In this video, Alistair Weaver gets behind the wheel of the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S. During the drive, we explore the abilities of Porsche’s first-ever electric car, from its acceleration to how well it handles.
While we were suitably impressed with the power and acceleration found in the Turbo S variant, the far less expensive 4S truly stands out. It delivers an excellent driving experience — one you’d expect from a Porsche — at a price that strongly competes against the Tesla Model S.
Porsche Taycan 4S Review:
The Porsche Taycan provides the performance, style and build precision that you’d expect from the marque. The Taycan may well be an electric car, but first and foremost it feels every bit a true Porsche.
Even though the Taycan is a four-door machine like the Panamera, there’s very little Panamera in it aside from a few bolt-on suspension components at the corners. It is otherwise built on a thoroughly new electric vehicle platform. Two battery packs are available: a 79.2-kWh pack (Porsche calls it the Performance Battery) that’s standard in the Taycan 4S or a higher-capacity 93.4-kWh (Performance Battery Plus) that’s optional on the 4S and standard in both the Turbo and Turbo S. Potent permanent-magnet electric motors power each end, with the Turbo and Turbo S getting a larger motor than the one on the 4S. This layout gives the Taycan the lowest center of gravity of any Porsche.
The Taycan 4S is forceful for an entry-level model. With the standard Performance Battery, the 4S makes 522 hp. Stepping up to the Performance Battery Plus increases that output to 563 hp. All 4S models hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. Edmunds has driven the 4S with the Performance Battery Plus, and it does not want for performance. With instantaneous torque on demand, coupled with the traction of all-wheel drive, it feels every bit a supercar. Indeed, its performance is such that we’d seriously question the need to upgrade to the Turbo models.
The Taycan’s interior manages to be both modern and familiar at the same time, with exquisite build quality and sumptuous materials that we have not seen in other premium EVs. The basic look is not unlike that of the newest 911, with strong horizontal lines across the dash and a well-defined center console. The similarity ends quickly when you notice that there aren’t any real instruments and the number of screens can range up to five.
The instrument panel itself is a broad 16.8-inch curved display that can be configured to show traditional-looking instruments or a full-width map. You can make easy changes with the steering wheel controls, and the menus are as simple and straightforward as any we’ve seen. Clearly labeled touch-sensitive controls on either side of the steering wheel manage the lights and traction control.
A 10.9-inch screen serves as the central infotainment interface. Its menu logic and map graphics are clear, and there is precious little operational lag. It’s paired with a portrait-oriented 8.4-inch screen below that houses the climate controls and a touchpad to help scroll through lists. The only thing that’s missing is a volume knob. There’s a roller control on the steering wheel, but the central control has a subtly marked plus/minus zone low on the touchpad. The passenger has an optional second screen directly in front to make route adjustments and play DJ while the driver focuses on the business at hand.
We found the seats to be comfortable and supportive over long stretches. And even though they’re highly adjustable, the basic shape is good enough that we didn’t have to fiddle around. Several leather themes and at least one leather-free upholstery option are available. Headroom and legroom are plentiful, and the driving position is top-notch. It’s easy to see ahead and to the sides, too, but the view to the rear is slot-like due to the uncommonly high rear package shelf.
What is the range? Porsche hasn’t yet released U.S. numbers, but it is clear that the 4S and the Turbo will be rated higher than the more heavily equipped Turbo S. We expect the Taycan 4S to achieve a range of around 250 miles in U.S. conditions.
When Porsche drops a new product aimed at shaking up the status quo, we listen. Now that we’ve driven it, we can add driving dynamics and sheer performance to the list of things we’re impressed with after styling, technical innovation and build quality.
So which to choose? Although the Turbo and Turbo S models are undoubtedly great fun, we’d advise choosing the 4S. It gives away very little in terms of performance while offering a significant cost saving. It’s currently the best version of a seriously good car.
See our Porsche Taycan Review:
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