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)||21mins (10-80%, 270kW)|
After much fanfare and a big reveal at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, we’ve finally had the chance to drive the new Porsche Taycan in all its glory.
Porsche’s first fully electric vehicle features a 93kWh battery in mid-range Turbo and top-of-the-range Turbo S forms, which deliver 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.
On paper, then, the Porsche Taycan looks like a genuine rival for the Tesla Model S, and if its performance stats are anything to go by, it should be a close encounter. 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.
Porsche has worked hard on ‘repeatability’, which means the supercar-rivalling acceleration should be achievable again and again without any noticeable drop-off in performance. Its two-speed transmission (most electric cars only have one ‘speed’, or gear) helps combine its gargantuan acceleration with efficiency at higher speeds, too.
But Porsche insists the Taycan is about more than straight-line speed. The car is based on the Volkswagen Group’s J1 platform, which will underpin the forthcoming Audi e-tron GT, among others; a bespoke electric-car platform means the Taycan shouldn’t suffer the compromises present in the Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron, which are partly based on petrol and diesel cars.
Those cars feel numb and weighty, but the Taycan doesn’t. Like any Porsche worth its salt, it feels agile through corners and the driving position – just a few inches off the ground – is suitably sporty. The steering wheel lies close to your chest, like it does in the 911, and it’s nicely weighted and precise on the move.
The Porsche Taycan has four driving modes: Normal, Sport and Sport+ can all be found on petrol-powered Porsches, but the Taycan also has a Range setting. This forces the vehicle to maximise its efficiency by limiting power and using only the front wheels at a motorway cruise. Even here, though, the Taycan feels more than fast enough for everyday driving.
We’ve driven the 4S as well as the Turbo S, 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.
Switch to Sport or Sport+ mode and the Taycan comes alive, with settings sharpened to make the car as nimble as possible: you’d never guess it weighs more than two tonnes, judging by how well it turns. There’s a depth of steering feedback and handling alertness to the Taycan that makes it feel every bit the Porsche performance car when you want it to, regardless of its electric powertrain and four-door GT leanings.
Our test car ran on 21-inch wheels and was fitted with Porsche’s air suspension, and while they performed well on our ultra-smooth Swedish test route, we can’t draw any firm conclusions on ride comfort until we’ve driven the car in the UK.
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 actually favour having steering-wheel paddles to more intuitively adjust the brake regeneration levels, and one of our very few quibbles with the way the Taycan drives is with its brake feel.
The optional carbon-ceramic brakes on our test car, at least could certainly deliver slightly more brake feel and ease of modulation at slow and middling speeds.
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 unit facing the front passenger feels like overkill – we turned it off after a couple of miles.
In terms of fit and finish however, the Taycan is superb, as you’d expect from a car made by Porsche and costing six figures. 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. Ceramic brakes are a relatively affordable optional extra, although the Burmester 3D surround-sound system costs thousands.
Our test car was equipped with the Porsche Electric Sport Sound pack – standard on the Turbo S and a cost-option on the rest of the range – which artificially makes the vehicle sound like a really aggressive flying saucer. It may be an acquired taste, but we really enjoyed it in harder driving conditions, while turning it off when making more relaxed progress.
At 366 litres, the boot is a decent size, although it’s less than half of what you’ll find in a Tesla Model S. Still, we managed to fit a large amount of camera gear and luggage into the back, while the 81-litre ‘frunk’ comfortably held a rucksack. It’s a pity the Taycan doesn’t benefit from a hatchback tailgate like the Panamera's, however.
Charging the Taycan could 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 some five minutes.
What’s more annoying is that at any public charging station other than super-rapid chargers, the Taycan charges at a rather tardy 50kW (which delivers 100 miles of range in 40 minutes). Unless, that is, you pay £294 to upgrade to a 150kW on-board DC charger, which means the Porsche’s DC fast and rapid charging is limited only by the rate of the plug it’s attached to.
At home on a 7.4kW wallbox, a full charge will likely take in excess of 13 hours, although that’ll still be fast enough for drivers who leave the Taycan plugged in overnight. A full top-up should cost around £13 at home, equating to fuel costs of around 5p per mile.
We couldn’t match the claimed 256-mile range on our test run, although we were carrying a large payload, which will have hampered efficiency. Around 220 miles should be a realistic figure in the real-world for the top-spec Taycan Turbo S, while the longer-range Turbo and 4S will achieve more.
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.