Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Porsche unveils a cheaper Taycan for the masses (sort of), Mercedes-Benz has a new compact crossover EV coming but it might not come to the land where compact crossovers is all anyone buys, Aston Martin is expanding a program which lets owners swap grilles, and the Mustang is reportedly going all electric in 2028.
Porsche unveils standard Taycan model
Porsche’s first all-electric production car has been a smashing success so far. It’s been universally praised by its reviewers for not just being a good EV, but also a good Porsche. But there are two things that have been most consistently criticized – its very high cost of entry and the incredibly stupid “Turbo” name they gave to the faster, range-topping models which debuted first. Now more than a year after it was first revealed, Porsche is introducing a model which fixes both of those problems. It’s the new entry level version simply called the Taycan. No Turbo, no 4S. Just Taycan.
It’s a cheaper and less powerful model that seeks to be a bit more accessible and more range focused. It has all of the same underpinnings as the other Taycans, there’s just less of it. By removing the front power unit from the other models, it’s the first rear-wheel-drive Taycan and also the lightest. The RWD conversion saves approximately 200 pounds and will certainly make for a very different driving experience. The remaining power unit at the back is the same one found in other Taycan models. That includes the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor and two-speed transaxle.
The Taycan offers two battery configurations, the Performance Battery and the larger Performance Battery Plus. The former has a 79.2 kWh capacity and can charge at up to 225 kW while the latter packs 93.4 kWh and can charge at up to 270 kW. When connected to a compatible high-speed DC fast charger, both can charge from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes. The battery packs also change the car’s power output. The PB allows for 402 horsepower and 254 lb.-ft. of torque while the PB+ offers 469 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite the large power difference though, the 0-60 mph time is identical for both versions at 5.1 seconds. This is likely due to the additional 170 pounds you have to carry around with the PB+. Optional extras, interior features, on board tech, and safety features are nearly identical to the rest of the Taycan model range.
But crucially, the standard Taycan has an MSRP of $79,900 plus an additional $1,350 for delivery. It is also eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500. $80K is still a lot for a car for average people, but the major price drop still offers an incredible EV to more people than before. It’s the first Taycan that can be had for under $100K and it’s bound to be the one we see far more of. It also makes it close to the $69,420 starting price of the Tesla Model S (I wish I was joking). Those looking for an electrified sedan in that price range could be convinced to pick the Taycan when they consider the significantly better build quality and dealer support.
As for driving range, we won’t know until the EPA does its thing. The press release has not revealed any hints as to what Porsche thinks it’ll do. It goes on sale this Spring in the US so we’ll know soon.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is preparing another cheaper EV that should prove to be popular. It’s called the EQA and it slots in below their previous EV debut, the EQC. Merc’s lineup is the most confusing one out there, but this is basically an electrified GLA, which is a compact crossover SUV thing which for all intents and purposes is a hatchback sedan that’s a bit taller so Americans will buy it. But ironically, Mercedes-Benz has not yet confirmed if this EQA will come to America. They’d be silly not to, especially when you consider the specs.
This modestly designed and not overly flashy EV will be offered in FWD and AWD variants with an impressive estimated range of around 260 miles or 300 miles respectively. It should be noted that the only official numbers we have so far were achieved with European test cycles and EPA numbers will always be different. But that’s already well ahead of the bigger EQC’s estimated range of… uh, anywhere from 200 miles to 270 miles depending on who you ask. The battery pack it’s launching with has a capacity of 66.5 kWh and has support for fast charging.
The starting price in Europe will be €39,950 or roughly $48,600. That much range in a luxury compact SUV crossover hatchback thing for that money is a very attractive option. Compare that to a Jaguar I-Pace which starts at just under $70k with a lower range or a Tesla Model Y which is fucking ugly and it seems too good not to bring to the US.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Jalopnik]
Aston Martin offers grille swap for Vantage owners
Wouldn’t it be nice if every automaker allowed you to swap a piece of bodywork that you didn’t like? That’s what Aston Martin has been doing with the new Vantage and its slightly polarizing grille. The option has apparently been a thing here in the US since last year according to Jalopnik, which is news I totally missed (or just didn’t care about), but it’s now an option via Aston Martin Works in the UK.
The new grille is called the Vane grille (left) which is a little more traditional and less aggressive than the factory Hunter grille (right). Though I do like the new Vane grille, I’m not sure the grille itself was the offender on the original car, but rather the massive size and shape of it. It makes the car look like a vacuum hose attachment. But still, props to Aston Martin for willing to offer a replacement. If only BMW could quit pretending to be meme lords on social media long enough to realize they should do the same.
Report: Mustang will go all electric in 2028
In more electric car news, a new report from Autoline Daily and AutoForecast Solutions suggests that the next Mustang is going all-electric in 2028. There’s a few things to unpack here, starting with the initial headline grabber.
Most automakers are committing to fully electrified lineups by 2030 or 2035 to meet a growing number of mandates from governments. Ford choosing to undercut them by several years on a model as deeply popular as the Mustang is… shall we say extremely bold. They’ve of course just rolled out the Mach-E which is supposedly a very good EV that they chose to also call a Mustang. But we’re talking about Ford making the entire Mustang lineup electric only in 2028. At least now you can choose from a wide variety of powertrains ranging from a four-cylinder turbo, the Mach-E’s battery electric powertrain, and the GT500’s insane supercharged V8.
The other interesting thing to note is that the report specifically says that the next Mustang is going electric. What’s possibly going to be referred to as the S650 generation Mustang was believed to be due in the next couple of years, but recent delays were reportedly pushing that back a few more years. The last time I spoke about the S650, 2022 or 2023 was the estimated timeline. But apparently some delays have pushed that back, and now with Ford potentially planning to retool a whole factory for EVs and reworking the car for an EV only powertrain, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that 2028 would be the earliest we’d see it now.
But then that leaves the S550 which is already turning seven years old this summer. How will Ford keep it fresh and current for another seven years? With cars like the Bullitt, PP2, and GT350 coming and going and the mighty GT500 normally serving as the swan song for a generation of Mustangs, what else could they do? A hybrid Mustang has long been rumored and teased by Ford but who’s to say that would work on an S550 platform. And it’s hard to believe they could come up with another performance version which can top the incredible achievement that was the GT500 on the same platform. In short, it’ll take more than another facelift to keep the S550 competitive in its segment for another seven years.
If you like your Mustangs like I do – raw, fun, engaging, and loud – you’ve got about seven years to add one to your garage before it loses a little bit of its magic forever. That’s not to say an electric Mustang won’t be good because the Mach-E proves that is possible. It’ll just be… different. And bittersweet.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.