News & Reviews News Learning to drive…..in a Porsche Taycan Turbo

There are countless articles and videos on Porsche.  Those all the way from circuit racing, to drag racing, to handling corners, during racing.  Basically, there’s a lot of racing.  But let me give you another perspective: that of a learner driver.

Much to even my own disappointment, this is not the story of a teenager with rich parents, but a 34 year old man who suffers from acute physical laziness. I had zero interest in cars and pushed learning to drive so far down the priority list that it just beat out Train Station Spotting and watching some dried paint get drier.  I even ticked off going to Miavana before learning to drive.  Miavana!

All that changed when my wife became pregnant, we started looking into family cars and I realised that this car fad wasn’t going away anytime soon might even prove useful one day. The problem with my type of obsessive personality is that I can find practically anything interesting and get lost in the rabbit hole.  That’s how I ended up spending the majority of lockdown 2.0/2.5/3.0 or whatever it was, on taycanforums.com

The backstory

That lockdown did strange things to some of us.  My compulsive pursuit of travelling needed replacing, and I managed to divert it to narcissistic follies.  Peloton, Brunello Cucinelli and Porsche dominated my browsing history; working out, looking good, and showing off.  Just, whilst in lockdown, I was only able to flaunt to my collection of Star Wars figurines.

Why a Taycan?

As with most things on my blog, the answer is money.  Make no mistake, our family discussion did not go along the lines of “Honey, should we buy one of the fastest accelerating cars on earth and strap our daughter into the back of it?”.  In fact, a car that could do 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds was not the top of our priority list – we actually wanted a Porsche Cayenne.  But you’ve gotta tip your hat to Her Majesty, as the UK government offers such strong tax incentives to buy an electric vehicle that if I didn’t read it on gov.uk I would think Charles Ponzi had risen from the grave to start a new scam.

With the options limited to electric vehicles, it was only ever going to be between a Tesla Model S, Jaguar I-Pace or the Taycan. At this point, it becomes an emotional purchase. No one needs a £100k car, but if you’re going to buy one you want to have an emotional attachment to it. The Jag looks great on the outside, but the interiors felt cheap and during our very brief test drive it tried to murder us when parking it. When you look at the price difference between an I-Pace and the Tesla S, it seemed a no brainer to get the Tesla.

However, the Tesla is just as big as the Taycan, just as fast and twice as ugly. I would have rather purchased a Taycan plus another car, rather than just getting the more practical Tesla S, which would have fulfilled all of our criteria in one vehicle – I could not stomach spending that much on something that I had zero affection for.  There was no way I could justify spending that on a Tesla. I could have stomached the Model 3, but it too wouldn’t fit our dog, so then we’d need another car at some point anyway and the Porsche would never have happened.

Family vehicle

Is the Taycan a family vehicle, you ask?  Why yes it is, you devilishly sceptical person, you.  To receive the seal of approval I had to prove this using science. We set out to test our hypothesis in the laboratory called Porsche Cambridge with a pushchair, carry cot and infant carrier seat.  The pushchair and carry cot could both fit in the boot, just as long as we took the wheels off – but they clip in really easily.  King Kong ain’t got shit on me.  Too easy; what’s next?  The infant carrier could comfortably sit behind the passenger seat, even with myself in it (187cm); the way the leg rest dips into the floor meant there was plenty of leg room.  After two test drives, Lucie felt confident driving it and gave the node. Going from a Mercedes A Class, it was leap that required a lot of confidence.  My Dad also had a go and he felt very, very confident – so much so, I had to start working on excuses to make sure he can never, ever borrow ours.

After test driving a Taycan 4S, we left Porsche Cambridge in my Dad’s Nissan GT-R and it felt like a dinosaur; the lack of instant torque and noise made it feel like aliens had made it – but the retarded kind that you never see in movies, as they never made it off their home land. He spent the rest of the journey wondering how much he would get for a trade-in. Luckily for him I ordered a Taycan and at this point we had the strongest relationship we’ve ever had as we speak daily, by way of him asking if its arrived yet.

