2020 Porsche Taycan review
Toby Hagon’s Porsche Taycan 2020 Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Interior, Ownership, Verdict And Score.
IN A NUTSHELL: Porsche’s first all-electric car and one that brings plenty of Porsche goodness in a mid-sized four-door sedan body. The Taycan is brutally fast from a standstill and backs it up with genuine dynamic talent, setting a new benchmark for EV performance.
2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S Review
Porsche has joined the imminent electric revolution by creating its first all-electric car, the Taycan. Following the template set by Tesla, the four-door Taycan teams extreme performance with an otherwise relatively normal four-door body.
What Does The Porsche Taycan Cost And What Do You Get?
Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed for the Taycan, which will be offered in two models – Turbo and Turbo S.
Best estimates have the Turbo starting at around $300,000 and the Turbo S at about $350,000.
Expect gear such as electrically-adjustable leather seats, satellite-navigation and a quality audio system with digital radio. There’s also a fully digital instrument cluster and 10.9-inch infotainment screen in the centre, along with a smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen below it.
A full suite of active safety systems also incorporates active cruise control.
The Turbo will ride on 20-inch wheels and is stopped by steel brakes with Porsche’s tungsten carbide surface coating and calipers painted white.
The Turbo S gets larger 21-inch wheels with larger ceramic composite discs and flash yellow calipers.
While the two share the same rear electric motor – the rear one larger than the front – the Turbo S gets a larger front motor and inverter, in turn creating more grunt.
How Much Space Is There In The Porsche Taycan?
There are obvious styling similarities between the Taycan and Porsche’s other four-door car, the Panamera.
But the Taycan is slightly smaller, in turn reducing rear seat space; owners can choose between a four- or five-seat layout.
That said, Porsche has been innovative in reducing the compromises that often hurt electric vehicles. While the batteries are assembled along the floor of the car, there are two “foot garages” for those in the back seat to allow a more natural seating position; they’re basically gaps in the placement of the electric motors, providing more foot space.
While knee room in the rear is respectable, head room is comprised, the beautiful 911-inspired sweep of the roof meaning taller folk will be kinking their necks slightly to fit.
Up front there’s no issue with a thoroughly Porsche flavour to the layout, albeit with more screens and touch panels than Porsche has ever offered before. Think of it as a tech injection for a car focused on technology.
It’s a shame storage space is light-in; the centre console is quite small, for example, and as you raise the lid it’ll likely clock the driver on the elbow on the way through. Then there are cupholders and a near-useless space below the lower touchscreen.
While the boot will easily swallow a large suitcase, the batteries underneath mean the floor is quite high, limiting space to 366 litres. There’s also a small 81-litre luggage area under the bonnet, although if you’re carrying a charging cable that will take up most of that space.
What’s The Porsche Taycan Infotainment Like?
Porsche has employed a Land Rover-style dual digital display up front, teaming with the curved instrument cluster to create a futuristic cluster of displays. The upper touchscreen looks after most of the features – including navigation and audio features – while the lower one is more about ventilation and seat heating.
Having the ability to adjust what’s displayed on the screens makes changing settings efficient, and each can be tailored for look depending on what you’re trying to achieve. But even with the mild haptic pulse that reinforces you’ve pressed a virtual button, there are times when a traditional button would work better.
That upper screen incorporates Apple CarPlay though like all Porsches there’s no Android Auto. The Taycan is also the first car to incorporate an Apple Music app into its interface. You’ll need a subscription to make it work and there’s no darting off to the CarPlay side of the infotainment screen; instead, the Apple Music icon is more easily accessible in Porsche’s own software, allowing well-integrated streaming of music.
Passengers need not feel left out, either. Like the latest Ferraris, you can option an additional infotainment screen plonked directly in front of the front-seat passenger. It’s a neat addition although seems largely redundant given there is the main infotainment screen within millimetres of it. Perhaps its most useful feature is being able to project the speedo and basic driving information directly in front of the passenger.
Of course, that’s just the start of the options list which runs to additions such as a beefier Burmester sound system.
What’s The Porsche Taycan Engine Like?
There is no engine, only electric motors in the Taycan, one for the front wheels and one for the rear. The rear motors are identical between the Turbo and Turbo S, however, the S gets a slightly larger motor and larger inverter up front, which can send more electricity for a bigger kick.
In both cars, the front motor is slightly smaller than the rear and directly drives the vehicle. In the most efficient Range mode, it’s the front engine doing most of the driving, at least until you call on additional power.
But it’s the rear motor that is the most interesting, not only delivering more power but also being hooked up to a two-speed transmission that allows for higher speed running; whereas some EVs feel start to feel anaemic above, say, 150km/h, the Taycan keeps storming along, having shifted to its second gear at around 75km/h.
Ultimately it’s the raw numbers that make the acceleration so impressive.
In the Turbo, power is claimed at 460kW and torque at a hefty 850Nm. Unsurprisingly it’s the torque hit that makes things most interesting, the Taycan leaping with supercar-like intensity from a standstill. Using launch control for the quickest start (select Sport Plus mode, hold your foot on the brake and floor the accelerator) power peaks at a greater 500kW for 2.5 seconds, lowering the 0-100km/h time to 3.2 seconds.
The Turbo S steps it up a notch (or two). The regular power claim is the same 460kW, but there’s a whopping 1050Nm on offer. Dial-up launch control and you get 2.5 seconds of 560kW, enough to hit 100km/h in 2.8 seconds.
