2020 Porsche Taycan | Review & Road TestKelley Blue Book
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- 12 months ago
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The Taycan is a Porsche that looks and drives like a Porsche…merely electrified.
The 4S I’m driving has, according to the EPA, a max range of 203 miles with the upgraded performance battery pack. And, using its launch control option, the 4S’s dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain zips it from null to sechzig in as little as 3.8 seconds.
The 4S is not the ultimate expression of Taycan (Taycan 4S 522hp, $105,150. 4S w/Performance Battery Plus 562hp, $110,720) but, for outwardly asserting the wisdom of electric propulsion, it works well. For more intense electric thrills, move up to the anachronistically titled Taycan Turbo (626hp, 0-60 MPH 3.0 seconds, 201-mile range, $152,250) or Turbo S (774hp, 0-60 MPH 2.6 seconds, 192-mile range, $186,350).
All those prices include destination charges, but they don’t include options. And man, like all Porsches, the Taycan can be customized to a delirious degree.
If you’re already moving and floor the accelerator, there’s that instant hit of torque that we all love in electric cars. But after that, depending on a bunch of factors there’s a secondary harder hit.
Why would an electric car do that? Because, unlike most electric cars, the Taycan’s rear motor employs a two-speed transmission. Kinda like an automated high-low transmission from the old OutRun arcade game. I’m told this setup enhances high-speed efficiency, which I’ll be sure to verify next time I’m in Germany. I’m not committed to any specific technology, but I have grown accustomed to Tesla’s uninterrupted thrust.
Consequently, I prefer that to the Taycan’s one-two punch. Though, contradicting my own argument, there is something intriguing about a mechanical downshift worming its way into an electric car. Electric motors can lack emotion.
Porsche is doing its best to counter that. And, where electrified emotion is concerned, I am a fan of the Taycan’s sound. Normal mode doesn’t sound like much but activate the sport sound feature and you’ll unleash an audible rainbow of sci-fi dreams.
The cabin is well-outfitted and comfortable upfront. In back I find the rear seatbacks a touch too vertical and the head atop my 5’10” frame lightly grazes the headliner.
But overall, I dig the Taycan’s look.
For those who are cross-shopping, the Tesla Model S is a potential rival…though it’s a very different expression of the electric car. From my vantage point, Tesla has an instantly intuitive user interface filled with goofball fun, while the Taycan’s menu structure takes more time to comprehend.
Heads up, the Taycan only includes USB-C ports. So, if you want to use Apple CarPlay to listen to your Dua Lipa playlist on the way home from the Porsche dealer, you better bring a dongle.
Regenerative braking options are limited to on, off, and automatic. Even when active, off-throttle regen is modest, making the Taycan an electric car that likes to coast. Unlike some one-pedal electric cars, you’ll have to use the Taycan’s brake pedal to slow down.
Thankfully that pedal feels good underfoot and the electric motors are still recapturing precious electrons when you use it. The front trunk offers a tidy 2.8 cu-ft while the rear trunk affords 14.3 cubes in the 4S and 12.9 in both the Turbo and Turbo S. Either way, you can drop those seats for longer loads.
Though a middle rear seat is optional seating capacity maxes at a realistic 4.
Audio, navigation, and climate controls are handled via two touchscreens. The upper 10.9-inch display sports a pleasing design with a menu structure that nonetheless took some acclimation on my part.
Meanwhile, the lower 8.4-inch touchscreen reciprocates taps with satisfying haptic feedback, though I’ve noticed the screen itself can get hot. Like the Panamera, the Taycan’s vents are controlled electronically through a screen.
While Tesla owners have a vast Supercharger infrastructure to exploit, Taycan owners can use DC quick chargers at Porsche dealers or Electrify America stations, to which free 30-minute charge sessions are granted for the first 3 years of ownership. And while the Taycan operates at 800-volts allowing a best case 5-80% charge time around 23 minutes with a 225 kW DC charger, a much more common 50 kW charger completes an 80% charge in 93 minutes.
Lastly, while there are numerous cheaper electric cars offering more range the Taycan’s appeal can’t be distilled into a cold numeric evaluation. Its essence blends sultry style, emotive performance, and forward-leaning technology…only slightly obscured by a haze of Porsche complexity. In short, the Taycan proves that combustion is not required for Porsche’s spirit to thrive.
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