I have been wearing my classic black pair of Vans® for the best part of half a decade, much to the disapproval of my fashionista mother.
For my birthday earlier this year, she insisted on taking me shopping for a pair of new shoes. So I went right ahead and selected an identical pair of Vans® to the pair I wore into the store. This resulted in much begging on my mother’s part for me to “try something new” and to “open up my horizons”. In doing so, she thrust a pair of designer sneakers into my palm and enlisted the cashier lady to douse me in empty compliments.
I despise designer sneakers. I’m referring to the glitzed-up Nikes/Adidas/Ballenciagas that people wear as a part of their everyday wear.
I despise them because they’re a confused strain of shoe. I mean, are they runners (they certainly look like glorified joggers)? Or are they casual wear? All I know for sure is that they look ridiculous.
Traditionally, runners have been what separate people’s feet from the grime of the world as they exercise. People run through parks in them. They step in dog stools, splash in streams, and drench them in sweat. The design of runners is not, in my mind, associated with catwalks and Vogue. And yet, sneakers, which seem to draw heavily on the runner form factor, are presented as fashion items.
Jacked up wagons — sorry, ‘estates’ – are the designer sneakers of the automotive world. They’re a confusing concept, attempting to reconcile SUV off-road prowess and presence with family wagon practicality. Which is exactly why I don’t ‘get’ them.
Porsche’s new Taycan Cross Turismo is here to convince me otherwise.
I like the look of that.
I am ashamed to admit that, despite my earlier rant, I do too.
I love that Porsche took the Cross Turismo and barrelled it around (what looks to be) an abandoned quarry for the press photos. While I do not doubt that the vast majority of Cross Turismos will spend the entirety of their lives on tarmac, it speaks volumes of the car’s breadth of abilities to see it barrelling around dirt tracks, sliding through muck and grime with seemingly reckless abandon. Not to mention that it looks cool. Though only in Neptune blue.
Oddly, in any other colour, I cannot help but think it looks a little gaudy. Weird.
Knowing Porsche, I imagine there are a million models to choose from.
Quite the opposite.
There are currently two iterations available for order in Australia: the 4S and the Turbo. The one you and I care about is the Turbo.
Let me guess: it has a gazillion horsepower and is frighteningly quick. Yawn.
In today’s day and age, it is all too easy to glaze over performance figures, but you shouldn’t because the all-wheel-drive Cross Turismo boasts some staggering numbers.
For the most part, the Turbo creeps around with 460kW (625 PS) hiding under its belt. However, when launch control is activated, it sneaks a couple of peptides and manages to produce a whopping 500 kW (680 PS) and 850Nm of torque. The result is startling.
0-100km/h is dispatched in a conservative 3.3 seconds. 0-200km/h is gone in just 10.7 s. And the quarter-mile (400m) is passed in 11.1 s. Yes, this is a 2.3-ton jacked-up estate that’ll wipe the floor with a Corvette in a straight line and then murder it on a rally stage.
Not-insignificantly sized discs (410mm diameter front, 365 mm rear) and rotors (6-piston front, 4-piston rear) help keep things under control.
Wait, did you say 2.3 tons?!
Well, if I’m being pedantic, then it’s technically 2,320 kg (kerb). But who’s counting?
I am. Goodness me, it’s fat.
Blame the batteries.
Oh, it’s electric?
Yes, you muppet. What rock have you been living under?
How’s the range?
Nothing spectacular. Porsche claim a maximum combined range of 425 km (264 miles).
That said, it is capable of 270 kW DC charging, meaning that it can charge from 5-80% in as little as 22.5 minutes. Though in reality, most owners are likely to plug their Cross Turismo into a power outlet while they sleep, rendering quick charge times irrelevant. Of course, I’m assuming that the people fortunate enough to own a Taycan have a garage and/or access to a public power outlet. If you’ve just spent the best part of AUD$300,000 on a car but don’t own a garage, then you should probably rethink your financial choices.
It looks practical.
Looks can be deceiving.
With the seats up (this is a family car, after all) the Cross Turismo boasts a laughable 405-litre load bay (with the second-row seats upright). More than 150 litres less than other similarly sized estates, like Skoda’s Superb or Mercedes’ E-Class. This is a problem.
Despite its wagon-esque form factor, the Cross Turismo is essentially a (dynamically capable) stylistic exercise that cannot be shoehorned into a single category of car. It simply doesn’t have enough space to convince me that it is a proper family wagon. Moreover, while it may have an extra 20mm of ground clearance (or 30mm if you opt for the off-road package) over the regular Taycan, it doesn’t possess the necessary off-road chops to claim the official ‘off roader’ title. And despite the Porsche press team’s declarations and the car’s breakneck performance, the Cross Turismo is ultimately too heavy (not to mention the wrong shape) to be considered a proper sports car.
And yet, I am torn because I find myself lusting after one regardless, even with an entry price of AUD$271,000 plus on-road costs ($201,000 for the entry-level 4S).
In fact, I’d probably have one over an Audi RS6.
No, you wouldn’t.
You’re right. I regretted that declaration the moment I finished typing it. Though it would be a close call. Not least because the RS6 has a gopping front-end that almost ruins it for me.
So the Taycan gets the nod?
Oh, here we go. Noah ‘Indecisive’ Charalambous.
Alright, I’ve made up my mind. I would go with the Audi.
Oh my days. Are you sure about that?
The Audi might not have the same breadth of talents, but it tickles my fancy more than the Porsche. Not least because it makes a thundering noise.
It’s more Aerosmith and less Eagles. More ‘up in yer face’.
It’s more than that though because with 565 litres of boot space with the second-row seats upright (or 1680 litres with them folded down) the Audi is also a better wagon than the Porsche. And it’s the best part of AUD$50,000 cheaper.
So, you’re choosing the RS6 because it has more boot space?
Let me put it this way: While the Cross Turismo may be a bewilderingly good pair of designer sneakers, it’s ultimately a classic case of the jack of all trades adage. Once you look past its surprising performance, you are left with a car with a confused identity.
Like my classic Vans®, the RS6 is a more specialised piece of kit with a slimmer repertoire. However, unlike the Cross Turismo, the Audi has a confident sense of purpose, a resolve that gets it across the line for me.
My mother would go for the Porsche. I wouldn’t blame her.
I’m just more of a traditionalist.