Porsche Taycan 2020: prices, specs and pictures

Entry-level rear-wheel drive Porsche Taycan goes on sale in China, with up to 303 miles of range

Porsche Taycan front static

The Porsche Taycan line-up has been bolstered by a new rear-wheel-drive model for the first time. The entry-level model is only available in China for the time being, propping up the range underneath the Taycan 4S, Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S.

The news comes just three months after Porsche’s head of research and design, Dr Michael Steiner, admitted that further Taycan models were on the way: “'There will be a rear-wheel-drive model with a smaller battery to make it more accessible price-wise," he said. “Especially for markets that don’t need four-wheel drive – places like China, where weather conditions mean you don’t need it.”

However, only part of that statement has so far come to fruition, as the new model – badged simply ‘Taycan’ – uses the same battery pack as the existing 4S. The 79.2kWh battery means the basic Taycan is good for 257 miles on the older NEDC test cycle, with no figure calculated from the more accurate WLTP test yet given. The entry-level model is also available with a larger 93.4kWh battery pack, giving a range of 303 miles – again according to the NEDC test regime. 

Performance for both models is identical, despite the differing power outputs. The smaller-battery model produces 402bhp, while the larger develops 469bhp. Each can accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 143mph.

Due to the improved packaging, Porsche claims the rear-wheel-drive Taycan's available boot space jumps from 447 litres (front and rear boots combined) to 491 litres. This is thanks to a larger front compartment, where the engine would sit in a conventional petrol or diesel car.

UK prices and on-sale dates have yet to be confirmed, but the rear-wheel-drive Taycan should cost well under £80,000 and is likely to arrive later in 2020 or early 2021.

Porsche Taycan prices, specs and versions

Prices for the 4S start from £83,367, and the car comes with two battery options: a standard ‘Performance’ model boasting 79.2kWh, and a ‘Performance Plus’ alternative with 93.4kWh. The larger battery is standard in the Turbo and Turbo S; the Taycan Turbo starts from £115,858, while the range-topping Turbo S comes in at £138,826.

A crossover model – previewed by the Mission E Cross Turismo concept car – has also been confirmed for production, and the Taycan could also form the basis of a fully electric Bentley at some stage.

Power and performance

The Taycan 4S comes in two forms: a 79.2kWh 'Performance' model offering 523bhp in 'overboost' mode, and a 93.4kWh 'Performance Plus' model producing 563bhp. Despite the power hike, both cars have the same 0-62mph (four seconds) and top speed (155mph) figures.

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

The 73.2kWh battery in the most basic version of the Taycan 4S – which has a maximum charging rate of 225kW – returns a range of 253 miles, while the 93.4kWh version can achieve up to 288 miles.

The Turbo and Turbo S models both feature the larger 93.4kWh battery, which has a maximum charging rate of 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 recharge from a 7kW home wallbox charger is expected to take around 13 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.

Technology

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.

Exterior design

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.

Interior design and technology

Porsche says the Taycan’s 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, which the driver can use to control all manner of vehicle settings and functions. There are apps for navigation, media and smartphone connectivity, as well as charging, weather and servicing.

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.

A further 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.

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 (124mph) 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.