When buying Porsche’s current six-vehicle lineup – and growing with an upcoming 3-row electric SUV – it’s easy to forget that just 25 years ago the German brand had no only one model to offer: the famous 911. And, if you ask Porsche loyalists, he should have braked on the spot.
But to his credit, he didn’t. Despite cries of heresy, the Cayenne SUV has been introduced for the 2003 model year and now the time has come for the iconic sports car manufacturer to go electric with the Taycan compact sedan – a blue-blooded Porsche worthy of the Stuttgart coat of arms.
- Model: Porsche Taycan
- Engine:: Alternating current permanent synchronous electric motor
- Output power: 402 hp
- Couple : 254 LB-FT
- Driveline: Rear-wheel drive
- Transmission: 2-speed transmission on the rear axle
- Drives like a good Porsche should
- 800-volt battery charging results in fast recharge times
- Design that turns heads
- Not as fast as it looks
- Overall experience disappointed with Common Man Cabin
- Expensive optional extras mean it gets expensive quickly
The new definition of speed
A rear/side shot of a Cherry Metallic Taycan being driven in direct sunlight away from the camera.
If you’ve ever driven an electric vehicle, you know that it’s basically sports cars in training; a low center of gravity and rocket-like thrust are inherent fundamentals of building electric cars. So for Porsche, the challenge with the Taycan isn’t to make it sporty, it’s to make it drive like a Porsche. Features such as surgically precise steering, race car-like braking modulation and a highly resilient powertrain make Porsche models among the world’s most desirable. As for speed?
It’s just de rigueur for this automotive set. But with this specific Taycan, it’s the speed at which the battery charges that’s most impressive, not so much its actual acceleration. With a controlled 0-60mph launch time of 5.1 seconds, the Taycan is certainly not a slug but a quick charge from 5-80% in around 22 minutes. Now that’s serious speed and its high-octane 800-volt battery architecture deserves the tip of the hat.
From the driver’s seat
Straight out of the 911, the steering wheel has a thin rim with perfect dimensions sheathed in suede; leads it to a super fast change of direction with a huge amount of road feel. Combined with active suspension and rear axle steering, the Taycan is quite a handling tactician free of any unwanted antics. I enjoyed the player with no manufactured sounds, but there’s a cool futuristic EV soundtrack just a touchscreen selection for an added visceral component.
And the deft feel of braking is unequivocally the best of any EV I’ve ever driven. Although Porsche eschews the one-pedal driving commonly found in other electric vehicles, viewing it as too great a sacrifice in performance, with the recuperation feature enabled there is significant braking induced by the mere fact to lift the accelerator.
In Sport and Sport Plus modes, the operation of the unique 2nd gear is palpable. Sometimes it’s not the smoothest power transition, but despite being the slowest Taycan in the 10-version range, this 2-speed transmission adds a touch of performance by multiplying torque by so as not to strangle the driver’s repeated demands. maximum acceleration.
A Tactian Manipulator
A close up of the Taycan’s drive mode screen.
Rolling on air springs that automatically adjust to the road surface, the ride quality is unmistakably Porsche: steeped in feel but never harsh. This $2,200 option includes a programmable Smart Lift feature that remembers when to lift the body to avoid bottoming out due to low ground clearance.
With the weight savings of a single engine and the benefit of torque vectoring, the Taycan hooks up and tames twisty roads with a confident deftness that reminds me of the company’s acclaimed 2-seater; it’s stuck to the road. And I’m surprised at how well the Taycan can be heard from outside the car – far beyond the ethereal sounds of pedestrian safety typical of EVs. It’s actually a bit racy.
Porsche Performance Plus Battery
Steve Hammes in the driver’s seat of the Taycan checking the energy monitor.
My test model is the cheapest Taycan: a single-engine rear-wheel-drive model with a base price of $88,150 including destination. But nobody escapes the Porsche dealership without spending a little more and this one comes with 2 pages of optional equipment, the most expensive and important being the 93.4 kWh Performance Battery Plus.
