The Taycan is Porsche’s first electric vehicle and it makes quite an entrance with blistering pace, dynamic handling and all the balance and pose any outstanding sports car should possess. It is available in three trim levels and customers can select from a raft of options to fully personalise their car.
The goodStyling, handling and dynamics
The badCostly for the high-end models
Porsche Taycan – First Drive (2020)
Porsche has just upped the ante in the electric sports car sector with its seriously fast new Taycan model that powers its way to 62mph from a standing start in a blisteringly quick 4.0 seconds.
Buyers can choose from three trim levels called Taycan 4S, Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S with prices starting from £83,580 and rising to £138,830. There is, of course, a wealth of options that can be added too.
It’s a car that seriously challenges the Tesla Model S and is packed with the finest leather, carbon trimmings and all the latest techno treats imaginable.
Porsche believes the entry level Taycan 4S will prove the most popular so that’s the version we took for a lengthy spin around the fast country lanes and motorways in West Buckinghamshire – and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Taycan 4S comes fitted with a 79.2kWh battery as standard, but this can be upgraded to a 93.4kWh battery with the Performance Battery Plus option costing £4,613. This battery, which is standard on the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S, increases the power output from 530hp to 571hp. The upgrade also improves performance, driving range and the speed of re-charging.
As well as the nerve-shattering instant acceleration off the mark, the Taycan 4S can power its way to a top speed limited to 155mph. It has an average range of 257 miles, but this is obviously subject to the type of driving and the terrain. Spend all day firing through the B roads and more regular charging will be called for. Cruise round the busier urban streets and expect to see just under 300 miles.
One thing that needs to be made very clear from the start here is that the Taycan 4S is a Porsche through and through. It may be electric with motors on the front and rear axles resulting in four-wheel drive, but it boasts a really low centre of gravity which is vital for handling, cornering and agility. And it drives like a high performance sports car should – just eerily quiet at times.
Our test car started life with a £83,367 price-tag, but a lengthy list of optional extras saw the final cost rise to £119,082, but clearly Porsche wanted to kit this car out with all the bells and whistles.
It goes without saying, the Taycan 4S is a real looker too with its beautifully curvaceous streamlining and stand-out features that include four-point LED headlights, a panoramic fixed glass roof, air intakes to improve the aerodynamics, door handles that are flush to the body, a three-stage rear spoiler system, privacy glass, plus 21-inch Taycan exclusive alloy wheels with black high-gloss brake calipers.
Move inside and the sporting prowess of this Porsche is immediately apparent with a seating position that is derived from the 911. The seats are power adjustable, as is the steering wheel, with memory settings to store your favourite driving position. There is a new innovative digital cockpit that almost rids the car of physical switches and gives the cabin a cleaner, modern, clutter-free appearance.
The Taycan 4S oozes quality at every turn with a 16-inch curved digital display behind the sports steering wheel that can be programmed to show all manner of data. There is also a 10.9-inch infotainment screen where the navigation, audio and communication features are located. And finally, an 8.4-inch screen offers access to the many on-board systems.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include a BOSE surround sound system (£956 extra), four-zone climate control (£581), ambient lighting (£299), navigation and Apple CarPlay as standard – there is no Android Auto facility. Obviously, the sound and air con systems would be just fine without the need to upgrade, but as I said, our car was the fully loaded version.
Buttons and switches are few and far between, but there is a dial on the steering wheel that enables you to quickly move through the various drive mode options which are called Range, which is best for eking out the most miles between charges, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual.
One of the major problems faced by engineers and designers when developing an EV is the weight issue. Batteries capable of delivering a decent range are not light and as a result, the electric models tend to weigh several hundred kilos more.
However, by positioning the bulk of that additional load low down in the car, Porsche technicians have ensured that the Taycan 4S has an incredibly low centre of gravity. That, in turn, means the handling and agility easily match that of the competition and then some.
The acceleration through the two-speed automatic gearbox is blisteringly quick and the power at your disposal seems endless as the car races to national speed limits in the blink of an eye.
The road holding is sublime meaning tight corners can be attacked with full confidence and the grip and balance make this car feel unshakable as it fires through the twisting lanes with perfectly weighted steering. It’s very composed on the motorways and even happy weaving through busy town centres turning heads wherever it passes.
There is the optional Porsche Electric Sport Sound (£354 extra) that gives the car a suitable vocal accompaniment that can be heard both inside and outside the vehicle. The noise levels change according to drive mode with Sport Plus sounding like feeding time at the Serengeti.
Of course, Porsche has made it possible to adapt the likes of the air suspension, dampers, torque vectoring control and other set-ups to suit driving requirements, and the car is packed with safety kit and driver assist aids such as lane keeping assist, cruise control with adaptive speed limiter, collision and brake assist, plus lots more besides.
There is room inside the Taycan 4S for five occupants to sit comfortably and there is a small storage compartment beneath the bonnet as there is no engine. This can hold 81 litres of kit, along with a boot with a 407-litre capacity, a lockable glovebox, door pockets and cup holders.
Charging the car from empty to full takes about 11 hours via a 7.4kW home wallbox, or 20 minutes from 20 to 80 per cent on a 150kW fast charger.
All in all, the Taycan 4S is decisive proof that electrically-powered sports cars can deliver all the comfort, practicality and exhilarating driving dynamics you could ever wish for. But this model has just raised the bar in this sector so watch this space.