Porsche’s first electric car is a sleek sports sedan that fully lives up to the brand’s high-performance reputation. The 2020 Porsche Taycan (pronounced tie-kahn) delivers incredible acceleration, precise handling, and aggressive styling. There’s some interesting engineering under the skin, too. The Taycan is the first production electric vehicle to use a two-speed transmission and an 800-volt electrical system, which allow for quicker acceleration and shorter recharge times, respectively. In theory, the Taycan is the first real challenger to the Tesla Model S. In practice, the Porsche and Tesla have unique advantages that should steer buyers toward an easier decision. The Model S offers a much higher range rating—but, our real-world testing showed it only has a tiny advantage over a Taycan Turbo S—a more practical package, and access to a sprawling network of fast-charging stations. The Porsche’s priority is performance above all else, with interior space as a secondary concern.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- 4S: $105,150
- Turbo: $152,250
- Turbo S: $186,350
While buying a Porsche is often an exercise in excess, our pick is the cheaper Porsche Taycan 4S. It’s plenty quick and is likely to deliver more range on a single charge than the pricier Turbo models. Porsche’s list of optional equipment is longer (and far pricier) than an eight-year-old’s Christmas list, which makes choosing the perfect Taycan a very personal affair. However, all buyers should consider the 150-kW charger that triples the maximum charging power at 400-volt DC fast-charging stations.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Taycan 4S, Turbo and Turbo S drive all four wheels with two electric motors. The peak outputs of 522 horsepower (4S with base battery), 563 horsepower (4S with bigger battery), 670 horsepower (Turbo), and 750 (Turbo S) only last for short bursts of 2.5 seconds at a time. After that, all models reduce the output slightly to protect the drivetrain from heat. The shifts of the rear motor’s unique two-speed transmission are almost imperceptible during regular driving. But activate launch control, and the Porsche knocks out a one-two shift that is as quick and as hard as any gas-powered sports car. In our testing, the Turbo S ripped to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds, making it the fastest EV-only car we’ve ever tested and the third-quickest car in the history of our testing. (Behind the Lamborghini Huracán Performante and the Porsche 918 Spyder.) We haven’t tested the Turbo or the 4S, but we estimate they should do the deed in 3.0 seconds and 3.8 seconds, respectively. It’s normal for EVs to get slower as the battery charge depletes, but Porsche says the Taycan will be able to execute 10 back-to-back launches with consistent performance.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Given the Taycan’s low and sleek roofline, the interior proves surprisingly spacious. The Porsche doesn’t feel nearly as cavernous as that of a Tesla Model S, but a six-footer can fit comfortably in both the front and rear seats. A four-seat configuration is standard, while a third center-rear seat (offering a total of five seats) is optional. Tellingly, Porsche calls this configuration a 2+1 arrangement, because that center rear seat is only for short people doing short stints. The Taycan’s cargo space measures 17 cubic feet, which is divided between the trunk and a small front compartment that accommodates a single carry-on-size bag.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Taycan comes standard with SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Unfortunately, Porsche does not support Android Auto integration. The standard three-screen cockpit includes a curved-glass instrument panel, a main infotainment touchscreen, and a secondary touchscreen that controls climate functions and doubles as a laptop-like touchpad as a redundant means of manipulating the upper primary screen. If that’s not enough screen for you, the optional passenger display adds a fourth pane of glass in the dash on the right side of the car. We’d skip it, though, as it’s essentially a stripped-down version of the center screen with even less functionality.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Taycan is equipped with myriad driver-assistance technologies. Porsche’s à la carte options include additional convenience and safety features such as adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Porsche’s warranty coverage is par for the luxury class and among electric vehicles. The Taycan’s optional 93.4-kWh battery is guaranteed to retain at least 70 percent of its capacity for eight years or 100,000 miles. While several automakers offer the same guarantee, none offers a better high-voltage battery warranty.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Electrical components covered for 8 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance