REVIEW: The $144,000 Taycan 4S is Porsche's first EV that pairs cosmic speed with eerie electric silence
Taycanis Porsche's first EV and comes in four trims: the $79,900 base Taycan, $104,000 4S, $151,000 Turbo, and $185,000 Turbo S.
- My 4S loaner came to $143,690 after options.
- On paper, Porsche's iconic gas-powered 911 Turbo S is faster. But in practice, the Taycan 4S feels like it has warp drive.
The luxury electric car space is saturated with the likes of Tesla, Lucid, Polestar, Audi, and Jaguar. But one of the biggest names to recently enter is the Taycan sport sedan, which is, quite literally, the Porsche of
I'm not typically one to doggedly heap praise on a brand, but I'm making a begrudging exception here. Porsche knows what it's doing. The Porsche 911 is the 911, and the 718 models are modern automotive perfection. Even its compact SUV, the Macan, handles like a sports car way more than it has any right to.My point here is, this is a company that knows how to build a car, and build one well.
If that didn't spoil the review verdict for you already, I will: It's a damn fine first crack.
From 'Mission E' to 'soul of a spirited young horse'The Porsche Taycan started life as a concept called the Mission E, which debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Mission E spent the next four years tooling around, sparking rumors and noiselessly touring places like Germany's famed Nürburgring track.
made a video telling us how to say the car's name properly - just like the video it made telling us how to say "Porsche" correctly because certain clowns needed educating. Currently, there are four versions of the Taycan available: the base-model Taycan, the 4S, the Turbo, and the range-topping Turbo S. Yes, I know neither of those cars are turbocharged. Words mean things until they don't. The loaner that Porsche kicked me for a weekend was the 4S. For all intents and purposes, it is the base Taycan model - though from the way it's priced, you wouldn't think so.
It weighs, like, more than two tonsLike a Tesla, the Taycan uses a skateboard design: All of the batteries are located along the floor of the vehicle, which lowers the center of gravity and frees up space for two trunks. System voltage comes to 800 volts instead of the typical 400 volts, which Porsche says cuts charging time, decreases weight, and allows for high performance.
Charging claims are as follows: When plugged into an AC outlet with 9.6 kW, the 4S takes 9.5 hours to charge from 0 to 100%. A 50-kW DC charger takes 93 minutes from 5% to 80%. A fast-charging DC charger takes 22.5 minutes to charge the car from 5% to 80%.Using the EVgo app one night, I found a nearby 50-kW CCS charger. After about 25 minutes of charging, the battery went from 54% to 71%. The whole thing cost me $8.96.
The EPA gives the Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus a range of 203 miles. The Taycan measures 16.3 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and 4.5 feet tall. Its rear trunk has a cargo capacity of 14.3 cubic feet. Curb weight comes to 4,947 pounds.As of this writing, the Porsche Taycan has not yet been rated for crashworthiness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
What stands out: Warp driveOn paper, Porsche's gas-powered 911 Turbo S has the Taycan 4S beat. The Turbo S has more horsepower, more torque, a quicker estimated 0-to-60 time. You know the Turbo S is faster. But when you floor the "go" pedal in the Taycan, all that knowledge flies out the window alongside your grasp on reality.
One second, you're cruising along quietly and the next, you're being shot forward through space-time, fired from what feels like the universe's biggest bowstring. You're warping forward so powerfully you've left your stomach in the previous galaxy. And you, the one with brake pedal access, are the one who controls when the passenger screaming stops. This is a good thing, by the way.Does it ever get old? Probably! But as far as party tricks go, it's a pretty neat one.
If you do want some sound, putting the car in Sport Plus mode or activating the "engine" "noise" option will pipe in some artificial motor noise (it sounds like a musical generator). But it still doesn't adequately prepare you for the instant torque. Nothing does until you've done it to yourself a few times.Unlike in the Polestar 2, I never had complaints about too-light steering in the Taycan. It was always nice and heavy, the smallest of inputs translating to a subsequent wiggle in the nose. Paired with the low center of gravity and the futuristic whee of the motors, the Taycan slingshots in and out of corners with acute, alien-like precision and delight. From the outside, the car is stunning. Sleek and purposeful, it doesn't look that different from the Mission E concept we first saw five years ago. Mine wore a wonderful coat of Mamba Green Metallic Paint, 21-inch gold Mission E Design Wheels, and a set of carbon-ceramic brakes with yellow calipers. Life is too short for boring cars. Dress mine up like a mobster, please.
