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. You see, the kind of batteries that electric cars need in order to give them a decent range tend to be very heavy. That's why a Taycan Turbo, for example, weighs several hundred kilos more than the physically larger Porsche Panamera Turbo S.
However, as much of that weight as possible has been positioned low down in the car, and the Taycan feels remarkably agile as a result. Even without the clever optional active anti-roll bars (Dynamic Chassis Control Sport in Porsche speak) fitted, when it comes to grip, balance and resistance to body roll, the Taycan is in a different league from any electric car that’s come before. And if you do happen to tick the box for PDCC Sport, you’ll have an electric performance saloon that exhibits an even flatter and more determined cornering nature than the lighter Panamera.
The Taycan’s steering is equally impressive; it gives you a much better sense of connection with the front wheels than you get in most petrol powered performance saloons, let alone a Tesla Model S. That’s partly thanks to how nicely the weight builds as you turn the wheel, but also due to how accurate the steering is. Every millimetre of movement has a subtle but positive influence on the car’s trajectory, giving you, the driver, maximum confidence.
So, no doubt you're expecting all this sportiness to mean the Taycan rides like a cantankerous camel? Well, think again, because when you take the suspension out of its more extreme Sport and Sport Plus settings, ride comfort is surprisingly plush – regardless of whether you're in the entry-level Taycan or 4S, which have 19in wheels, or the Turbo and Turbo S, with their bigger alloys. They all deal with bumps and ruts brilliantly and make an ideal companion for long journeys. In fact, while a Model S is softer, it's not as settled and thumps more around town.
There is one thing missing, of course: no whacking great V8 or sizzling flat-six petrol engine to stir the soul. There is the option of a fake engine noise generator on the Taycan, 4S and Turbo (it's standard on Turbo S) called ‘Porsche Electric Sport Sound’, which adds an accelerative thrum that makes your Taycan sound like a Star Wars Podracer – say “oooOOO” out loud while going up a couple of octaves and you’ll get the idea. It’s an interesting concept, and one that will no doubt impress passengers, but we reckon after a few weeks of use you’ll simply turn it off and forget about it.
With that switched off, you'll notice a bit of motor whine around town, and, at speed over coarse surfaces, some rumble from the Taycan's tyres, but this is far from overbearing and far less pronounced than in a 911. In fact, overall, the Taycan isn't much noisier at a steady cruise than the Model S, because there's next to no wind noise.
The brake pedal weight is also very well judged for an electric car. The Taycan puts energy back into the batteries when you hit the brakes, as most electric cars do, but the interference is minimal so you never feel surprised by how the car reacts when you squeeze the middle pedal.
Perhaps most impressive of all, though, is the Taycan’s acceleration. Even the entry-level single-motor, rear-wheel drive model has 322bhp, and if you put your foot down with launch control engaged, this increases to 402bhp for a few seconds. The result 0-62mph in 5.4sec. Tick the box for the Performance Battery Plus, though, and maximum power is boosted to 375bhp (469 with launch control). However, for a truly neck-snapping accelerative experience, you’ll need to jump up to the 4S and above.
Do that and you gain an another motor at the front for four-wheel drive, and a lot more power as a result. The 4S offers 429bhp as standard, rising to 483bhp if you go for the Performance Battery Plus option. That figure rises to 617bhp for the Turbo and Turbo S, with launch control boosting that to 671bhp for the Turbo and 751bhp for the Turbo S.
Unsurprisingly, all those models are extremely fast. Officially, the 4S can crack the 0-62mph sprint in 4.0sec and the Turbo S in 2.8sec. On a damp track, we timed a Turbo from 0-60mph in 3.1sec, and it went on to reach 100mph in 6.9sec. In the real world, the response when you stamp on the accelerator is instant, like switching on a light bulb, and is so forceful thereafter it feels like gravity has changed its mind and is acting on you horizontally.
As for the more practical considerations of owning an electric car, the base Taycan gives you the greatest range. Officially it’ll manage 268 miles as standard or 301 miles with the Performance Battery Plus. Opt for the twin-motor 4S and it’ll officially travel for 254 miles between charges in standard form, or up to 288 miles if you choose the upgraded battery.
Meanwhile, the Taycan Turbo can manage up to 281 miles on a full charge, with the Turbo S promising up to 259 miles, both getting the more powerful battery as standard. You’ll struggle to match those figures unless you drive very gently, but more than 200 miles should be easily achievable no matter which Taycan you opt for. If a longer range between charges is required, though, the Tesla Model S is a better choice.
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