Ordering

The process is almost entirely go onto porsche.com and use their configurator to custom build your car. The options are so overwhelming that apparently there are never more than two of the same car ever produced.  Porsche are also the kings of charging for, well, everything – things that you’d expect to be included, so when you see a base price just know you’re going to have to add 10-20% on top to receive a car that includes luxuries like wheels.  I spent countless hours researching what to select and stick within a reasonable budget, but the best advice I received was “You will regret what you did not tick”.  Wise, wise words.  I took that advice to heart, but even so I still found myself going “I wish I had ticked that box” when we collected it.  All the same, an absolutely spectacular car that I feel both proud and privileged to have been able to buy. It has literally brought my family closer together, because, well, they actually want to see me now.

Turbo

For tax purposes, I needed to get the Taycan before the end of April – this was agreed during placing the order in December.  Come January and the delivery is being pushed into June due to such high demand.

My lizard brain wouldn’t let it go. Only £20k more for the Turbo, it said. So I contacted the dealer to see about changing it and he said it would delay the order.  Stupid lizard brain still won’t let it go.  Then, once again, Taycan Forums came to the rescue when someone contacted me to inform me they were dropping their own order as they wanted a Turbo S, so I should contact the dealer to take it over.  Long story short, suddenly I can get a custom built Turbo and have it in March.

I wanted to buy a 4S; all our test drives were in a 4S; I specced and ordered a 4S. The speed was absolutely insane. Only due to the delay in the order, I then switched it to a Turbo.

Two days after receiving the Turbo, my Dad, who has always loved Porsche’s and is soon turning 70, wanted to take it for a ride. Naturally we then drove around to find a spot to launch control it. He drove, I recorded it. I now have a video of my Dad swearing in sheer disbelief and me giggling like a child, at the immense and strangely unexpected power. I knew something great was coming, but the joy exceeded the expectation. I will cherish that experience for my entire life. Was that worth an extra £20k?

Yes. Yes, it was.

I can be rather frugal with money sometimes; I recall many-a-time where I’ve gone to extreme ends to get cheap flights via ridiculous routes and huge layovers. I remember adding 40 hours to our trip to get home from Sydney a few years ago as there was no way I was paying £15k for two one way flights. There’s a big difference between something being affordable and justifiable. Yet most of my frugalness is for experience based activities. I probably wasn’t happy with myself at the time of doing those layovers, but I don’t regret any of them as they’re over and done with soon enough. When it comes to buying something like a Taycan it’s a long-term decision and I only regret what I didn’t add to the spec.

If you can afford it, get it.

Getting insurance

What’s insurance? No, no, I’m better than that.

It was actually quite a hassle to get insurance, but not for the reasons you think – it was because my wife, as the primary insurance holder, had never owned a “super car” before. Several companies, including A-Plan and Novo, denied her on that basis, but Admiral had no issue with it.

For myself, I just added myself as a new driver online. I fulfil the minimum criteria required to complete the form: 0 years and 1 month of having a license.

Collection

After seeing the Taycan for the first time, there was only ever going to be a winner in which car we were going to buy, even if it meant subjecting my wife to a car she didn’t want.  Yet on collection it was love at first sight, between said wife and Taycan – a true moment to behold.  It also meant I was allowed to keep my testicles.

The Taycan is an absolute joy; a moving piece of art. My wife wanted a Tesla; I desperately wanted a Taycan. I practically had to beg to get permission to buy the Taycan, but on this day I got to use that phrase that we all love to use on our spouses: “I told you so”. The sheer delight on her face as she was accelerating at the speeds where it is compulsory to laugh at the absurdity of the power – priceless. Speeds no more than national limits, of course, Your Honour. And by priceless I actually mean the price of a Taycan Turbo. But you get my point.

For 3 months, I was a mere passenger.  Times were about to a-changin’.

First solo trip

I started taking driving lessons last year, but some event that I can’t even remember now disrupted it. Were it not for Covid, I’m convinced I would have received my license at the perfectly reasonably age of 33, but instead I had to wait until the laugh-inducing, geriatric-esq 34 to take my test.

Fast forward to June. I passed my driving test (first time, thank you for asking) and have spent the four weeks since trying to assess my survival instinct vs stupidity as to whether my first solo journey should be in a Taycan Turbo. Stupid won this round. In fact, it tends to win all of them. So a few weeks ago I finally found the courage, and sensibly found it without going to the bottom of a bottle. I did say when I joined these Taycan Forums I wouldn’t be idiotic, but months of lockdowns spent reading of all your enjoyment has done me no good. What I’m saying is: this is all their fault.

