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Porsche Taycan engines, drive and performance

2019 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 4.9 out of 54.9

Written by Keith Adams Published: 17 February 2023 Updated: 20 February 2023

  • Five variants on offer
  • Pace ranges from brisk to bonkers
  • 4S is the sweet spot

What power options are there?

There are five versions of the Taycan to pick from – the base rear-wheel drive Taycan, the 4S, GTS and then two crushingly powerful models named Turbo and Turbo S. This nomenclature is applied to fit in with the rest of Porsche’s range, even though pedants will quite rightly point out the lack of a turbo on any electric car.

All five models have a standard horsepower rating but can access more with an ‘Overboost’ function – activated when using launch control for the fastest starts. To add extra confusion, the Taycan and Taycan 4S are available with an optional Performance Battery Plus that boosts horsepower in normal running and during periods of overboost when compared to the standard battery whilst .

If you want to get stuck into the long list of possible power outputs, we’d point you towards our specs pages rather than cause confusion here. All you really need to know is that the regular RWD Taycan won’t feel all that quick if you’ve just stepped out of a Tesla, the 4S is fast enough for most people without feeling totally insane, while the GTS is a little brisker still.

Those who are used to slingshot acceleration from their electric cars should jump straight to the Turbo models, though. Even the ‘base’ Turbo knocks half a second from the GTS’s 0-62mph time, the faster version covering 0-62mph in a mere 3.2 seconds. If that’s not enough, the Turbo S gains another 81hp for 761hp in full overboost for 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, or not far off a Bugatti Veyron.

Porsche Taycan review (2023)
The Taycan has astonishing acceleration, brakes and steering – you wouldn’t think it weighs two tonnes.

You also get Electric Sport Sound as standard (an option on the Turbo) 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.

What’s it like to drive?

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

Porsche 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. Well, you do if you either select one of the top models or get very busy with the options list.

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 it’s not often you really feel it. In fact, it’s only during the briefest of moments when it’s changing direction or dealing with big crests or compressions that you’re aware of the masses involved. Lesser Taycans without all the clever tech aren’t quite as good as hiding their mass, yet this is still the best driving EV of them all.

Porsche Taycan review (2023)
Excellent ride thanks to air suspension and brilliant brakes are also on the menu.

There’s an enormous amount of traction 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 builds vast amounts of confidence whilst allowing the keen driver to have fun, too.

Rear-wheel drive models are cleverly set up to prevent you smoking the rear tyres from a standstill, but you’re still able to slide it about should you want to. If anything it doesn’t feel potent enough for the exceedingly capable chassis, so we’d upgrade to the 4S to make the most of it. If you are a keen driver and plan on optioning a few handling upgrades and the Performance Battery Plus, the sharper GTS is well worth considering.

Finally, despite offering huge speed, the Taycan is actually superb to waft around in – thank the 0.22cd drag coefficient for the quiet cabin. The GTS and Turbo models area touch more fidgety on broken surfaces with a bit more tyre noise, too. Still, given the performance and handling, it’s something we’d happily forgive.