Even if some of its buyers don’t have one, Porsche prides itself on building cars with a unique essence, a certain substance that cannot be denied. A soul, in other words. Now, the automaker promises we’ll all discover that same quality in its upcoming electric sedan, which recently picked itself up a new name: Taycan (pronounced “tie-con”).
Formerly called the Mission E (seen in concept form above), the Taycan appears next year as a luxurious, long-range four-door with a price tag that almost certainly begins in the six-figure range. It’s a clear competitor to what was, for years, the only choice in this field — the Tesla Model S.
In a recently released video, Porsche seems to be making the argument that buyers who care the least bit about history and soul will have no use for that other car. It’s also a pretty good piece of marketing in its own right.
“It’s like the wind, some say. Or gravity. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there,” a deep, slightly gravelly, erudite-sounding voice states. “You can’t find its button on the dash, or its chapter in the owner’s manual. We have no drawings of it. We don’t know how much it weighs. Can’t time it on the track. Ask 10 of our engineers about it and get 10 different answers. But there’s no debate about its existence.”
Meanwhile, we’re treated to darkened, glistening shots of existing Porsche models, juxtaposed with shots of half-built vehicles on the assembly line and a 911 hanging its tail out on the track. The music swells. More Porsche models flick by, a stubbly man grins behind the wheel, no doubt knowing he made the right choices in life.
“After just one day behind the wheel, it’s the most valuable part of the car,” the voiceover continues, music rising to a crescendo. “The irreplaceable component, the thing you love more and more with every passing mile. The thing you instantly miss in any other car. The soul. For reasons mysterious and many, every Porsche ever built has one, and always will.”
We’re then shown a long, low-slung sedan with full-width taillights, concealed by a shroud of darkness.
It isn’t known if the narrator was thinking of the 914 or Cayenne Diesel while recording this spot, but it’s probably safe to say those weren’t his sources of inspiration.
As a piece of automotive marketing, this spot ranks pretty high up the list. Why? It doesn’t grate or ooze pretentiousness. It’s confident but not hit-you-over-the-head serious, and it maintains a sense of wonder and curiosity throughout that’s reflected in shots of a young boy (who must have eluded security) walking through a warehouse filled with the brand’s historical rolling stock.
Porsche wants to get across that the Taycan is a vehicle of substance. Like the Tesla, both vehicles have a mission, but Porsche aims for an Old World-type sophistication that places quality and driver satisfaction at its core. It’s not saving the world — it’s saving the driver. Despite originating from a luxury German automaker, Porsche’s spot comes across as less snobby than the Tesla superfans you’re likely to come across on social media (maybe “eco-snobby” is a better term, as many Musk aficionados wouldn’t be caught dead driving another electric car, despite their main concern in life being sustainability).
In a statement released late last week, Porsche chairman Oliver Blume said the new car “is strong and dependable; it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomises freedom.”
The automaker promises a 0-62 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds, with a European driving cycle range of “over” 500 kilometers (311 miles). Expect a reduction on the EPA cycle when it arrives here next year.