The Taycan (pronounced tie-can) is Porsche’s first fully electric car. First released in 2019, it now comes in two main body types and 10 variations, from the base sedan up to the Turbo S Cross Turismo. I tested the Taycan 4S, the four-wheel-drive sedan model which offers the longest range of the pack and arguably the best value for money.
The 2022 Taycan 4S model has an estimated range of 227 miles (with the performance battery plus option) and delivers 390kW or 522HP. This allows a 0-60 of just 3.8 seconds using launch control. The Turbo S model delivers 750HP/560kW and a 0-60 of 2.6 seconds but a range of just 201 miles.
While not as long wieldy as the Panamera, the Taycan is still much larger than the iconic 911. It’s very much a four-door, everyday vehicle rather than a weekend plaything. And yet, this car feels much close to that original Porsche DNA than any of the more recent additions. Despite being fully electric, the Taycan feels like a Porsche and that you’re still driving a serious sports car rather than a computer on wheels.
I spent four days driving the Porsche Taycan 4S on a recent trip back to England and got to experience how it performed on highways, country lanes and around cities. It’s not perfect, but this is, without doubt, the most fun I’ve had in an electric car to date.
Porsche Taycan 4S review: price and availability
The Porsche Taycan was first released in October 2019. The 2022 model with the 73kWh battery starts from £84,030/$105,150/AU$215,000. The 93kWh battery model starts from £87,936/$110,720/AU$227,192.
Porsche Taycan 4S review: design and features
Porsche could have very easily just created a fully electric version of the Panamera. After all, the car was already available in hybrid forms. However, in creating a brand new model, it was able to optimize the design for the electric motor rather than fit it around an existing design.
The Taycan is a more attractive car than the Panamera, feeling more like an elongated 911. While many EV fans are eagerly awaiting a true two-door electric sports car, this four-door offering is at least a step closer to that. Perhaps a 911 EV is still too much for Porsche fans.
The Taycan 4S follows the original sedan (saloon) design rather than the wagon (estate) back of the Cross Turismo and Sport Turismo. To be the sedan feels sportier and more traditionally Porsche than the Turismos, but both have their appeal.
Aside from the good looks, the Taycan has some impressive design features. Air curtains above the front wheels help reduce turbulence while the three-stage rear spoiler controls the air at the back. A fixed glass panoramic roof is available as an option on the sedan models, providing a bright airy feel to the interior, and the door handles extend out when the car is unlocked and recess back into the body when locked.
As standard, the Taycan 4S sits on 19-inch Aero wheels but the model I tested had the 20-inch sport versions which show a hint of those giant brake calipers. You can go up to 21-inch wheels but remember that this will affect the range.
Inside, the Taycan doesn’t look significantly different to other Porsche models. However, many of the manual switches are displayed on recessed digital panels. Behind the steering wheel sits a 16.8-inch curved display for the instrument panel, complete with touch control for lighting and chassis controls. A central 10.9-inch display provides infotainment options and main vehicle controls. The center console houses a third 8.4-inch portrait screen that provides quick function access to everything from temperature settings to charging functions and phone controls. This can also act as a touchpad for controlling items on the main screen, saving you from reaching up while driving. There’s also a head-up display option available.
You sit low in the Taycan, as you would expect for a sports car but once in, you have great visibility for all angles. The model I tested featured the Sports Chrono package, which includes a multi-function GT steering wheel with a top center marking, mode switch and textured material grip that warms when the heated seats are activated – a nice touch for a cold morning.
The Chrono package also includes a digital and analog clock on the dash, with a single hand that ticks round in seconds for lap times. I understand that this is a nod to 911 history but, to me, it feels a little out of place here.
The back seating gives a generous amount of room for passengers and there’s plenty of storage space. It features a large trunk with an option to fold down the rear seats for even more room. There’s also a front trunk which is big enough for an overnight bag or a few bags of groceries.
Porsche Taycan 4S review: drive
Electric cars can feel weird to drive the first time you try them, and it does take some getting used to when you set off in silence. That’s especially true when dealing with a high-performance car. After all, there’s no rumble from the engine vibrating through the chassis and no roar when you depress the pedal.
Getting in the Porsche Taycan still feels like you are getting in a sports car – the low seat positioning, the luxury interior and the multitude of tuning options, from the electric suspension to the sports mode. The car feels wide and planted to the ground, ready to deal with any corner you throw at it.
The beauty of an electric motor is instant power, and the Taycan really pins you to the seat when you put your foot down. Even without engaging that launch control, it’s stupidly quick off the mark, and just as quick when you need to pass other vehicles or join a motorway. Handling is expectedly impressive and the car feels both solid through the bends and domineering on the straights.
