New Porsche Taycan 2020: official pictures, specs and ride review
Porsche has taken the wraps off the final production version of the Tesla Model S-rivalling Porsche Taycan four-door electric sports car, a few days ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The new model will make 750bhp in its most powerful form, getting from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds. Driving range of over 250 miles on a single charge is promised, along with high-speed 270kW charging capability allowing for a top-up to 80% charge in a little over 20 minutes.
Porsche says more than 10,000 customers have placed a deposit on the Taycan, and it expects to build between 20,000 and 25,000 models annually from 2020 onwards.
Porsche Taycan prices, specs and versions
As was rumoured before launch, there will be three versions of the Taycan offered: the standard car, the Turbo and the Turbo S. The latter pair are the first to go on sale, with the less powerful version (possibly named Taycan Carrera) following in due course.
The Porsche Taycan Turbo will cost from £115,858 in the UK, with the range-topping Taycan Turbo S coming in at £138,826.
Power and performance
Both the Turbo and Turbo S have a 'baseline' power output of 617bhp, with differing maximum figures when in 'overboost' mode. The Taycan Turbo has a maximum output of 671bhp and generates 850Nm of torque. It's electronically limited to a top speed of 161mph and accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds.
The Turbo S promises even greater performance, with 750bhp and 1,050Nm of torque on tap in overboost mode. It boasts a launch-control-assisted 0-62mph time of just 2.8 seconds, a 0-124mph time of 9.8 seconds and a standing quarter-mile time of 10.8 seconds. Top speed is the same 161mph as the Turbo.
Range and charging
Power is stored in a 93.4kWh battery and the Taycan will be the first production road car capable of charging at 270kW. At the moment only a handful of public charging stations support this speed, primarily those on the Ionity network, but more should arrive with time.
Topping up from five to 80% capacity from one of these should take 23 minutes, Porsche says, while doing the same from a 50kW rapid charger – a far more common sight in the UK – should take just over an hour and a half. A full overnight recharge from an 11kW home wallbox charger is expected to take nine hours.
A driving range of 279 miles, calculated using the latest WLTP test method, is claimed for the Taycan Turbo – less than the 365 miles claimed for the top-spec Tesla Model S. The more powerful Taycan Turbo S sees its range reduced to 257 miles.
The Taycan is built on an all-new electric-car platform from Porsche, known internally as J1. It's slightly smaller than the conventionally powered Panamera, measuring 4,963mm long, 1,966mm wide and 1,381mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,900mm and a weight of 2,395kg.
The Turbo and Turbo S models get a pair of electric motors (one on each axle), while the less powerful entry-level version will have one (on the rear axle). On the two-motor models, the front motor is single speed, while the rear gets its own two-speed transmission, with a first gear for rapid off-the-line acceleration and a second for cruising.
Porsche says these permanent magnet synchronous motors are less prone to losing performance with heat than other electric motors. The company claims that this, combined with the car's 800v electrical system, means it will be able to deliver its maximum performance over and over, without any degradation.
Some of the Taycan's suspension components are shared with the Panamera sports saloon, while it also incorporates four-wheel steering for greater maneuverability at low speeds and better agility at high speeds. Adjustable air suspension allows the driver to select from a range of settings: everything from pillow-soft for motorway cruising to rock-hard for a trackday on a smooth circuit.
A brake-energy recuperation system is also standard: this can be switched off entirely for a more natural driving feel, or set to automatic to recover the greatest amount of energy back into the battery. The two-speed transmission of the Taycan Turbo models also behaves differently depending on the mode selected: Range, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus are all available, with Range using the longer second gear exclusively and Sport Plus offering the strongest acceleration.
It has been four years since the original Porsche Mission E concept appeared at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, but the looks of the Taycan have not strayed too far from that initial idea in the intervening time.
The nose profile and side windows of the car are strongly reminiscent of Porsche's signature 911 model, but elsewhere there are innovative details such as slim LED headlights, vertically-orientated air intakes and a full-width LED light strip across the tail of the car.
Porsche says the Taycan's sleek shape gives it the lowest drag coefficient of any car it makes, and moving aerodynamic parts and cooling flaps have been integrated into the design.
Two wheel designs have been noted so far, both 21 inches in diameter, one finished in black and white and the other boasting carbon-fibre 'fins'.
Interior design and technology
The interior of the Taycan was revealed ahead of the car’s debut. Porsche says the cabin is inspired by that of the original 911 from 1963, with a clean, driver-focused layout. The dashboard can hold up to four large screens, with the option of a fifth in the rear.
