Porsche Taycan electric motor, drive & performance

The Porsche Taycan is extraordinarily fast, but it’s the handling finesse that makes it a milestone car

0-62mph Top speed Driven wheels Power
2.8-4.0s 161mph Four 523-751bhp

All Taycan models feature two electric motors, with one on each axle for four-wheel drive. Unusually for an electric car, the rear motor uses a two-speed transmission (most make do with a single ‘gear’) in order to offer the best combination of performance from a standstill and efficiency at motorway speeds. An entry-level, rear-wheel drive model is set to join the range in 2021.

Even the Taycan 4S delivers shocking straight-line pace; enough to make the Turbo and Turbo S feel rather unnecessary, if splendidly bonkers in terms of outright performance. More than the power on offer, it’s the Taycan’s handling lustre that wins it five stars in this section.

Porsche Taycan 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

With a maximum of 671bhp, the mid-range Porsche Taycan Turbo will hit 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 161mph. The top-spec Porsche Taycan Turbo S has the same electronically limited top speed, but with up to 751bhp at its disposal, it'll see off 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds. Acceleration from 0-124mph takes 9.8 seconds, which is up there with the fastest cars on sale bar none.

For all that, our pick of the range is the 4S, as it costs tens of thousands of pounds less, even factoring in less generous standard equipment. A 4.0-second 0-62mph time and 563bhp power output make it feel awesomely rapid whether you’re fluctuating through the mid range or going for a flat-out drag. Nothing about it feels ‘entry-level’, and it feels just as fun on UK roads as the Turbo S, too.

If you do really want Tesla Model S-style savagery, the Turbo S is the one to go for; all that stomach-squirming acceleration executed in a near-silent, unflappable manner is as addictive as ever. More importantly, the Taycan’s pedal responses make it easy to modulate the speed and take advantage of the car’s impressive traction and handling.

Avoid the carbon-ceramic brakes as they lose a little of the feel offered with the standard brakes and are unnecessary unless you're going to take your Taycan to the track. Plus, braking performance is fantastic anyway.

Porsche claims the variable 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. It bleeds in smoothly and makes the Taycan easy to drive fluidly through awkward traffic but we’d still favour having steering-wheel paddles to more intuitively adjust the brake regeneration levels.

Handling

The Taycan weighs in excess of two tonnes, but you’d never guess that based on how it drives: it’s agile and responsive in corners, with a playful and communicative feel that belies its hefty mass. Do note that a lot of items that affect how the car drives are optional on the lower-end models; we’d add the active anti-roll bars and four-wheel steering to the 4S for best results.

With all that fitted, the Taycan really is a new benchmark in handling delight for the electric cars; light-footed yet confidence-inspiring and characterful, it's totally satisfying on the right road despite its size.

You're always aware of what's going on with the road surface and grip levels, and there's a supple glide to the way the Taycan goes down a scruffy country road that makes it comfortable and that also means it remains settled even over mid-corner bumps or awkward cambers.

Together with decent traction and a touchy-feely level of communication that brings confidence as well as involvement, it's great on Britain's infamously rubbish road surfaces and narrow country routes despite its weight and size.

On 21-inch wheels and benefiting from Porsche’s air suspension (standard across the range), the Taycan’s ride quality is very good on the smooth non-UK roads we’ve tested it on. You can feel this is a stiff car in terms of its body rigidity and suspension setup, but the damping and body control are tightly controlled enough that it never feels uncomfortable.

By any standard, this is a great long-distance tourer, country-road weapon and about-town poser, even on UK roads.