What falls short: Could use a hatchInside the Taycan, I could count the number of physical switchgears on one hand. Aside from what was on the steering wheel, the driver's only physical touchpoints were the gear selector lever and the car's on/off button. The Taycan's user experience wasn't as hateful as other all-touch setups. Its screens offered a degree of haptic feedback, so you knew if your fingers were actually selecting something without always looking down.
But even things you expect to have some kind of hard switch do not. The headlight controls, for example, are operated via touchscreen off to the side of the driver information cluster.A defining driving characteristic of many EVs is their one-pedal driving capability. It's a fun thing you can do with the accelerator where, after learning to modulate the car's regenerative braking, you can control its forward driving without the use of the brake pedal. Unfortunately, no Taycan will have one-pedal driving. All regenerative braking will be handled through the brake pedal, according to Autoweek. From what I understand, people have a love/hate relationship with one-pedal driving, so take this news as you will.
But I actually saw the Taycan's biggest shortcoming when I parked it next to a Tesla Model S. We were loading up our cars with supplies, the Model S owner and I. The difference was that the Model S's trunk is a hatch. The Taycan's is not.Anyone who's used a hatch-style trunk knows that they make loading and unloading cargo much easier. It makes all of the trunk accessible, not just the half that's closest to you. And there's more usable vertical room! Hatch all of the sedans, I say.
Competitor comparison: $$$$In terms of range, the Taycan, unfortunately, brings up the rear behind the Tesla Model S (402 miles estimated) and the upcoming Lucid Air (406 miles estimated for the base model). And it is quite expensive. The Taycan 4S starts ( starts!) at $103,800 and goes all the way up to $185,000 for the Turbo S model. In January, Porsche added a base-model Taycan to its lineup with a starting MSRP of $79,900. This still makes it about $10,000 more expensive than the Model S, however. Then we get into the options, because it's a Porsche and the options list is longer than a diner menu. Instead of waffles, corned beef hash, and club sandwiches, it's multi-thousand-dollar brake kits and frivolous vanity features. Ready?
All of that, plus the delivery/processing/handling fee, brought my loaner's MSRP up to $143,690. It's a very expensive car.But as is increasingly the case with EVs, the whole thing comes down to the user experience and brand preference. In the Taycan, you're getting something that's undeniably sporty and finished in that known Porsche way: tight, buttoned down, serious.
When taking my friend for a ride, he jokingly asked if the car had a whoopie cushion feature.Of course not. This is a car built by adults.
Our impressions: Heavy but planted
Getting into any Porsche product expecting it to be bad is like thinking Lewis Hamilton will lose a race. Kind of like gravity or celestial movement, it's just not something you bet against. The Taycan is no exception.
There are, of course, a few things that feel a bit half-baked - the rear visibility, for one. Plus, the piped-in fake motor noise is rather gimmicky and at odds with what is otherwise a very serious car. But in terms of feeling quality and driving like a roller coaster, the Taycan absolutely nails it.Is it worth six figures? I don't know. But I can tell you this. I liked the Taycan quite a bit. It's not built on an internal-combustion engine platform that's been repurposed for an EV, so there aren't any glaringly obvious passenger or cargo room compromises. Sitting in the back does not give you the distinct feeling that you're astride a battery pack.
Perhaps, though, this is a similar method to Tesla's: Launch the expensive, halo model first to get people excited about the idea and the brand, and then launch the cheaper volume seller.It would explain why the Taycan is a sedan rather than an SUV. Up next is most likely the electric Macan, believed to appear in 2022 or thereabouts. But if Taycan hardware makes it over to the Macan EV, then it'll be a considerable package. For now, though, those who want "the Porsche of EVs" now have one from the brand itself - and it's a pretty good one, at that.
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