A curved 16.8-inch instrument cluster lies behind the steering wheel, featuring four display modes: Classic, with rounded instruments and a conventional set-up; Map, which replaces the central display with a map; Full Map, which omits all instruments to display the sat nav across the entire screen; and Pure, for essential driving information only.
The instrument cluster is flanked by two small touch-control edges, operating lighting and chassis functions. Meanwhile, the dashboard houses a 10.9-inch touchscreen, using which the driver can control all manner of vehicle settings and functions. There are apps for navigation, media and smartphone connectivity, as well as charging, weather and servicing.
Porsche says all of the interfaces have been redesigned for the Taycan, with a reliance on physical controls greatly reduced. In addition to touch controls, voice control features can be activated with the phrase ‘Hey Porsche’. Buyers also get the option of a second dashboard touchscreen for the front-seat passenger, allowing them to interact with the car without distracting the driver.
The elevated, 8.4-inch touchscreen in the centre console is designed to give the feeling of a low driving position. Climate-control settings can be selected here, with haptic feedback and handwriting recognition technology included for a more ‘intuitive’ experience.
The air vents are operated digitally – a feature also found in the Tesla Model 3 – while a switch in the instrument panel removes the need for a driving-mode lever. Taycans fitted with the optional four-zone ‘Advanced Climate Control’ get a fifth, 5.9-inch touchscreen in the back to allow rear-seat passengers to choose their preferred settings.
Elsewhere, two variants of the steering wheel are available: a standard version, which is customisable with coloured inserts; plus a 'GT Sports' option, with a more distinctive design. Various interior colour options are available: Black-Lime Beige, Blackberry and Meranti Brown are exclusive to the Taycan.
Optional accent packages add matte black, dark silver or neodyme highlights, while the doors and centre consoles can be specced with wood, matte carbon, embossed aluminium of fabric trims. Leather seats are available, but customers can opt for sustainably tanned Club Leather or recycled Race-Tex microfibre upholstery instead.
A six-month subscription to the Apple Music streaming service is standard with the Taycan. Porsche says this is the first time full Apple Music integration has been offered in any vehicle: drivers have access to over 50 million songs, with the German manufacturer providing complimentary in-car internet roaming for three years.
A premium Burmester surround-sound audio system is optional and drivers will be able to search for music on the move using Porsche's voice-control assistant. The Taycan is compatible with Apple CarPlay, too.
Test runs and lap records
The Taycan's full reveal came just days after it had set a new lap record for four-door electric cars around the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany. Lars Kern, one of the brand's test drivers, went around the 20.6-kilometre circuit in seven minutes and 42 seconds at the wheel of a pre-production version of the Tesla Model S rival.
Other landmarks the Taycan hit during testing included 26 successive 'launch control' starts from 0-200kph and covering more than 2,000 miles in 24 hours at the Nardo test track in Italy. A team of six Porsche drivers averaged between 121 and 134mph throughout, stopping a handful of times to recharge and swap drivers.
Test mules of the Porsche Taycan have covered more than six million kilometres during the vehicle’s five-year development programme, which has spanned 30 countries and temperatures ranging from -35 to +50 degrees Celsius. It has also been put through more than 100,000 charging cycles to make sure the battery is robust as possible.
With the Taycan almost ready for production, our sister title Auto Express went to Germany for a passenger ride alongside the car’s chief engineer, Stefan Weckbach, in order to see how it’s shaping up.
“We wanted the Taycan to be a true Porsche,” Weckbach explained. “That means it must be a maximum performer under every circumstance for as long as the driver demands it.” This is easier said than done in a car that weighs more than two tonnes, measuring more than five metres long and two metres wide.
However, the Taycan boasts a lower centre of gravity than the Porsche 911 GT3, in large part thanks to the low positioning of its battery. Combined with active, adaptive air suspension and rear-wheel steering, the Taycan feels incredibly agile in corners, brilliantly disguising its large proportions.
The low seating position should also be factored into the equation: it goes a long way to making the Taycan feel sporty and more driver-focused than either the Model S or the Jaguar I-Pace. Performance in a straight line is also remarkable: even from the passenger seat, the mooted 0-62mph figure of 3.5 seconds or less seems accurate.
What’s striking is that this acceleration happens in near-silence, with Porsche’s engineers having worked hard to eliminate as much noise as possible from the electric motors.
We’ll get a proper drive of the Taycan towards the end of 2019.