Porsche Taycan review: is the entry-level electric vehicle the choice of the group?

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When Porsche’s first electric car arrived in 2019, it landed in Turbo and Turbo S flavors, with supercar performance and pricing. Next is the mid-tier Taycan 4S, with its choice of two battery sizes and a lower price tag.

The lineup has now been rounded out with the base Taycan, which starts at £ 70,690 / $ 79,900, has the same two battery options as the 4S, and is the only Taycan to be rear-wheel drive as its single engine is at the rear. . axle. For this reason, and the roughly 100 kg cut from the nose by removing the second engine, the less expensive Taycan is also heralded as the pilots’ favorite.

Before we get to that, it’s worth noting how, other than the powertrain, every Taycan model is nearly identical. Porsche is targeting its first electric car somewhere between the Panamera and the 911, with the size and four-door, four-seater layout of the former and the driving position and dynamic character of the latter. It’s just too close to compare the iconic 911 to a two-ton electric vehicle too closely, but with the Turbo variants, Porsche has already proven that it can indeed make a pleasant and dynamic electric car.

Inside, the last Taycan is the same as his siblings. That means seating for four (or five on tap) and a cabin that is truly one of the best today. The interior and its technology do a great job of being modern and suitable for an electric car, without straying too far from being recognizable to Porsche. The steering wheel is lifted straight up from a 911, thankfully removing the extra gear from some rivals (I’m looking at you, Ferrari), and the seating position is sportier than you might expect from a sedan.

The instrument panel retains the five-dial layout used by Porsche for decades, but takes an all-digital approach with speed and a power dial taking center stage, flanked by two pairs of sub-dials. The outer pair, like on all other Taycans, is mostly obscured by the steering wheel. At the very edge of this screen are tactile buttons for the headlights, traction control, suspension and other systems. These buttons have haptic, clicking feedback when pressed to help you know you’ve done the right thing, and they’re close to your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Haptic feedback is also used by the lower display in the center console. This manages the air conditioning and its lower third acts as a trackpad to navigate around the upper screen. This can also be operated as usual and includes access to the Taycan’s infotainment system, which comes with Apple CarPlay. All of this is included as standard, while a second infotainment screen for the front passenger and a center touchscreen for the rear passengers are additional options. The same goes for the superb Burmeister audio system (and pricey, at £ 4,200) and the 18-way power sports seats (£ 1,440). Eight-way electric chairs are fitted as standard.

Despite the cabin potentially featuring five digital screens, the Taycan feels a far cry from the modern minimalism stripped of a Tesla, and that’s good for it. All of the driver’s key controls remain physical, logical and intuitive to use, while the infotainment has been carefully integrated to feel familiar and easy to use without being distracting.

It’s almost time to hit the road and see how the base Taycan stack up. But first, the main power figure of 476PS (470hp) needs some explanation, as this is only possible if you buy the Taycan with the larger and more powerful Performance Plus battery (£ 4049), which has a capacity of 93 kWh against 79 kWh for the basic option. Maximum power is also only offered when you put the throttle in with the launch control turned on, because the rest of the time the Porsche produces 380PS.

If you rather show restraint with the options list and stick to the regular battery, the Taycan has 408PS with launch control and 326PS during normal driving. Porsche Great Britain reports that the Taycan’s range is 268 miles using the WLTP test cycle, or 301 miles if you go for the larger 93 kWh battery, and the 0-60 mph time is 5, 1 seconds with both battery options, or 5.4 seconds at 62 mph (100 km / h). The quoted range in the United States will likely be lower once the harsher EPA test cycle is calculated.

As always, the range of an electric car varies considerably depending on the driving style and the ambient temperature. On a frosty February morning and with the car reporting an outside temperature of zero degrees centigrade, a full battery gave an estimated range of 200 miles.

Departing from Porsche’s UK headquarters in Reading, about an hour west of London, the Taycan’s cabin looks immediately familiar. I last drove a Turbo model in autumn 2019 and thanks to the shared cockpit across the range (and this particular car carrying £ 30,000 of optional extras) the base model delivers an experience initial identical to that of the flagship product.

Leaving the city in search of quiet country roads, the Taycan is effortless. It’s comfortable, quiet, and can be driven as easily as any other electric car – only this one has a premium interior and a Porsche badge is watching you from behind the wheel of the 911. A dozen kilometers of highway later and I’ve already convinced myself that a Taycan would make the perfect commuter car. With its comfortable seats and great sound system, I can’t think of a better place to spend a few hours each day between home and office (when we’re allowed to do it again, of course).

But it’s a Porsche, and the only rear-wheel drive Taycan to do that. So as good as this car is in everyday life, I go looking for more difficult roads. There, and despite worrying about ice until the sun has done its job, the Taycan upholds its heritage. Steering feels faster and more connected than in versions of Taycan loaded by an additional front motor and drive axle. There is a precision and delicacy here that the Turbo lacks. Where it’s more of a point-and-shoot monster, the regular Taycan allows you to have fun on the right side of the speed limit.

It’s not blazingly fast like the Turbo and Turbo S. Sprinting to 60 mph takes almost twice as long and, honestly, the initial launch feels overall on par with the Polestar 2 and even the Ford Mustang Mach. E with all-wheel drive. It’s not a supercar and you won’t see any builds. of passengers reacting to frantic acceleration on YouTube, but that’s good. Not everyone wants to feel sick every time they step on the accelerator. For many, the regular Taycan is pretty fast. And for those who want it to be more fun, there’s enough power to overwhelm the tires as they exit the corners (even with traction control off and on a cold winter morning).

But is that really the point? Some of the more serious auto magazines will say this Taycan is the best because when you turn off the systems out there to save yourself from yourself, and the road is wet, and you give it a trunk full of a slow turn, it’s’ I’m going to slide. But how many homeowners are actually going to do this? I even dare ask, how many buyers will care that it doesn’t have all-wheel drive and feel sharper entering the corners as a result? I suspect most will see how cheaper it is than others, but looks almost identical and has a range to suit their needs.

Then they’ll be busy with the list of options and realize that, perhaps, the mid-range Taycan 4S (from £ 83,580 / $ 103,800) is the best of the bunch. Here you get all-wheel drive, a perfectly accessible performance punch to entertain your passengers and save £ 30,000 ($ 45,000) on the Turbo. While the regular Taycan is a great car in its own right, I think the desire for all-wheel drive and a 3.8-second dash at 60 mph is greater than the more nuanced dynamic gains of the base Taycan.

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