The name Porsche is synonymous with fast cars; the sort of machines that grace teenagers’ bedroom walls and feature on many a bucket list. So the fact that the company’s latest model is electric is hugely significant. Especially when you learn that it’s actually faster than any of Porsche’s other cars.
Porsche has taken a ‘clean sheet’ approach to designing the Taycan rather than converting an existing car, and it shows in the way the model drives and looks. It’s pretty clever too, using innovations such as a high-voltage power system which means the Taycan can be charged at a far higher rate than rivals such as the Tesla Model S without needing elaborate cooling systems to keep the delicate battery packs chilled.
A two-speed gearbox is another innovation, as most electric cars have just one gear ratio. It means the Taycan can be brutally fast when accelerating but still cruise on a German autobahn at high speeds without ripping through the battery range.
There are now four versions of the Taycan available to order with the recent arrival of a new two-wheel drive entry level model dragging the price from the 'lottery win' category to the 'if I sold all my possessions' bracket. The least expensive Taycan – now simply called 'Taycan' - has a battery size of 73.2kW and uses it to produce 321bhp. Together with the 4S model, customers can choose between the standard Performance battery (71kWh usable) or a Performance Battery Plus that has 83.7kWh usable and 375bhp. Confusingly, Porsche also quotes a launch control figure of 402bhp which is only deployed when the car is in launch mode.
The two most expensive Taycans – the Turbo and Turbo S – have the bigger 83.7kWh battery, and come with higher outputs from the motors. The Taycan Turbo produces 677 bhp and the Turbo S an almost unbelievable 757 bhp in launch control mode. Find a test track and press the right buttons and that Turbo S will accelerate from 0-60mph faster than almost any car in the world. Despite this, it is as easy to drive as any other car and can seat four in comfort. It doesn’t have the massive boot or spacious interior of SUV-shaped rivals such as the Jaguar I-PACE and Tesla Model X, or even Porsche’s own hybrid Panamera and Cayenne. But the VW Golf-sized boot will be a welcome surprise to anyone trading in a sportscar.
Where the Taycan really scores against other electric cars is the sensation when you drive it. The engineers have made sure it feels like any other Porsche in the way it goes around corners, with a decent weight through the steering, brakes and suspension which gives you a sense of control. The ‘base’ Taycan is actually the car that we'd pick for the UK. While it doesn't have the violent acceleration of the top end models, it has more than adequate performance for UK roads and in two-wheel drive has a slightly better balance. Plus, you can load up with Porsche's famed options and still have a car that's cheaper than the next model up.
And, as we've come to expect, the Taycan delivers great quality, with the sort of materials and attention to detail that marks the brand apart from the competition.
So, the Taycan is a truly desirable electric car which could do more than any other to convince the doubters that the future of fast, fun cars is electric.