The guaranteed power for both the Turbo and the Turbo S is 616 horsepower, but thanks to the “overboost” function, the Turbo S can briefly shove a staggering 750 horsepower to the wheels along with 775 lb-ft of yank, while the Turbo temporarily offers 670 horses with 626 lb-ft of twist. On winding country roads, both cars are heaps of fun to hammer. The adaptive air suspension adjusts based on your selected driving mode; Sport Plus, Sport, Normal, and Range (for maximum efficiency) are on offer, with Sport and Sport Plus tightening everything up and making the twisty bits a snap to devour.
The 5,132-pound car does well to hide its largess. It’s composed, offering sporty responses even under moderate throttle and wheel inputs. It’s a mite smaller than the Panamera, and despite being heavier, the Taycan feels tidier and not as unwieldy. Rear shoes that are one foot wide (305/30/21, to be precise) don’t hurt in giving the Taycan absurdly stable footing.
Whenever there’s a bit of straight road, it becomes almost obligatory to stop and perform a few savagely intoxicating launches. The ability to rinse and repeat this feature is a point of pride for the Porsche engineers and a testament for their ability to thermoregulate the powertrain. Relentlessly flog a Tesla, and you’ll see the car quickly begin to reduce power in a bid to maintain charge and battery life. The Taycan, on the other hand, doesn’t care how hard you push: So long as there’s juice in the battery, you’re free to dance all the way up to its limits as often as you’d like.
On the autobahn in Germany, V-max runs proved pupil-dilating. Porsche claims a top speed of 162 mph, but we were hitting an indicated 167. Engineers were excited for this portion of the drive, as they’d spent a chunk of time ensuring it would deliver peak performance here. Indeed, burning up the autobahn, the Taycan feels very comfortable at those extreme speeds. At full tilt, it is loud inside the cabin, however. Wind noise seeps in despite the heavily-laminated windows and other sound-deadening measures. But that’s a trivial complaint, and common to most cars at those speeds.
The Turbo S uses ten-piston carbon-ceramic stoppers that are 5mm larger up front than the Turbo’s iron discs; both have four-shots in the back. Porsche claims 90 percent of the braking is done with energy recuperation rather than with the hydraulics; regardless, the system will slow either car in a hurry. However, diving into the Turbo’s brake pedal provides a more linear feel than in the Turbo S.
As for regenerative breaking, your choices are only on and off; there aren’t multiple degrees, available as in other electric cars. This may be a slight miss because, while you may not want to do one-pedal driving, a little more resistance at your disposal wouldn’t be the worst thing. (In Sport Plus and Sport, the regen from the throttle lift-off is marginally more substantial than in Normal or Range, but it’s nothing special.)
Still, this EV will take precautions to make sure it saves itself from dying. After four hours of highway and country road ripping, our Turbo S told us that it would arrive at our planned charging point 20 miles away with 1 percent left in the battery. It then began to shut down some systems, like the air conditioning, and limited the speed to 56 miles an hour. (Floor the accelerator and the car will oblige, though.) The car also began to precondition itself for optimal charging speed — so when we did arrive at the fast charger at 1 percent, the car realized electron transfer speeds of up to 273 kW, and we were back up to 80 percent in about 25 minutes.
Verdict: Tesla’s reign as the makers of the fast electric sedans has been a lengthy one, but only because the likes of the Taycan hadn’t emerged to illustrate the California carmaker’s flaws and show us what we were missing. The answer is a lot — and Porsche’s Taycan represents a monumental leap forward in terms of what a performance electric sedan can be.
2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S: Key Specs
Powertrain: Dual synchronous electric motors; two-speed transmission on the rear motor; all-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 616 (normal operation), 750 (overboost)
Torque: 774 pound-feet (overboost)
0-60 MPH: 2.6 seconds (manufacturer figure)
EPA Range: Still uncertain, but figure around 220 miles
Porsche hosted us and provided this product for review.
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