This morning, I went to Malibu Cars and Coffee at the Malibu Village and I saw something that made me think.
I was walking around with my friends, taking pictures, having a good time. We were looking at this beautiful, black on black Mercedes AMG GTC when a Porsche Taycan Turbo drove by. The owner was just cruising around the parking lot making car noises and just having a good time. For me, this was the first time I’d seen a Porsche Taycan up close on the street, and it’s so different from the pictures you wouldn’t believe it.
Anyway, we didn’t see much of the Taycan after that up until it was leaving the show. The owner was making a right onto the PCH and when I tell you he disappeared, I mean it. I’ve never seen a car accelerate like that in my life; not even a Porsche 918. It honestly blew my mind. But it begged the question: “Can an electric car be a sports car?” Let me explain.
When I hear the term “sports car” I think of my 1999 Porsche Boxster. If you asked me, I think that is the best definition of a true sports car. It’s lightweight, really fun to drive, not that fast (not really fast at all), impractical, and really only good for carving up a nice mountain road. That’s what a sports car is and that’s what I think it should be. New cars, even new Boxsters are just not the same. They’re too fast and technical, I felt like I was playing Forza when I drove a 718 Boxster S. Mind you it was still really fun, but the raw experience just wasn’t the same.
That brings me back to the point of an electric sports car. To me, the sound of an engine is crucial in determining how fun a car is to drive. The quiet whim of an electric motor doesn’t even compare to a precision engineered flat 6 or a roaring V8, it just doesn’t. For that reason alone, I think that an electric car will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good.
An ideal electric sports car would be lightweight, small, and very engaging to drive. And it’s definitely possible, it’s just that I have a really hard time believing that any manufacturer is going to invest millions in an electric sports car that only makes 350 hp, has hydraulic steering and weighs under 3,200 lbs. I just don’t think the market is there, not now at least. Maybe in decade or two when gas cars have been phased out and we long for a good driving experience, it could happen.
Actually, this is a rather big dilema for Porsche right now. As we know, the next generation of 718s are most likely going to be all electric and I’m really curious as to what Porsche can come up with. And what they do is pretty important since it will likely set the benchmark for electric sports cars. But what do you think? Can an electric sports car be just as good as a gas powered one?
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