Again, it’s the torque that plays such a big role. And having all that torque on offer in regular driving makes for ridiculously quick responses. Stab the accelerator and there’s no waiting for turbos to spool up or gearboxes to sort themselves out – in the Taycan it’s instant thrust. Lots of it.
Even on a wet road the traction control does an incredible job of apportioning power to the wheels with traction, a split-second hesitation making almost no difference to the ballistic acceleration. The snick of the gearbox shifting at around 75km/h makes for a nice mechanical accompaniment, and the excitement keeps on coming all the way to the claimed 260kmh top speed (and beyond).
There’s also plenty of character, the electric motors letting out a nice whir. It’s less enticing if you select one of the Sport modes, which then amplifies the sound through the speakers to the point where it all sounds quite fake and too loud.
Keeping things going is a usable battery capacity of 83.7kWh. Porsche claims a driving range of up to 450km in the Turbo and 412km in the Turbo S (the latter getting stickier tyres with more rolling resistance). Our often spirited driving suggested that would be optimistic, but something like 300-350km between charges is thoroughly achievable, even with plenty of fun along the way.
In terms of cost, the Taycan will take something like $25 of electricity (assuming an electricity cost of 30 cents per kilowatt-hour). So you’d be looking at about half the energy cost of a brisk car running on petrol.
What’s The Porsche Taycan Like To Drive?
The goal with the Taycan was to ensure it delivered on the driving experience like any other Porsche – right down to being able to give it a good race track thrash.
That’s why the brakes are so enormous. For most drivers they’ll likely never use an entire set of brake pads during the life of the vehicle, instead relying on the regenerative braking that effectively reverses the flow within the electric motors, providing up to 0.38g of braking force without even touching the regular braking system. That prompted Porsche to put an automatic replacement of brake pads into the service schedule after six years to account for degradation of the pad itself.
We managed some high speed runs along German autobahns as well as spirited back road blasts and with every corner and every overtake it continued to impress.
Key to its talents is a centre of gravity lower than the Porsche 911. That’s because so much of the weight – 650kg of batteries – is way down low in the car, helping reduce unwanted leaning through corners and on quick direction changes. Sure, there’s plenty of weight to contend with – about 2.3 tonnes of it – but with so much of it contained so low in the car it helps with the whole dynamic equation.
That translates to a car that stays remarkably flat when thrown at a bend, remaining poised and beautifully controlled, almost encouraging upping the pace. Along with fluid and predictable steering it makes for a car that changes direction superbly and maintains its composure at any speed.
There is a difference between the two models and it starts with tyres.
The Turbo rides on 20-inch tyres with more of a focus on having a lower rolling resistance, in turn reducing energy use and allowing the car to drive longer on each charge. The trade-off is grip, with the Taycan Turbo more likely to understeer, or push wide at the front wheels when driven hard.
The Turbo S rides on 21-inch tyres with the focus more on outright grip, something you notice when pressing on. The tyres will still reach their limits when trying to control so much mass, but it’s a higher limit.
In both, the grip levels and general control are impressive, but in the Turbo S it steps it up a notch.
The Turbo S also gets adaptive stabiliser bars that further reduce rolling in corners. Plus, there’s rear-wheel steering that turns the wheels in the same direction at higher speeds for added stability. At low speeds the front and rear wheels turn in opposite directions, helping tuck the tail around tighter bends, which in some ways adds to its playfulness.
That the Taycan manages such pace and grace while dealing adeptly with bumps reinforces its talents. In Comfort mode the adjustable dampers are respectably supple, while even in Sport there’s enough bump absorption with a tad more control. Sport Plus isn’t as convincing, often too stiff for successive bumps.
How Safe Is The Porsche Taycan?
There are eight airbags in the Taycan, covering the front and side of the car (including curtains down each side and thorax airbags for the front seats) as well as knee airbags up front.
Porsche has also ensured the batteries are safe in a crash with steel and aluminium protection surrounding the cells and sensors fitted to establish when the high voltage components should be disconnected after a crash.
But there’s also a comprehensive suite of active safety systems that incorporate ultrasonic and radar sensors and cameras.
Active cruise control also incorporates high-speed autonomous emergency braking. Plus, there’s blind spot warning and active lane departure warning.
There’s no ANCAP rating.
What Are The Porsche Taycan Alternatives?
Direct rivals for the Porsche Taycan are difficult to define.
If you define it on its zero emissions electric propulsion then the only real rival is the Tesla Model S. But it’s more affordable but not as fast nor as dynamically adept.
If you’re simply looking for a fast four-door then the petrol-powered options are more prolific.
Porsche’s own Panamera arguably tops the list of contenders, albeit in a bigger body.
You could also look at things such as the Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-door or upcoming BMW M8 Gran Coupe and Audi RS7.
2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Specs
Price From $350,000 (estimated) plus ORCs
Warranty 3 years/unlimited km
Drivetrain 2 permanently excited AC synchronous electric motors
Power 460kW (constant), 560kW (launch control peak)
Transmission single speed direct drive (front motor), 2-speed auto (rear motor)
Body 4963mm (l); 1966mm (w); 1378mm (h)
Kerb weight 2295kg
Seats 4 or 5
Battery capacity 83.7kWh
Spare Repair kit
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