SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Porsche unveils one of the fastest road cars in the world, featuring 1,000-horsepower ‘launch control’ button

Mar 12, 2024, 6:25 AM

The Porsche Taycan Turbo GT with Weissach Package has no back seats to save weight. (Porsche via CN...

The Porsche Taycan Turbo GT with Weissach Package has no back seats to save weight. (Porsche via CNN Newsource)

(Porsche via CNN Newsource)

Porsche today introduced the most powerful production, or mass-produced, car it has ever made. The electric 1,093-horsepower Taycan Turbo GT, coming to market this summer, has already set two racetrack speed records for an electric car. It even beat one set by a Tesla Model S by a gigantic 18 seconds.

High horsepower numbers and eye-popping acceleration are more common among electric cars than gasoline-powered ones, especially since EVs can have multiple motors. Performance figures like these serve little practical value, of course. It would be impossible to approach this car’s potential other than at a track and few would have the driving skills to do it.

This is about giving customers the ability to brag about what their car can, theoretically, do. And, for Porsche, it’s about putting aside concerns about whether electric cars, with their heavy batteries and near silent operation, can be exciting as gas-powered cars, as regulatory pressure mounts to sell more EVs.

The Taycan Turbo GT set a world record lap time on Germany’s famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, a twisty, challenging track where automakers frequently test their most competitive sports cars. The Nürburgring requires cars that are not only very fast and accelerate quickly but also corner well. Setting a record there is something sports car manufacturers brag about; Porsche certainly will.

This Turbo GT, a new version of the electric Porsche Taycan, features two motors. Together they can produce more than 1,000 horsepower. This kind of high-horsepower EV experience won’t come cheaply, though. The Porsche will cost around $230,000.

Most of the time, the Porsche Taycan Turbo GT has a maximum power output of 777 horsepower which, by any normal standards, is a lot. However, it has a “launch control” button for maximum acceleration from a stop. When pressed, power output can be increased briefly, reaching a maximum of 1,093 horsepower for a zero to sixty time of as little as 2.1 seconds.

How powerful is powerful? By contrast, a standard gas-powered Porsche 911 Carrera produces 379 horsepower — and is still definitely fast. A standard Toyota Prius, not especially fast, can put out 196 horsepower.

The new Porsche also has a special “Attack mode” that can be enabled, pushing power up to 937 horsepower but also making the car’s suspension firmer for better cornering. “Attack mode” will only last for 10 seconds at a time, though.

These kinds of power levels can’t be maintained for long, a Porsche spokesperson said, because the necessary cooling for the motors and batteries, plus just the actual power output itself, would drain the batteries too quickly.

The previous record holder on the Nürburgring Nordschleife was the Tesla Model S Plaid Track Package. (A $2.2 million Rimac Nevera electric supercar, which is not considered a regular production car, was two-tenths of a second faster than the Porsche.) The lap time of the Taycan makes the Turbo GT the fastest four-door car, electric or not, on that track.

Porsche’s EV

Taycan is a Turkish word loosely translated as “spirit of a colt.” The Taycan is usually a four-seat, four-door car and was Porsche’s first fully electric car when it was released in 2019. (The German sports car company was founded in 1931 and is today owned by part of Volkswagen Group.)

The Taycan Turbo GT will come in two versions. One, the standard Porsche Taycan Turbo GT, will be fast but reasonably comfortable for street driving. It will have four seats, as most Porsche Taycan models do.

The Porsche Taycan Turbo GT with Weissach Package, though, will dispense with backseats and other comfort items to save weight. Even things like the standard clock in the dashboard are left off. This more aggressive, track-oriented version of the car won’t cost any more, though, thanks to the money saved on things like seats and a clock.

Despite the Turbo in the title, neither of these cars has actual turbochargers, of course, since electric cars don’t use turbochargers that push air into internal combustion engines. In this car, the name just denotes that they are powerful — and fast.

Porsche has said that the next generation of its Boxster and Cayman 2-door sports cars will be electric. But Porsche executives have said that its iconic 911 sports car will be the last Porsche model to ever go all-electric.

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Porsche unveils one of the fastest road cars in the world, featuring 1,000-horsepower ‘launch control’ button