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|
|2.8-5.4s||143-161mph||Rear or Four||375-751bhp|
Until recently, all Taycan models featured two electric motors, with one on each axle for four-wheel drive. Now, however, you can buy a cheaper rear-wheel-drive model – simply badged 'Taycan'. It does away with the more expensive models' front motor for a purer driving experience. It feels like a proper four-door Porsche – and despite its lower power output, still has the performance to match that feeling.
Unusually for an electric car, the Taycan's 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. The shift between the two is imperceptible; it's a really smooth car to drive.
Even the basic Taycan will do 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds. The 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 Taycan Turbo will hit 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 161mph. The top-spec 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 9.6 seconds (down from 9.8 thanks to a March 2021 software update), which is up there with the fastest cars on sale bar none.
For all that, our pick of the range is the basic rear-wheel-drive Taycan, as it costs tens of thousands of pounds less, even factoring in its less generous standard equipment. A 5.4-second 0-62mph time and 375bhp 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's just as much 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, though, 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.
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 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 (the latter is standard on all but the very cheapest rear-drive model), the Taycan’s ride quality is very good. 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.
In This Review
- 1VerdictWith a long range, savage performance and arguably the best handling of any four-door coupe – electric or otherwise – the Porsche Taycan is a landmark car
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Porsche Taycan has a long range and its 270kW rapid-charging capability is among the fastest of any electric car right now
- 3Running costsThe Porsche Taycan should be reasonably cheap to run, once you’ve got past the eye-watering purchase price
- 4Electric motor, drive & performance - currently readingThe Porsche Taycan is extraordinarily fast, but it’s the handling finesse that makes it a milestone car
- 5Interior & comfortThe Porsche Taycan's interior is finished to a high standard, and there's plenty of space for four passengers
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe Porsche Taycan offers decent practicality for such a high-performance car, although boot space is adequate rather than generous
- 7Reliability & safetyReliability and safety shouldn’t be a concern with the Porsche Taycan, as the German carmaker has a good reputation for both