Porsche’s first EV, the Taycan, has set a new record for the fastest lap by a four-door electric sports car at the hallowed Nürburgring in Germany. The previous record-holder was... well, probably no one, since Porsche is kind of stretching here in the name of claiming that the Taycan set a record.
Automakers love bragging rights, and the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course is one of the prime battlegrounds. But over the years, the limits of the track have mostly been explored, and so there’s not as much rarefied air left for companies who want to claim they were the fastest around the 12.9-mile course.
This means automakers are willing to make all sorts of increasingly specific distinctions in order to claim headlines about records, taking us from the fastest car around the Nürburgring, to the fastest production car, to the fastest non-production-but-still-street-legal car, to now the fastest “four-door, all-electric sports car.”
In the broader context of all of the top Nordschleife laps, the Taycan’s 7-minute, 42-second lap is impressive, but not groundbreaking. It slots in a good 20 seconds behind two of Porsche’s combustion engine offerings, the 911 GT2 RS and the Carrera GTS, and nearly a minute behind the 911 GT3 RS and the 918 Spyder. Hell, Nissan pulled off a faster lap (7 minutes, 24 seconds) in 2010 with a GT-R in semi-wet conditions.
If we stop caring about the number of doors for a moment, the Taycan’s lap clocked in almost 40 seconds slower than the EP9, a limited production all-electric supercar from Chinese EV startup NIO. And it was about 1 minute and 37 seconds off the pace of parent company Volkswagen’s purpose-built electric racecar, the I.D. R. It was also more than two minutes slower than the all-time record, set by Porsche’s Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid EVO.
All that said, it was faster than a number of previous EV attempts, like an all-electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Audi’s (ultimately doomed) R8 E-Tron, and the Mini E. It’s not clear if any other four-door electric cars have attempted to set a record at the Nordschleife beyond what’s been run at the open-to-the-public track days.
The Taycan has been one of the more lusted-after EVs since it was originally teased as the Mission E concept four years ago, and Porsche is doing a lot to talk up its performance credibility in the remaining days before the car’s September 4th reveal. We’ve been told it will be able to launch off the line repeatedly without seriously harming the battery, something other EVs are susceptible to, and Porsche put it through a supposedly grueling 24-hour endurance test to boot. The Nürburgring run is just another part of Porsche’s full sales pitch for the final version of the car.
With more than 30,000 reservations for a car that’s slated to start around $90,000, it’s not like the company needed to go out and invent a record for the Taycan to break. But it’s a safe bet that Porsche will mention the Nürburgring run onstage next week when the car is fully detailed for the first time in public.
Besides, the company is about to enter all-electric racing series Formula E, where it will directly compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, and more. So the Taycan’s Nürburgring lap time is likely just the first time we’ll see the German automaker fight for all-electric bragging rights.