New Porsche Taycan: we spend 16 minutes with the design boss…

Mr Michael Mauer is the chief designer at Porsche and the person ultimately responsible for the styling of all models in the Zuffenhausen-based firm’s range. A day before the unveiling of the Taycan, we had a walk around the new all-electric model with him. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Please share with us some of the challenges you and your team faced with the design and development of the Taycan.

“This was a radical change for Porsche. There was, for example, no predecessor. We have a very clear design philosophy. First of all, it is brand identity; it doesn’t matter what drivetrain is fitted – flat-six, V8 or turbodiesel – it must be immediately recognisable as a Porsche.

“For these types of car, there is no question that the batteries must be in the floor. The centre of gravity in this car is lower than in a 911; I remain impressed with how this car goes around a corner.

“But as a Porsche it must always be the sportiest car in the segment with the best proportions; this means you run into a challenge with a car like this. It is easy to put the batteries in the floor and put the passengers on top and then you end up with an SUV – building a sports car with this concept was a real challenge.

“The result that we have is the ‘foot garage’ for the rear-seat passengers, so their seating position is similar to a standard sedan, followed by the front passengers, [who] have a seating position similar to that of a 911.

“In my eyes, we have really defined the proportions of these type of cars. For us, the width-to-height ratio is very important. The car has several typical Porsche elements like the low front hood with the high fenders. Towards the rear, we have the greenhouse tapering into the shoulders. The numberplate has been placed very low in the functional area just above the diffuser.

“Then there is the light band, which is more for me than just a tail light. It has recently become part of Porsche’s design language. As the designer of Porsches, you need to take a lot of time and put emphasis on the rear of the car. Here you can see the power of the car with the wide shoulders and all the lights.”

What cars are in your personal garage?

“The project I was part of when I joined Porsche was the 997 GT3 MK1; I have one of these. Then I have three 964s, a Targa, Cabriolet and a Coupé. I’m selling the Targa which is one hundred percent original, but the Cabriolet is an Outlaw.

“I’m now in the final phase of individualising the 964 Coupé (follow Herr Mauer on Instagram to see this car) and I’m using parts that were available during the time of the 964, except the wheels, the lights and the seats. I have the problem that I’ve owned a G-Series model from 1984, but these cars are too old for me.

“We really start with an idea and a sketch, then one day the car is on the road – that is really a highlight. And that was the case with the GT3. I’m thankful that I am in a position to own such car… and then to keep modifying it!”

Your thoughts on the Singer 911s?

When Singer started I really liked the cars, although I’ll admit I’m not really a fan of this back-dating. However, I like the taste of the first cars with all those details. The latest cars for me are a little over the top. Again, there remain impressive details.

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