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 currently two versions of the Taycan to choose from called Turbo and Turbo S, with a less powerful version to follow on later – and despite those names suggesting otherwise the Taycan is only available with a distinctly un-turbocharged electric drivetrain.

In fact Porsche says there will be no mixing of ICE and EV power options in any of its future models. The name ‘Turbo’ has traditionally been applied to its top performance variants and that structure has been carried over into its electric cars too. So there.

Both versions feature the highest energy density (amount of power versus space taken up) of any EV currently available and are powered by 800 volts, twice what you get in a normal electric car. This has more of an impact on things like weight and charging times, which we’ll cover more extensively in the Running Costs section.

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 driving green front 2019

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 driving green rear 2019

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 driving green side 2019

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

That’s just part of the puzzle when it comes to the way this car drives though – in order to address the not-insignificant kerbweight (both cars are north of two tonnes) Stuttgart has thrown its entire arsenal of chassis tech at the Taycan – torque vectoring, adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering and electromechanical roll stabilisation. And these all communicate with each other using a system called 4D Chassis Control to ensure harmony between their inputs.

This is all very important because with the exclusion of the Jaguar I-Pace electric cars tend to be a bit one dimensional to drive - incredibly fast and capable but not a huge amount more.

The Taycan absolutely breaks that mould. Traditionally a manufacturer of pure driver’s cars, Porsche has a reputation to uphold when it comes to new models, but with that weight of expectation comes with decades of experience. While this is the maker’s first electric car, it’s hit the mark squarely in the middle.

You’ll arguably have a more satisfying drive in a smaller and lighter 911 or Cayman but in comparison with the Taycan’s direct rivals, it’s peerless in the amount of satisfaction on tap. It turns in with confidence, maintains a level body mid-corner and actively shuffles power around to make the most of that electric drivetrain on the exit.

There is simply an enormous amount of grip from the all-wheel drive system. With a motor on each axle and sophisticated torque vectoring, the Taycan can send its considerable power exactly where the chassis can use it best.

Porsche Taycan driving interior 2019

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.