ATLANTA — Porsche says its first full-electric car, the Taycan, is built to drive and feel like the brand's flagship 911 sports car.
Taycan designers have applied that mandate to the dashboard — with a twist. The dash is based on Porsche's iconic 911, but redesigned for the 21st century.
Its most notable design difference is the absence of buttons. Vehicle controls and settings are accessed digitally across five screens.
For its first EV, which goes on sale late this year, Porsche followed Tesla's cue in relying on software and touch screens to deliver media, navigation and other vehicle controls.
That software-first approach "fits the whole digital age," Oliver Fritz, Porsche's director of driver experience, told Automotive News last week at a press event at Porsche Cars North America headquarters. "It fits the idea of simplifying things."
Swapping hardware controls for digital ones means automakers can add functions via over-the-air updates, giving customers greater configurability and customization. For instance, the intensity and direction of in-cabin airflow in the Taycan can be adjusted with finger swiping.
From a design perspective, eliminating hardware buttons also keeps the interior from looking dated as the vehicle ages.
Even so, the auto industry's shift to digital displays has raised concern from safety advocates who say they can be distracting and require drivers to take their eyes off the road to adjust vehicle settings.
Porsche says it addresses those concerns with voice control, steering wheel-mounted buttons and haptic feedback on certain displays.
The Taycan's cockpit is anchored by a 16.8- inch floating instrument cluster — a first in a Porsche vehicle.