What Car? says...
The Porsche Taycan proves that the Stuttgart-based manufacturer knows how to defy physics – because a heavy electric car has no right to be this good to drive.
True, lots of cars that run on electricity provide astonishing acceleration from a standstill, but it’s fair to say that the Taycan is one of very few that promise to be an engaging and fun-to-drive alternative to a full-on, petrol-powered performance car. Porsche is a dab hand at turning some of the most unlikely vehicles into sports cars so it was only a matter of time before it built a world-class electric car model.
The Taycan certainly seems to have all the right ingredients, including the lowest centre of gravity in the German brand’s line-up. It's not some highly impractical supercar, either: it has rear doors, enough space for a couple of adults in the back, and a reasonably big hatchback boot.
There are several versions available. The entry-level model has rear-wheel drive and is simply called the Taycan. Then there's the 4S, which has more power and – as the name suggests – four-wheel drive.
The GTS is in the middle of the range, with a bit more pace and agility than the 4S, but without the hardcore feel of the two models at the top of the tree: the Turbo and Turbo S. The Turbo S can pump out up to 751bhp – enough power to make you genuinely giddy.
Porsche gives you a choice of three bodystyles too. Here, we're concentrating on the four-door coupé but you can also have the sleek estate-like Taycan Sport Turismo and the more rugged looking Taycan Cross Turismo.
So, is the Porsche Taycan as good as the related Audi e-tron GT (which is basically a Taycan wearing a Vorsprung Durch Technik suit?) or the Mercedes EQE or Mercedes EQS? This review will tell you everything you need to know, including how we rate its performance and which version we recommend.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
While developing the Taycan, the biggest issue Porsche had to battle with was weight, because the batteries in electric cars tend to be incredibly heavy. So to mitigate the problem Porsche's engineers placed as much of that weight as possible low down in the car, giving it an incredibly low centre of gravity.
The result is that it's in a different league to any other electric car (well, except the near-identical Audi e-tron GT) when it comes to grip, balance and resistance to body roll. If you want to take things even further, you can add optional active anti-roll bars (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport or PDCC for short), and then you’ll have a performance car that’s every bit as capable in corners as the lighter but physically larger Porsche Panamera.
The steering is equally impressive. It gives you a better sense of connection to the road than the steering in the Mercedes EQS and pips the e-tron GT’s because it has more heft.
It's also very accurate. Every millimetre of movement has a subtle but positive influence on the car’s trajectory, giving you maximum confidence. You can tighten the turning circle with rear-wheel steering (available as an option or standard on Turbo S), helping it feel like much smaller in corners.
No doubt you're expecting all that sportiness to mean the Taycan rides like a cantankerous camel. Well, think again. Every version comes with adjustable suspension, and when you take the suspension out of its more extreme settings, the ride is remarkably supple – not quite as soft as the e-tron GT's, but better controlled. Both cars deal with bumps and ruts brilliantly – better than the EQS, in fact, which is softer still but isn’t as settled.
There is one thing missing, of course: no whacking great V8 or sizzling flat-six petrol engine to stir the soul. There is, though, the option of a fake engine noise generator (it's standard from GTS upwards) called Porsche Electric Sport Sound. It adds a space-age hum as you accelerate. Say “oooOOO” out loud while going up a couple of octaves and you’ll get the idea.
It can be switched off if that’s not your bag, but if you do that, you’ll notice a bit of motor whine around town and the sounds of the two-speed automatic gearbox on the rear motor thumping from one gear to the other under hard acceleration.
At speed on a coarse surface, you’ll hear the tyres rumbling a little with the biggest wheels, but the standard 19in wheels you get with the entry-level and 4S trims generate very little tyre roar. Wind noise is very well contained in every version.
The brake pedal is well judged. They can be grabby in electric cars because the regenerative brakes are not always well integrated. They are in the Taycan, though, so you can stop it smoothly, although the pedal still feels quite unnatural compared with petrol-powered Porsches.
Most impressive of all is the acceleration. Even the entry-level, single-motor, rear-wheel-drive model has 322bhp, and if you put your foot down with launch control engaged, that increases to 402bhp for a few seconds. We timed one at our private test track accelerating from rest to 60mph in just 5.1sec, which is quick.
However, for a true Porsche accelerative experience, we recommend the 4S, which gains another motor at the front, making it four-wheel drive and bringing a lot more power. There are two 4S battery options, but the one to buy is the 93kWh Performance Battery Plus. It gives a consistent 469bhp, or 523bhp for a quick burst that took it from 0-60mph in 3.6sec in our tests. That's 0.3sec faster than the e-tron GT.
For even more punch, the GTS has up to 590bhp and the Turbo leaps up to 671bhp. When we tested the Turbo on a private track, it hit 60mph from a standing start in 3.1sec and went on to reach 100mph in 6.9sec.
In the real world, the response when you stamp on the accelerator in either version is instant, like switching on a light bulb. The way you're pushed back in your seat feels like gravity has flipped to acting horizontally. As for the Turbo S, its 751bhp peak power will surely be enough for anyone – Porsche says it can hit 0-62mph in 2.8sec.
What about the electric range? Cars with the optional 93kWh Performance Battery Plus go the furthest, with the 4S model with that set-up officially managing up to 318 miles. You can expect more like 250 miles in the real world, though. The Turbo (officially 315 miles) and the Turbo S (officially 291 miles) should do more than 200 miles in the real world.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Put simply, the Porsche Taycan beats all rival electric cars for interior quality – even the Audi e-tron GT. Every surface you touch feels suitably upmarket and it all feels beautifully screwed together. You can’t say either of those things about the Mercedes EQS. If you’re a fan of the grippy, suede-like material Race-Tex, you'll particularly enjoy the GTS, which has plenty of it on the seats, lower dash, roof-lining and steering wheel.