For nearly $6,000, it boosts range by 25 miles and pushes horsepower from 402 to 469 and peak torque from 254 pound-feet to 263. That being said, it’s no faster 0-to- 60 mph and it takes a bit longer to charge when plugged into a level 2 outlet.
The lean on the load
A static photo of the DC fast charging port on the base model Porsche Taycan
With free over-the-air updates, Porsche continues to remotely increase the Taycan’s range through software tweaks and I’ve seen up to 265 miles on the battery monitor after a full tank. It’s also plug-and-charge compatible, so as soon as the Taycan is plugged in, charging begins without any further hassle. Porsche includes 3 years of 30-minute fast-charging sessions at Electrify America stations, but according to a company spokesperson, most owners have a 240-volt charger installed at home for convenient battery replenishment overnight.
Interestingly, the Taycan has two charging ports: a driver’s side for DC charging and a passenger’s side for AC charging. Other distinctive Taycan features include massive regenerative braking capability that recaptures otherwise wasted energy to reuse, not one but a two-speed transmission that ignites repeatable high-performance driving without overcharging the battery, and a slippery aerodynamics that outshine every other Porsche.
Style that turns heads
A static shot of the side profile of a cherry red Porsche Tayca
Even after two years on the market, this Cherry Metallic example is turning a lot of heads. It’s a beautiful machine; a mix of style between a 911 and a Panamera. And those optional 20-inch Turbo Aero wheels fitted with offset-width, maximum-performance, power-adjustable summer tires offer a strong hint at the Taycan’s sporting intentions.
The cabin afterwards
A static shot of the race-tex interior on a base model Porsche Taycan
Seen through the lens of the pure performance buyer attracted to a base Taycan, that no-frills cabin can be reasoned to some degree. And while there are plenty of built-in convenience and safety features, it just doesn’t quite match the charisma or richness expected in a 4-door of this ilk. It’s too low end at this price.
Including over $30,000 in optional equipment, the MSRP as tested is $120,900, so there’s no excuse for a lesser cabin experience. For example, that grippy Race-Tex interior, not to mention the price tag, does a great job of keeping passengers in place, but it looks like it’s straight out of a Nissan. Spanning the dash, owners can opt for a second touchscreen for the co-pilot to use, but without it there’s just an unimaginative sea of black.
A shot through the driver’s side door of the Taycan cabin with focus on the Alcantara steering wheel.
In true Porsche fashion, the start button conventionally resides on the left, but the upright gear lever and right- and left-most instrument clusters are completely or partially obscured by the steering wheel. On the plus side, the Taycan doesn’t require the driver to start the car as long as the key fob is recognised; it is already lit and ready to roll.
The new infotainment system mimics a smartphone screen and requires only a small learning curve, but doesn’t put enough EV-specific features front and center; visual autonomy with a map overlay would be nice. And the original stereo sounds terrible. There is a secondary screen under the main unit used for climate controls, opening the two trunks and monitoring charging progress. There’s also a new Porsche app to remotely control such things. A wireless charger sits vertically inside the small center console.
Remember it’s compact
The rear seats of the Taycan in Race-Tex Black/Slate Gray photographed through the passenger side door.
Low-slung and compact in size, the Taycan may share some styling cues with the 5-door Panamera, but it’s actually much smaller inside. The two rear seats are positioned with deep, sculpted bottoms to contain their occupants while three-seater seating is an option. Two USB ports are included, but no heated seats or electronic climate controls.
The space, however, is adult-friendly and surprisingly comfortable even without a panoramic roof. As for the main trunk, its cargo volume of 12 cubic feet is about the same as that of a Chevy Spark. There is an additional small but deep storage space in the front trunk.
Give me the Taycan 4S instead
A basic Cherry Metallic Taycan driving away from the camera on a windy road.
This entry-level model is the only two-wheel-drive Taycan available that is likely aimed at die-hard Porsche enthusiasts who don’t need the pinnacle of speed when their 911 is waiting back in the garage. For me, I might need at least a Taycan 4S and its sub-four-second acceleration to really get me excited. But I really like what Porsche has created here minus the popular cabin.