Porsche Taycan review
|Car type||Electric range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||253-287 miles||11hrs 30mins-13hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||20mins (20-80%, 270kW)|
There's been much fanfare over the arrival of the Porsche Taycan, and rightfully so. This car has the potential to do more for the electric-car cause than almost any other, proving that battery power is worthy of the enthusiasts as well as the environmentalists.
Porsche’s first fully electric vehicle features a 93kWh battery in mid-range Turbo and top-of-the-range Turbo S forms, which delivers 280 and 256 miles of range respectively. The entry-level Taycan 4S offers a choice of 79 or 93kWh batteries, with corresponding claimed range of 252 or 287 miles. An entry-level, rear-wheel drive Taycan is also likely to be join the range in 2021. On paper, then, the four-door Porsche Taycan is a serious rival for the Tesla Model S.
The two electric motors in the Taycan Turbo S produce a mighty 751bhp in ‘overboost’ mode, which translates to a 0-62mph time of just 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 161mph.
But Porsche insists the Taycan is about more than straight-line speed. The car is based on the Volkswagen Group’s J1 platform; bespoke electric-car platform that will underpin the forthcoming Audi e-tron GT.
We’ve driven the 4S as well as the Turbo S on UK roads, and even with ‘just’ 563bhp and 650Nm on tap, the performance of the former is good enough to shock and delight, so we’d say the usefully cheaper 4S is the pick of the Taycan range.
Mind you, the Turbo S does have the sort of surreal, computer-game accelerative performance that's wholly intoxicating, as well as more generous standard equipment so for those with ample money to spare it's not hard to see why the Turbo or Turbo S might justify the price jump over the 4S.
Switch to Sport or Sport+ mode in any Taycan model, and and the car perks up dramatically, with the settings sharpened to make the car as nimble as possible: you’d never guess it weighs some 2.3-tonnes, judging by its sharp turn-in and playful chassis.
Not only that, but the Taycan's impressively controlled ride comfort makes it well suited to UK roads. Every Taycan model gets adaptive air suspension, and both the 4S and Turbo S that we drove had optional active anti-roll bars fitted, which delivers a great balance of precise damper and body control.
Porsche claims the regenerative braking is powerful enough that you can do 90% of your driving without touching the brake pedal at all, however we found that even the strongest of the two available settings wasn’t quite enough to slow the car sufficiently around town. We’d favour having steering-wheel paddles to more intuitively adjust the brake regeneration levels.
Inside, the Taycan is very quiet if you’re sat in the front, although it’s much louder in the back, where the tyres generate a lot of road noise. Passenger space isn’t too bad despite the sloping roofline, although the rear of the cabin is quite dark due to the small rear window.
With such a heavy focus on the future, Porsche has tried to be forward-thinking with the Taycan’s dashboard layout. A digital display with touch-sensitive buttons lies ahead of the driver, with two more screens on dashboard and a further screen on the centre console. The optional unit facing the front passenger feels like overkill.
In terms of perceived fit and finish however, the Taycan is superb, as you’d expect. Standard kit includes 18-way power-adjustable sports seats, LED lights, two-zone climate control and the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with online sat nav. However, you can blow five figures on options very easily. The 4S doesn't even include heated seats, electrically-folding wing mirrors or adaptive cruise control as standard, and even on the more generously equipped Turbo and Turbo S it's reasonable to assume that you'll be doing a lot of box-ticking.
At 366 litres, the boot is a decent size, and there's an 81-litre 'frunk' as well, although even combined it’s less than half of what you’ll find in a Tesla Model S. It’s a pity the Taycan doesn’t benefit from a hatchback tailgate like the Panamera's, but the forthcoming Taycan Cross Turismo promises to solve that issue.
Charging the Taycan will take just a matter of minutes on the IONITY 350kW rapid charging network, which has 147 stations across Europe, with plans for 400 by the end of 2020 – over 40 of which will be in the UK. Taycans with the 93kWh battery can charge at up to 270kW, which means a 100-mile top-up will take well under ten minutes.
What’s more annoying is that you have to pay £294 to upgrade to a 150kW on-board DC charger if you want to be sure that the Taycan will charge as quickly as possible at the increasingly common 100-150kW rapid chargers. Some of these older chargers will use a 400V electrical system that will only charge the 800V system in the Taycan at 50kW, and while Porsche reckons that only around 5% of rapid chargers will suffer this problem, it's still worth adding the option just to make sure. Porsche also charges for the Type 2 cable that you need to plug into most AC public chargers, which is properly cheeky.
In terms of real-world efficiency, we saw around 2.5m/kWh from the Turbo S in moderate 10deg, dry conditions that we drove it in and provided you don't drive it too hard. That equates to a range of 210 miles in (from the usable battery capacity of 83.7kWh). The 4S will go a little further than that if you opt for the bigger battery, but we haven't spent enough time in it yet to make a judgement.
All things considered, the Porsche Taycan is a huge milestone for electric cars, proving that purist and performance cars have a bright future – and present – in the battery age. For a more detailed look at the Porsche Taycan, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.