Read the first Porsche Taycan Singapore review: we grabbed the key to a 4S with the Performance Battery Plus. Find out if it unlocked a door to the future…
SINGAPORE — Here it is at long last: the Porsche Taycan, on Singapore roads and in our hands.
The Taycan gets the full-electric ball rolling for Porcshe, but it’s actually the first of three battery-powered Porsches that we know of.
There’s a sort of crossover Taycan Cross Turismo on the way, and the next Macan (the brand’s compact sport utility vehicle) will be all-electric, although fossil fuel versions will soldier on in markets that aren’t ready for the switch to battery power.
Point is, this electric Porsche isn’t a standalone or one-off. It’s a glimpse of Porsche’s future.
But here in the present, the Taycan is available in three flavours — Taycan 4S, Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S. Make it four flavours, if you count the basic Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus as a standalone variant. You can order yours today, but deliveries only start in 2021, alas.
Our run-down of what each one costs and what it offers is here, and Porsche itself has a virtual launch for the Taycan scheduled for September 22 at 9pm. But in the meantime, climb aboard the Taycan 4S with us for a blast (away) from the past…
Should I be taken with a Taycan?
First things first: it’s pronounced “tie cahn” and not “taken”. With that out of the way, it’s tough to decide where to start with the Taycan. It’s a head turner for sure, with a svetle form that hugs the road and an appealingly low roof.
The bonnet dips low between the front fenders, because the electric motor underneath it is so much smaller than a petrol engine. That petite front end is why there’s nothing like it out there. And it’s why, in comparison, some premium German sedans look like they’re wolfed down too much spaetzle and gravy.
The Taycan got its share of stares, anyway, especially when we cruised down Orchard Road, and will probably draw gawkers for a while. Drive one and when someone asks you what it is, you get to answer, “It’s an electric Porsche.” How cool is that?
I can’t decide if it’s a big car or small…
Whatever the pictures suggest, in real life the Taycan isn’t a huge car, or even a large one. It’s noticeably a size down from Porsche’s Panamera, which is entirely on purpose.
Porsche looked at its range and decided its electric vehicle (EV) should fill a hole in its lineup with a car roughly the size of a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class. No sense kicking off your battery-driven future by duplicating an existing car, after all.
So… it’s a 5 Series rival?
Not at all. The problem with EVs is that it’s tempting to keep reaching for a petrol equivalent to make comparisons. Instead, when you think about an electric car you really have to look at it with fresh eyes and a new mindset.
If you really want a direct competitor, that might be a Tesla Model S. Inevitably, everyone mentions them in the same breath, but the American car came out in 2012. A bit weird to compare the latest Porsche with something that’s been on the market for eight years, no?
OK, then what’s the “fresh eyes” proposition?
In the Taycan you’ve got a fast four-seater (or 4+1 in the test car’s case, though at a cost of S$1,938 extra), built from the ground up around electric hardware.
Like many EVs, it has a “skateboard” design, with a broad, flat bank of batteries under the floor, but in a housing that is a load-bearing part of the car’s main structure. Those batteries supply an electric motor at each end, and they in turn supply the magic.
In the Taycan 4S, that’s 435 horsepower worth of magic, with 530hp in bursts. The standard battery stores 71kWh of energy.
Pay S$26,536 extra for the Performance Battery Plus, which can deliver 83.7kWh, and you’ll unlock a steady 490hp, or 571hp peak.
571hp not enough for you? The mighty Turbo S is what you want, then…
That’s the car we drove, but Porsche being Porsche, there’s some nuance to it all. For one thing, the whole lot works on 800 volts (double the voltage of other EVs), which enables thinner and lighter cables, as well as faster charging. Porsche also says the Taycan’s motors pack more power per litre of size than any other on the market.
Interestingly, the rear axle actually has a two-speed transmission. First gear is for maximum acceleration, and is mainly used in the Sport and Sport Plus driving modes. The tall second gear is for cruising, and you can somtimes feel (and hear) the Taycan switching gears.
In the energy-saving “Range” driving mode, the Taycan closes some active body flaps to make the car more slippery, lowers itself by 20mm to cut wind resistance, and it actually spends much of its time with only the front motor running. That’s right, sometimes your Taycan is front wheel drive.
Presumably, it’s fast though?
Fast just doesn’t even begin to describe it. Pin the accelerator and everyone in the car is pinned to their seat while the Taycan blitzes to 100km/h in 4 seconds flat.
Lots of cars can clock that timing, but there’s something borderline scary about how the Taycan can sustain its violent acceleration, just charging and charging along until you finally peek at the speedo and shout something that rhymes with duck.
Porsche quotes a 0 to 200km/h time for this car (it’s 12.9 seconds for the test car) and it’s easy to see how it’s relevant. The Taycan’s rolling acceleration is its real party trick, and the way it scoops up speed from 60km/h onwards is honestly breathtaking.
If you can keep your right foot on the floor and count all the way to 10 in this car, you’re an outlaw.