycan GTS even more on the street, as we were now aware of just how high its’ limits were.
Knowing what your vehicle is capable of in a controlled setting enhances your experience with it on the road. The GTS variants of Porsche vehicles will always see far more street time than track time, but the experience of everyday use is elevated by the knowledge that you’re driving something so capable. The Taycan GTS stays true to this and delivers both a competent track vehicle and an efficient daily driver in one package. We highly recommend anyone who owns a Taycan – or plans on owning a Taycan – takes it to the track to have that experience for themselves.