What’s nice is that Porsche hasn’t tried to fake engine noise on the Taycan. Instead, it has embraced a new electric sound – a whirr that has been amplified to give a futuristic feel. This electric sport sound is a £355/$500/AU$1050 option but it makes you feel like you’re driving a spaceship.
There’s no one-pedal driving option on the Taycan so you still need to hit that brake pedal and there’s something refreshingly sporty about it. On a cold start, it requires a bit of a stamp to get it to react but once the discs have warmed up they perform impeccably. It’s something you expect from sports cars and has a bit of a novelty here.
Porsche Taycan 4S review: technology and range
There’s no shortage of technology inside the Taycan 4S, it’s just not as in your face as in other EVs. The entertainment system supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with wireless connectivity and native Spotify integration through your Porsche ID. In the US you can also get Apple Music integration without a smartphone being attached.
Unfortunately, I found the CarPlay integration wasn’t always perfect. I had to stop the radio before Apple music from my phone would play. However, the model I tested didn’t have the latest PCM update, which includes new colored icons among other updates, so this may no longer be an issue.
The dual-screen setup works nicely, and I found the touchpad area really handy for making changes on the move. The vehicle controls are really easy to access and the adaptive air suspension with its lift mode was handy when encountering particularly evil-looking speed bumps.
The Porsche Voice Pilot allows you to easily control functions such as heating or navigation using a simple “Hey Porsche” command. The in-built navigation system benefits from the Porsche Intelligent Range manager to take your current charge, vehicle settings and speed into consideration when planning a route. It even ensures the battery is at an optimum temperature when you have a route planned to a charging station.
There are a number of autonomous driving systems on board, including adaptive cruise control and Active Lane Keep, which adjust the steering to keep you in the lane. This certainly helps on long journeys but is by no means a hands-free experience.
The surround-view 3D uses cameras on all sides of the vehicle to form a birds-eye view of the car, which is very handy of parking. You can also use Active Parking Support to allow the car to park by itself, or even remotely via the app without you needing to be inside the vehicle.
The Taycan’s one Achilles heel comes in the form if its range. The Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus option provides a maximum of 230 miles and that soon drops if you really push it. Without the larger battery, you get just 199 miles at 100% charge. The positive is that it does offer DC charging at up to 270kW, so with the right charger it will take just under 23 minutes to go from 5% to 80%. This is great if you can find a charger fast enough.
New Taycans come with a Porsche Charging Service card, which gives you preferential rates at Ionity charging stations. Chargers linked to the Porsche network will automatically detect the vehicle and your account when you plug the car in, so you don’t need to use the touchpad.
The Taycan has charging points on both sides of the car, behind sliding electric panels in the wing. The left side does both AC and DC, while the right is AC only for home chargers, live the Hive EV charger. While I never had a problem getting a charging lead to reach the socket, it seems a shame that both sides can’t do DC charging.
Porsche Taycan 4S review: verdict
The Porsche Taycan 4S is the most fun I’ve had in an electric car. That’s perhaps because this is still very much a sports car, that just happens to be electrically powered. Many cars go so out of their way to do things differently that you lose the joy of driving to technology. In the Taycan though, that joy of driving is front and center.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t do things differently. This car, for me, is a big step up from the Panamera because it is able to do things differently. The technology is impressive but not in your face. The InnoDrive system makes longer journeys safer and less taxing and the entertainment is well executed – or as much as it can be while accommodating multiple phone platforms.
While the range figures aren’t perfect, for most people looking to buy this car, they will be more than sufficient. Especially once the charging networks are able to deliver on their promise of reliability and speed. If you have a home charger (which is a must for any electric car ownership) and travel less than 150 miles most days, you will never have an issue. And for the few that do travel longer, you just need to get to know your charging stations – as any EV owner does.
- Best front and rear dash cams: dual channel recorders
Porsche Taycan 4S review: also consider
If you are looking for an electric car that’s quick, the obvious alternative is the Tesla Model S Plaid. This has a 0-60 of under two seconds (1.99 to be precise) and 1020hp. It also offers a range of 396 miles, which is perhaps more impressive than the speed. The Model S starts from £94,990/$89,490/AU$147,990 but the Plaid edition is from £118,980/$124,490/AU$186,990 which is considerably more than the Porsche Taycan.
The other consideration is the Audi e-tron GT. This has a little less power, with a max of 637hp and a 0-60mph of 3.1 seconds. However, starting at £82,865/$102,400 (Australian pricing to be confirmed) it’s a similar price to the Porsche Taycan 4S and provides a similar 232-mile range.