The ever-present risk in this journalism racket is that you’re inclined to cry wolf. There’s a constant risk that you’ll over-praise stuff so that when something really jaw-dropping comes along – such as the £80,000 base-model, coil-suspension Porsche Taycan – you’re at a loss for ways to elevate it above everything else. That’s my position now. I’ve just spent five days in it and I really think it’s the best thing I’ve ever driven.
This four-door EV feels instantly like a Porsche. Not just a Porsche, actually, but the best of Porsches. It is almost affordable, yet its specialness and its quality are communicated in every turn of the steering wheel or touch of a switch. Or every time one of its wheels encounters a bitumen crater. Its seats perfectly suit even my odd frame. The alacrity of its cornering obliterates all concerns you might have about weight. The precision of its responses has repeatedly encouraged me to take the long way home – which is easy because, with the extra-capacity battery, it can do 300 miles on a charge. There must be reasons beyond general impecunity not to own this car, but right now I can’t think of one.
An amusing press release arrives from, of all places, the organisers of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, a place I’ve always identified with a deadly serious, time-attack driving style and not much frivolity. Seems the organisers are concerned about adrenaline-pumped drivers busting the 30mph speed limit on surrounding public roads once they’ve left the circuit.
However, instead of doing a lot of ineffective finger-wagging, they’ve pointed to the salutary case of mad-headed Walter Arnold, Europe’s first recorded ‘speeding motorist’, who in 1896 drove his horseless carriage through Paddock Wood (curiously close to today’s Brands Hatch) at a heady 8mph, four times the speed limit of the time. Obey the limit, say The ’Ring’s management, or risk the fate of Crazy Walter, who was chased by a policeman on a bicycle and fined a shilling. Back then, they tell us, it was a lot of money.
Even amid my Porker euphoria, I do feel rather sorry for reader Gerald Braid, who bought a 2020.5-spec Toyota RAV4 late last year, complete with the space-saver spare wheel, jack and wrench he decided he needed for safety on extended trips around the country. Initially, he was delighted when Toyota decided to deliver a 2021 edition instead, but pretty soon he discovered that the latest model doesn’t come with said spare and tools, and that he would have to fork out an extra £670 to get them.
Nobody told him this before the car arrived so you can see exactly why he’s feeling somewhat steamy. And it has hardly helped that the only remedy offered by his dealer has been to point out that in the UK people average only one puncture every 10 years. I mean, who says his decade won’t be up tomorrow? Toyota doesn’t usually make such lamentable gaffes with customer service; maybe it’ll correct this one.