So as someone with driving experience measured in tens of hours, that now has approx 20 miles of solo experience, what are my impressions?

Well, my first trip could have been a bit smoother.  I returned at 9pm, deciding to leave before it started to get dark, but couldn’t escape the other inevitability of a day in England: the rain.  I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to turn on the rear wipers, even downloading the manual, only to then remember there aren’t any. That meant there was zero visibility out of the back and I’ve just spent every lesson being taught to check the rear mirror, then side mirrors, so what a waste of time that was.  I swallowed a brave pill and made my way home, only to find that barely a few minutes later it was so steamed up I couldn’t see out the front.  Using my extensive training, I recalled that not being able to see was not ideal driving conditions, and with the Taycan all being touch screen and practically impossible to see without starring down, I decided to pull over, turn the hazard lights on and figure it out.

The touch controls definitely require some effort to learn. They were definitely not built in mind for a learner driver, who is trying to demist the cabin whilst driving. Come on, Porsche, don’t discriminate against us pragmatically challenged.  I recall being told that the Taycan can automatically demist for you, but it certainly did not work that night.

  • I was figured that you would barely sneeze and end up flooring it, but the pedal is far more sensitive, so I always feel in control
  • I was terrified of the width, but found no issues and could clearly tell how close I was to the middle of the road
  • Try as I might, you cannot put Learner/Just Passed tags on the Taycan – they just don’t stick
  • The cameras make parking incredibly easy (I did try and cheat and use the auto-park, but it failed me)
  • Heads up Display meant I never had to look down and could clearly see that I was doing about 3mph the entire time
  • There are so many safety features here that I might, just might, not die

Second solo trip

We managed to get green P plate stuck on, probably at the expense of destroying the paintwork, but at least now I don’t feel quite as bad driving like a pensioner who forgot his glasses, although I suspect people see the symbol and think I’m taking the piss. That is, until they see me go around every corner with the brake pedal engaged.

I have been out a few more times and so far managed to retain all my limbs and even my no claims bonus. Compared to the almost fight-or-flight induced stress I suffered during my first solo drive, it now almost feels relaxing. Relaxing in the same way that going to a pub where someone was stabbed last year – you know it probably won’t happen, but you’re always glancing over your shoulder. I even decided to park next to another car, whereas before I made sure I was so far from anything, I probably had to walk 3 miles to get to where I actually needed to be.

  • The lack of visibility out the back is not bothering me as much now – who needs to see out the back anyway?  Amateurs
  • Is the Bose any good? No idea, as I’m too afraid to have music on at this point
  • I was in full focus mode when the traffic alerts came on, startled me and did their best to try and create news, by making me have an accident.  I lived to fight another day.
  • I will repeat: the safety features are absolutely superb, including Lane Change Assist, the proximity sensors and particularly the HuD – I really appreciate seeing my speed and navigation without needing to look down, otherwise I’d be driving like I was searching for something on the floor.

My friends think I’m mental, but the more time I spend in the Taycan, and due to not driving it like a Porsche (or a car that can hit 70mph), I don’t see an issue in having it as a first car. In fact, everyone should have one as their first car. Let’s start a petition and make it happen.

The Good

  • Everything

The Bad

  • Every Taycan owner I’ve spoken to has experienced issues, including ourselves – barely a week into ownership the battery died over night and needed towing
  • You’ll have to pardon me if I make the headlines for accidentally launch controlling it into a swimming pool/Waitrose/covid vaccine distribution truck.
  • I might die

The Luxurious

  • Erm, everything?

Conclusion

What. A.  Machine. Ignoring that my point of reference of cars is a 2021 Taycan Turbo and some 15 year old Vauxhall Corsa, I can conclusive say, with no hyperbole, that the Taycan is the greatest car…….in the world (by my standards).

And those boxes I wish I ticked?  They gnawed away into the very remaining fragments of my soul, so I will be ordering a 2022 edition.  Judging on 2020 vs 2021 the differences will be very incremental, but maybe they will surprise us and exceed the speed of light for 0-60mph, offer enough range that Frodo could have got to Mount Doom and still had 50% charge remaining, and provide another paint in one more shade of grey that is impossible to differentiate on camera phone pictures.

So, anyone wanna meet up and teach me how to drive?

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 18th Jul '21

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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