NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — It doesn't take long in Porsche's new Taycan to realize that it's unlike any other model in the brand's portfolio.
The usual dramatic guttural growls of a turbocharged flat-six Porsche engine are missing.
Taycan is Porsche's big new bet on electric vehicles, launching Wednesday at simultaneous events in Fuzhou, China; Berlin and here.
The Taycan will arrive at U.S. dealerships this year and have a driving range of up to about 280 miles, based on Europe's Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP.
Whisper-quiet EV driving is a daring move for Porsche, a brand built on the rumble and acceleration of internal combustion.
But Porsche customers will be reassured once they step on the Taycan's accelerator. The car delivers 0 to 60 in a breathless 2.6 seconds as driver and passenger are pinned to their seats in the more than 5,000-pound beast.
The Taycan "drives like a Porsche, it looks like a Porsche, it smells like a Porsche and it does have the Porsche soul in it — even though it has an electric drivetrain," said Stefan Weckbach, the Taycan's head of development.
With the Taycan, Porsche has barreled into the bustling new market of performance EVs. While Tesla paved the way there, it's now a hotly contested battleground among luxury automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Jaguar.
But Taycan is no one-and-done halo vehicle for Porsche. It is the vanguard of a fleet of battery electrics that Porsche plans for the next decade, including crossovers and roadsters.
Porsche is bullish on EVs because adoption of the technology is approaching a "turning point" in the United States, Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said.
"By 2025, we expect more than 50 percent of all the vehicles we sell worldwide will have a plug — either battery electric or hybrid," Zellmer said.