From £84,13410
A Taycan for the very well off rather than the unfeasibly wealthy, yet which in almost all normal usage is as good as a Turbo, if not better
Andrew Frankel Autocar
10 December 2019

What is it?

If you’re interested in buying a Porsche Taycan, it is the one you should look at first. And then ask yourself a very serious question: what is the extra £32,000 or £55,000 required to upgrade this Taycan 4S to a Turbo or Turbo S actually buying you? 

If the answer is a slug more power you may never use, a load of equipment you might never spec and a boot badge for which you give not two hoots, do yourself a favour and spare yourself the money. I would suggest that for most prospects, or at least those who can stomach the opprobrium of friends and colleagues when they see – oh the shame of it – that it’s not the top model, this Taycan 4S is for now the Taycan au choix. The one you should buy. And the only non-neg option should be the performance plus battery at £4613. 

That buys you a 93.4kWh battery compared to a 79.2kWh unit, which not only provides additional range, but faster charging and better performance. So it’s a win, win, win.

And even this (for now) entry-level Taycan will still hit 62mph in four seconds flat, and because electric cars deliver their torque instantly, even that can be quite an uncomfortably rapid experience. It will do rest to 100mph in 8.5sec, for goodness sake, and I’m old enough to remember when that was a perfectly passable 0-60mph time.

Put it this way: in all remotely normal use, this poverty-spec Taycan will still accelerate you from any speed you’re at to any speed you could want at any rate you might choose.

Like the Turbo and Turbo S, it comes with an electric motor at either end of the car and four-wheel drive as a result. Unlike all other EVs, it shares their 800V electric infrastructure. It even sits on triple-chamber air springs at each corner and has Porsche’s PASM adaptive dampers as standard.

Such similarities might lead you to suspect that a Taycan 4S powertrain is, in reality, that of a Turbo or even a Turbo S with only a line of pesky software holding it back: crack the code and a 740bhp Taycan 4S can be yours. Sadly not: The 4S has a smaller rear motor than either of the Turbo twins, and before you start thinking you could still turn a Turbo into a Turbo S, think again: the Turbo has the same 300-amp front inverter as the 4S, while the Turbo S has a 600-amp inverter. So now you know.

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What's it like?

Regardless of what the figures say, I have no doubt the 4S with the big battery will have the longest range of any Taycan, not just because of the performance differential, but because it weighs a whopping 165kg less than the Turbo. And because the Turbos are so fast as to actually seem briefly alarming (at least to any unsuspecting passengers), they at least will be glad its performance remains somewhere within the bounds of sanity.

But while everyone bangs on about the powertrain, to me the chassis is arguably its greater achievement. When I drove the Turbo S, I marvelled at how well Porsche had been able to manage such enormous mass, and the lighter 4S is better still. No four-door car of this kind of weight blends handling and ride so skilfully – and certainly not a Panamera – and the way the car delivers limousine ride comfort with steering response and accuracy to make it feel far smaller than it is, is unapproached in the marketplace regardless of what’s under the bonnet.

I’d still not call it fun, at least once the novelty value of its power delivery has worn off, but if there is a genuinely fun electric production car out there, I’ve not driven it. It is engaging, satisfying and ultimately rewarding to drive and, for where most electric cars are right now, that is a triumph.

Should I buy one?

A five-star verdict from Autocar is not like one from most other publications. They are rare and when they appear they mean something. I agonised over this one so much I felt the need to ring the editor and reappraise myself of the terms of reference. But if a car is genuinely outstanding in all areas that matter relative to its peers – in this case, other four-door EVs – and deficient in none, five stars are appropriate.

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I’d not consider it for either the Turbo or Turbo S, but when the 4S provides so much of their magic with so little downside and for such vast savings, nothing less seems right. The Taycan was already the best electric car on sale, the 4S is nothing less than the best of the best. Five stars it is.

Porsche Taycan 4S specification

Where Los Angeles, US Price £86,367 On sale Now Engine Two asynchronous electric motors Power 429bhp (523bhp on overboost); 498bhp with performance plus battery (563bhp on overboost) Torque 472lb ft (479lb ft with performance plus battery) Gearbox 2-spd automatic Kerb weight 2140kg Top speed 155mph (governed) 0-62mph 4.0sec Range 207-253 miles (240-288 miles with performance plus battery) CO2 0g/km Rivals Tesla Model S P100D, Jaguar I-Pace

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Comments
30

10 December 2019

Andrew Frankel is a Porschephile of course, but he's also one of the most thoughtful writers Autocar has on staff. I've no doubt he's not kidding when he says he agonized before awarding five stars. It's certainly impossible to argue that it's the best Taycan derivative from his well-reasoned review. However, I wonder who Autocar, and/or Porsche think this apparent masterpiece is competing with? Is it going to cannibalize Panamera or make M5/AMGs old-hat? I don't have a clue but I'd like to know. What are its unicorn-like five-stars is relative to - unless maybe Taycan has created a whole new super-tech category unhabited by anyone other than Tesla.

10 December 2019

He says in the article that he's comparing it with other luxury EVs. That's a category issue but probably appropriate for the time being. It seems many current EV buyers make the decision to go electric first, and then decide which one.

10 December 2019

He says in the article that he's comparing it with other luxury EVs. That's a category issue but probably appropriate for the time being. It seems many current EV buyers make the decision to go electric first, and then decide which one.

11 December 2019

Cersai, all I can tell you is my local Porsche dealership in Florida USA has an anticipated 2 yrs plus order bank for the Taycan, and bear in mind these are not $100 online refundable deposits from who knows who like Tesla. These are existing customers with a proven track record of purchasing from the dealership. Tesla develops the interest, Porsche delivers the experience! Work out for yourself who will prevail.

10 December 2019

As a Porsche fanboy let me be honest, Tesla led the way? Porsche, like many other European based manufacturers, would not be building cars like the e-tron or Taycan today were it not for the persuasion provided by Tesla. Yet the cream rises to the top, and Porsche, as always, is at the top! 

10 December 2019

Perfect car... if you live in California. And presumably wealthy enough to run something else too, if you need space or a lot of miles to cover.

11 December 2019
scrap wrote:

Perfect car... if you live in California. And presumably wealthy enough to run something else too, if you need space or a lot of miles to cover.

Most people who run £90k Porsche's have access to another car, and why would it be perfect for California but not Surrey?

11 December 2019
scrap wrote:

Perfect car... if you live in California. And presumably wealthy enough to run something else too, if you need space or a lot of miles to cover.

 

California....where the power is turned off for days at a time.

11 December 2019
This indubitably fine achievement bodes well for other VW group EVs
I am thinking particularly of the VW iD3, a brilliant design which deserves equally brilliant engineering.

11 December 2019

Is it just me, or can everybody else spot the design cues of an electric car a mile away?

It's as though the brief was to design a new car (less the grill), but make sure it looks electric!?

It's reminiscent of seeing the new Ford Sierra for the very first time at the Birmingham Motor Show back in '82!  

I think electric cars are going to date really quickly - Just Saying. 

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