Porsche Reinvents The Sunroof With Variable Light Control Available On The Porsche Taycan

Technology / Comments

Porsche Variable Light Control is a useful piece of technology.

The updated 2022 Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo made its debut early this year, sporting a Variable Light Control panoramic sunroof as an optional extra. This option is available on all Taycan models, including the standard sedan, Sport Turismo, and Cross Turismo.

It's a pricy option and costs an additional $4,760 on the Taycan sedan and $3,290 on the Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo. Porsche's innovative panoramic roof is far more than just a piece of glass that allows natural light to illuminate the interior, however. It can go from completely covered to semi-transparent to completely clear at the touch of a screen.

We've seen this kind of technology before, but not as advanced as this.

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Mercedes-Benz was the first to introduce a sunroof that could change its transparency levels. It was dubbed Magic Sky Control, and it was equipped to high-end vehicles like the S-Class, SL, and Mercedes-Maybach S600. The now-defunct SLC could also be equipped with Magic Sky Control, which was the only magical thing about it.

Porsche's system has several states. When you shut the car down, Variable Light Control activates the default mode, covering the roof in matte white. Start the car up, and it reverts to whichever setting you had it on before the car was shut down.

The system consists of seven layers. The primary layer is a polymer matrix with a wafer-thin conductive layer on both sides, referred to as indium tin oxide. With no voltage between layers, the matrix is matte. Once voltage is introduced, the liquid crystals rearrange themselves.

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The system is activated via the touchpad in the center console. You can select between two Semi-Transparent modes and one Clear Mode. In Clear Mode, the roof is 100% transparent, allowing light to flow unobstructed.

The intermediate stages are Semi and Bold. In Semi, the roof is 40% matte, increasing to 60% when Bold is activated.

There is one more mode, which doesn't have a name. It basically works like a roller shade but uses Variable Light Control instead of a physical sunshade. You simply roll your finger over the roof displayed on the center console touchpad and move it as far as needed.

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Porsche says the perceived and actual temperature at head height drops significantly once the full matte or semi-transparent modes are activated. It's also helpful in cold weather, with the roof boasting an e-coating on the underside of the panoramic roof. Porsche tested its advanced top underneath the South African sun. After 45 minutes, the Taycan equipped with Variable Light Control was nine degrees Celsius cooler than the best roller shade available.

"In architecture, layers of liquid crystals have long been used in windowpanes to manage temperature," explains Stephan Wetzel, a specialist in automotive glazing at Porsche.

"We originally planned simple, straight stripes," said Wetzel. "But it looked a little awkward. My colleague Markus Schulzki from Predevelopment worked with the Design department to develop a whole new look. The shape of the third brake light served as inspiration for the unmistakable pattern. And that was it!"

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