Porsche Taycan saloon review
"The Porsche Taycan is a fully electric four-seater saloon that's great to drive, has a smart interior and supports ultra-fast charging"
- Low running costs
- Interior quality
- Limited luggage room
- Lack of compatible chargers
The Porsche Taycan signals the beginning of a new, electric era for Porsche, and it’s a car that retains the brand’s sporty DNA despite the absence of a conventional engine. Not only that, it’s also the first genuine alternative to a Tesla Model S.
The Turbo and Turbo S models were introduced first, with the latter producing an astonishing 750bhp when launch control is engaged. A more affordable version of the Taycan, called the 4S, then joined the range and it arguably makes the Taycan an even more impressive proposition, given how much less it is to buy than the Turbo models. In early 2021, a new rear-wheel drive version became the entry point to the range and slashed the price again; it’s nearly half the price of the Turbo S and roughly the same price as the entry-level Porsche Panamera, making it our pick for most buyers.
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019, the Taycan was based on new underpinnings that now also sit beneath the Audi e-tron GT. It combines some of the styling cues of the Porsche 911 and Panamera but has its own unique personality. That's especially true at the front, where rectangular LED headlights are flanked by four DRLs and active air vents open and close to cool the car or reduce drag, as required. At the rear there's a full-width LED light bar and a spoiler that pops up when more downforce is necessary.
The Turbo and Turbo S models both use the same 93kWh battery back and have 617bhp in their normal driving modes. However, launch control sees power increase to 671bhp for the Turbo and 750bhp for the Turbo S, meaning the Taycan can get from 0-62mph in as little as 2.8 seconds. Its steering feels accurate and natural, and in Sport or Sport+ mode, the Taycan feels incredibly agile considering it weighs over two tonnes.
Even on narrow, challenging British roads, the Taycan doesn't lose its sense of composure, defying its hefty weight. The nose turns almost instantly into corners and you can sense from how the car behaves that more power is going to the rear wheels than those at the front.
The 4S is now the mid-range Taycan and as standard it features a 79.2kWh battery and 523bhp, but you can upgrade to the same battery as the Turbo versions. Doing so bumps power up to 563bhp, while the maximum range increases from 252 to 287 miles between full charges. The unnamed rear-drive model that sits below the 4S has slightly less power, a 5.4-second 0-62mph time and 300 miles of range (if you go for the bigger battery). In most situations it still feels fast and it's the lightest Taycan yet, so feels even keener to dive into corners.
In their 'Range' setting, the Turbo versions use just the front motor to cruise at motorway speeds and can travel up to 279 miles. The Taycan also supports a new generation of fast chargers - with a 270kW supply it can be topped up from five to 80% in just 23 minutes. A regular 11kW charge from a home wallbox takes more like nine hours.
There's room for four adults inside, and while space can't quite match the Panamera, the four-door's rear seats are much more usable than those of the 911. It's not as big as the Model S, though, as attested by the 366-litre boot and 81-litre 'frunk', which are usable but much smaller than those in the Tesla.
The Porsche Taycan is a pivotal car for the revered German marque; the fact it's also one of the best four-door sport coupes for many years shows just how impressive it is. The Taycan shows that Porsche can make an EV that's great to drive, with a usable range, quick charging and a comfortable, stylish, luxurious interior.