Sports car driving characteristics are typically a low priority for electric cars, but the Porsche Taycan makes driving fun paramount. Porsche used battery power as an opportunity rather than an excuse, building a four-door vessel designed for human engagement instead of autonomous, soulless transport. While its maximum EPA estimated range of 227 miles is easily bested by competitors such as the Tesla Model S and Lucid Air, the Taycan drives as a Porsche should: with imperious confidence and control. From the 402-hp single-rear-motor base model to the absurdly quick 750-hp Turbo S, every Taycan uses a two-speed transmission that balances epic acceleration with highway cruising range that exceeds expectations. There’s also a wagon version of this sedan, dubbed the Taycan Cross and Sport Turismo, reviewed separately. Thanks to an 800-volt architecture, the Taycan can charge at a rate of up to 270 kWh on a powerful-enough DC fast charger. A low-slung driving position and 16.8-inch curved display help complete the typical Stuttgart driving experience.
Porsche turns up the heat on not just 2023 Taycans, but also for all previous models, with an update to the vehicle’s battery and charging algorithm that helps increase range and charging speeds. Porsche says the Taycan will now precondition its battery to a higher temperature and, as a result, the car will reach its max 270 kWh charge at a higher state of charge. This also comes with a slight bump in the overall range, but we’re awaiting an official rating from the EPA. The infotainment display has also been redesigned with a more colorful and quicker user interface as well as wireless Android Auto—and the ability to search for charging stations using charging-station output as a filter. Previously only an option for the Taycan GTS, Porsche’s Variable Light Control is now available with any Taycan equipped with a panoramic glass roof. This allows the driver to toggle the roof from clear to opaque electronically, the better to control scalp overheating. The painted 19-inch Aero wheels have been discontinued.
While the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S offer performance that’s on par with supercars, we’d recommend the more affordable all-wheel drive Taycan 4S. The 4S comes with a 522-hp powertrain, 19-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, a partial leather interior, and a keyless entry. To keep the cost in check, we’d skip all of Porsche’s many personalization options, but we would upgrade to the Performance Battery Plus, which increases the size of the pack and ups the combined horsepower rating to 562. The Performance package is also a must as it makes the Taycan more entertaining to drive: The rear-axle steering and torque vectoring improve agility, the Sport Plus drive mode optimizes performance, and the active anti-roll bars aid stability. We’d also recommend taking advantage of the Porsche Experience Center.
Most Taycan models feature dual electric motors, with one powering the front wheels and the other powering the rears. They produce separate outputs that vary by trim level. The 4S generates 522 horsepower with the smaller battery and 562 horses with the bigger one. The big juicer comes standard on the top models, the 670-hp Turbo and the 750-hp Turbo S. The base model makes between 402 and 469 hp, depending on the battery size, but it’s rear-wheel-drive only. The sweet spot is the 590-hp Taycan GTS with 626 pound-feet of torque. All Taycan models also have an innovative two-speed transmission that provides a thrilling shift during hard acceleration. We’ve driven the Taycan 4S and were impressed by its prompt acceleration (hitting 60 mph in 3.4 seconds) as well as its point-and-shoot handling. However, we wish it had a more responsive brake pedal, especially since Porsche chose to forgo one-pedal driving. Those with a serious need for speed will be blown away by the Turbo S’s rocket-ship takeoffs. The version we tested hit 60 mph in just 2.4 ticks and cleared the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph. A Model S Performance with Cheetah mode matched that blast to 60 mph; a Model S Plaid destroyed the Porsche in acceleration. The Taycan’s ferocious acceleration, along with the car’s low-slung driving position and precise steering, is what makes it special among electric vehicles. And it’s comfortable too. Even rolling on 21-inch wheels with low-profile tires, another Taycan Turbo S we drove never felt stiff or harsh.