The driving position is superb. You sit closer to the ground than in most electric cars, so you immediately feel as though you’re in something properly sporty. The seats are wonderfully supportive on a long journey and have good side support for cornering. You get eight-way electrically adjustable seats as standard, but you can pay extra (or go for the GTS model) if you want more adjustment.
If you like tech, you’ll appreciate the four giant screens you can have. Three of them – the one behind the steering wheel and the two touchscreens in the middle of the dashboard – are standard, and you can pay extra to have one for your front passenger too. It allows them to see information such as your speed, or take on the role of in-car DJ.
The instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is a sleek-looking 16.8in curved digital screen. It's very customisable and capable of showing you everything from sat-nav instructions to how much G-force you’re generating in corners.
Most of the car's features are controlled using the central 8.4in touchscreen, which has haptic feedback, and the 10.9in infotainment screen above it. There are not many physical buttons, which can be a problem: hitting the smaller icons while driving is tricky and distracting. The e-tron GT's dashboard has more physical buttons, which make it easier to us.
The Taycan's lower screen is awkward to operate without contorting your arm and it's easy to press it with your palm accidentally when you're trying to steady your hand to use the upper screen.
The standard stereo has 10 speakers and 150 watts. You can upgrade it in two ways: to a Bose system with 14 speakers and 710 watts, or a Burmester one with 21 speakers and 1455 watts (it's very pricey but sounds excellent).
Your view out is hindered a little by the Taycan's wide front and rear pillars, and the shallow rear screen. A rear-view camera is provided, although it’s hard to judge depth through and the image is a little distorted. Front and rear parking sensors are standard, as are LED headlights. Adaptive matrix LED headlights are standard on the GTS and above.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Porsche Taycan is basically the same underneath as the Audi e-tron GT so you won't be surprised to hear that they're both pretty much identical for interior space in the front and rear. That means the Taycan isn’t the impractical weekend toy you might imagine it to be. It's smaller than the Porsche Panamera but not by much.
The Mercedes EQE has a touch more room in the back, but the Taycan's standard two-seat arrangement can easily accommodate a couple of six-footers. There isn't much room left over, though, and the optional third rear seat isn't really suitable for adults. Adding that option also brings 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. Without it, the rear seatbacks fold 60/40.
The boot is plenty big enough for a buggy or a set of golf clubs. In terms of outright load space, we managed to fit in six carry-on suitcases with room left over for a soft bag, which is more than the VW Golf boot can swallow.
You get underfloor storage for the charging cables as long as you don't go for one of the upgraded sound systems (they have a subwoofer that takes up space). And unlike in the EQE, there's another luggage compartment under the bonnet, which is easily big enough for another carry-on case.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The rear-wheel-drive version is the cheapest option if you're a private cash buyer, but the 4S is significantly faster and feels like a proper performance car. We reckon it's worth the extra, even if it will cost you more than the equivalent Audi e-tron GT.
The Taycan is predicted to hold its value very well, with comparatively low depreciation, but the monthly PCP car finance payments are typically higher than they would be for the equivalent e-tron GT or Mercedes EQE.
Standard features (for the entry-level car and the 4S) include 19in alloy wheels, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a powered tailgate and a heat pump. You have to pay extra for keyless entry, privacy glass, a heated steering wheel, full leather seats and adaptive cruise control. The GTS, Turbo and Turbo S come with extra standard kit, but they cost tens of thousands of pounds more.
If you stick with the 4S, we recommend adding the Performance Battery Plus option (it's standard on GTS and Turbo models). It increases the maximum charging rate from 225kW to 270kW, potentially allowing you to charge from 10-80% in around 20 minutes (significantly quicker than the EQE, which is pegged at 173kW).
Unfortunately, there are very few charging locations capable of delivering 270kW in the UK. You're much more likely to come across a 100kW charger, which can deliver a 10-80% charge in around 40 minutes. A 0-100% charge from a 7kW home wallbox takes around 13.5hrs.
Porsche gives you a three-year warranty, while the battery is covered separately for up to eight years, with a guarantee that it won't drop below 70% of its original capacity during that time.
The list of standard safety technology includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), traffic-sign recognition and lane-keeping assistance. Blind-spot monitoring is available as an option.
In terms of crash protection, the Taycan achieved a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP. Whiplash protection for adults and children sitting in the front or back was found to be a little disappointing. The EQE was better in this respect.
Reliability is much harder to predict – we’ve little to go on because this is the first modern Porsche electric car. However, we can tell you that the brand shared joint 19th position with Tesla out of 32 manufacturers in our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey. Mercedes came joint 23rd (with Vauxhall)
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
It depends which versions you’re comparing. In a straight line, the Plaid version of the Tesla Model S would be the winner, but on a race track with corners, the Taycan in Turbo S form will beat the Model S.
If you can afford it, you certainly won’t find the Taycan disappointing. It's surprisingly practical and its quick charging speed makes it a fine long-distance electric car especially with the Performance Battery option.
|RRP price range||£79,255 - £152,003|
|Number of trims (see all)||5|
|Number of engines (see all)||7|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||electric|
|Available doors options||4|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£158 / £304|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£317 / £608|