Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Turbo and Turbo S variants on offer
  • Both monstously fast
  • Wide bandwidth of driving modes

There are three versions of the Taycan to sample – the base trim, named 4S, and then two more powerful models named Turbo and Turbo S. This nomenclature is applied to fit in with the rest of Porsche’s range, but don’t be fooled as the Taycan is an electric car and staunchly un-turbocharged. The name ‘Turbo’ has been traditionally applied to top-end performance variants and that structure carries over into Porsche’s electric cars too. So there.

All three models have a standard horsepower rating but can access more with an ‘Overboost’ function – activated when using Launch control for the fastest starts. The base 4S has 435hp, or 530hp on overboost. For Turbo models, those numbers are 625hp and 680hp, while range-topping Turbo S has 625hp and 761hp.

Whichever way you spin it, those numbers are incredibly high, and performance is as remarkable as you’d expect. Every Taycan is fast enough to require some re-calibration of your brain. Having all of that power available instantly is slightly intoxicating, and even on half throttle you’re likely to beat just about everybody away from the lights.

On performance, the Taycan’s biggest rival is the Tesla Model S – which is slightly quicker than the Taycan’s 2.8-second 0-62mph sprint. However, Porsche claims the Taycan will perform this task over and over with no fade in performance, while after one or two runs the Tesla requires a cooldown period. Does any of this matter? Not remotely – it’s all posturing, meant for bragging rights in the pub. Both Taycan and Model S are gratuitously rapid, and among the quickest cars on the roads today.

Taycan Turbo

This model uses a 93.4kWh battery and two motors to generate 680hp and 850Nm of torque, which is a lot of power whichever way you slice it.

All-wheel drive and a clever two-speed transmission on the rearmost motor help launch the car from a standstill, meaning a 0-62mph time of 3.2 seconds – and Porsche says its able to do this again and again, with no reduction in performance.

Porsche Taycan (2020) profile view

Opportunities to sprint to near motorway speeds are unlikely to present themselves often, let alone repeatedly, so this figure is really more of a way to help potential customers benchmark this car against rivals like the Tesla Model S, and reveal the sheer depth of reserves that the Taycan holds.

What you will notice about this car almost from the off is how instantly and explosively fast it is on the move – despite weighing in at more than two tonnes, this Porsche accelerates as if it was entirely weightless.

For more day-to-day driving there’s a helpful linearity to the throttle pedal – the top half enables pacey but wafty acceleration, and if you want the full-on neck-straining experience you have to push a fair bit harder. This usefully means you won’t accidentally go full-send with a car full of weak-stomached passengers.

Also helping to tailor the experience are four driving modes called Range, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus, plus an Individual mode.

In the most efficient configuration the top speed is limited and the cooling ducts remain closed, while scrolling through Normal and into Sport and Sport Plus moves the power delivery more towards the rear and the active aero is tweaked for more downforce.

Porsche Taycan (2020) rear view

To unlock the Sport Plus and Individual profiles you need the Sport Chrono package, which also gains a mode selector dial on the steering wheel. This is optional on the Turbo and standard on the Turbo S.

Turbo S

The flagship Taycan Turbo S is mechanically the same as the Turbo but has been fettled to develop peak power of 761hp (overboost when Launch Control is activated) resulting in an invigorating 0-62mph time of 2.8 seconds.

Again, it’s the monstrous amount of torque that will make the biggest difference to you day-to-day, and in this model there’s a striking 1,050Nm to play with.

Unlike an internal combustion engine the Taycan’s power is available instantly, you don’t need to wait for a turbo or the top of the rev counter, meaning you can give it full beans on even the shortest of straights. Overtaking on country roads becomes an exercise in throttle pedal restraint to ensure you pass the vehicle without blasting past the speed limit.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S (2020) rear view

You also get Electric Sport Sound as standard (an option on the Turbo) which adds a bassy engine-ish note to the cabin in Sport and Sport Plus modes. It minimises some of the electric drivetrain whine as well, making for a much more emotive experience.

In normal driving we’re not sure you’ll notice the difference between the Turbo and Turbo S – they’re both bonkers fast and capable of deploying their power whenever and wherever thanks to all-wheel drive grip.

Handling

  • Finally a fun electric car
  • Huge range of chassis tech
  • Clever regenerative braking

Power is one thing, but there’d be no point having it if the Taycan was incapable of putting it to the road. Thankfully, this is Porsche – a company that’s been at the forefront of chassis development for decades, with an innate knowledge of how to make a car that handles ‘just right’.

The German brand has thrown everything it can at the Taycan in a bid to deal with the immense weight of its battery pack – this is a two-tonne-plus car, and as such it gets air-suspension at all four corners, adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, torque vectoring, and electromechanical roll stabilisation.

Optionally available are items such as carbon-ceramic brakes which elevate the experience even further.

Has all this worked? Has it ever. The Taycan absolutely breaks the mould of EVs being one-dimensional to drive. It’s heavy, yes, but that doesn’t manifest itself in leaden responses and sluggishness – instead, it feels like it’s been superglued to the road, remaining absolutely unruffled regardless of how fast it’s slung into a corner.

There’s an enormous amount of grip on offer from the all-wheel drive system, with a motor on each axle and sophisticated torque vectoring meaning the Taycan can send its considerable power exactly where it needs to go. Add in weighty, accurate steering and the Taycan turns in with confidence, maintains its body level throughout a corner and actively shuffles power around to make the most of that drivetrain on the exit.

Yes, a lighter, smaller sports car is a more satisfying drive but taken next to other high-end electric vehicles, the Taycan is utterly peerless.

What’s most surprising is the way it hauls itself up to a stop, often without the need to use the mechanical discs. That’s because it can recoup a huge amount of energy - 265kW - through its regenerative braking. Porsche reckons these will take care of up to 90% of everyday braking – so effective in fact that it has added a service interval for the Taycan’s brake pads, which now must be replaced every six years.

The standard brake discs are coated with tungsten carbide for additional hard-wearing properties and also to cut down on the amount of brake dust expelled. You can get optional carbon ceramics too, which are really only going to be useful on a racetrack.

Most usually for an electric car there’s hardly any braking effect when you take your foot off the accelerator. Porsche says this is because maintaining momentum is the most efficient way to drive, so regenerative braking is mostly controlled by the driver and the brake pedal. You can turn on a stronger mode that uses a camera and the sat-nav to set a level of regeneration appropriate to the prevailing conditions. This works very well indeed.

Finally, despite offering huge speed, the Taycan is actually superb to waft around in – thank the 0.22cd drag coefficient for the quiet cabin. That said, the Turbo with its smaller wheels is better than the noisier Turbo S in this instance, and it rides better too.