Test Drives

2019 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Review: A Great Leap Forward



Porsche’s first full-fledged electric sports car marks a huge step forward for the EV movement with its groundbreaking performance and tech

Photos: Porsche, Tobias Kempe

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA

It’s not every day that you drive a car that is genuinely groundbreaking, one which will completely change the automotive landscape as we know it. But the Porsche Taycan is very much one, for it will completely alter your worldview on electric vehicles (EVs), whatever you think about them now.

For starters, the Taycan is the first full-fledged electrified model from a bonafide sports car maker. Say what you want about Tesla, but they simply don’t have the pedigree or heritage that a brand like Porsche offers. Neither do they have the experience or expertise to produce a vehicle such as this with the level of quality that premium consumers expect, regardless of what Elon Musk says on Twitter.

That fact alone should mean that the Taycan would be a performance machine that ought to be taken seriously. And you should, because Porsche has clearly moved the EV game on so far ahead that from this point on, it sets the benchmark for all future EVs to aim at.


READ MORE: All the details about the Taycan for Singapore, including on sale date and estimated pricing


Even before going into the car’s performance potential, in terms of standard EV metrics, the Taycan has pushed the bar further than any EV that has come before it. The headline news is of course its ultra-rapid charging capability, with the Taycan featuring an 800 volt system voltage, meaning that it can recharge up to a rate of 350kW.

Translated, that means the car can offer 100km of range from just 5 minutes of charging given the right conditions, or go from 5 percent to 80 percent battery charge in 20 minutes. That of course requires special high-power chargers that is capable of charging at such a rate, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue given that Porsche are already working to set up a network of such chargers to service the Taycan’s capabilities.

If anything, that alone should eliminate a major hurdle towards EV adoption, namely charging times. But that’s just one aspect of what makes the Taycan such a game-changer for the EV scene as a whole.

The Taycan is still a Porsche after all, and that means it has to live up to the badge on the nose. And it does, without a doubt. There are still limitations to EV development that it can’t escape from however, namely its weight (the car weighs 2.3 tonnes), but on the whole the Taycan feels very much worthy of wearing the Porsche badge with pride.

The top-of-the-line Turbo S variant knocks out some pretty impressive numbers: 761hp, 1,050Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds. But as an EV all of that feels almost irrelevant. The Taycan’s acceleration and performance feels absolutely unlike anything that a car with an internal combustion engine can offer. The punch when you put your foot down is immediate, with zero hesitation, and it covers speed and distance with the sort of effectiveness that makes overtaking a truly effortless affair.

Probably the clincher for the Taycan though is the way it handles out on the winding roads that litter the Austrian countryside where we drove the car. Given the way it is set up, with the massive batteries laid out flat on the floor, it’s only natural to expect the Taycan to feel planted and grounded. And it does, with the car feeling composed and flat even as you navigate corners at speed.

But it’s the other things that indicate to you that this is a proper Porsche, such as the perfectly-weighted steering and the nicely-balanced air suspension setup, which offers a good blend of ride comfort and capable handling. Indeed, lack of sound aside, one could very well mistake the car for a Panamera Turbo, which is certainly high praise indeed.

It’s similarly Porsche-esque on the inside too, albeit a fairly high-tech one. The driving position is low, almost like a 911, and you’re greeted with screens everywhere, but they’re not right in your face, unlike the Tesla’s gigantic iPad screen. The passenger screen above the glovebox, which controls the infotainment system, does seem to be a bit overkill however.

For all intents and purposes though, the Taycan sets out to prove that electric motoring can be a fun and exciting affair even for driving enthusiasts. It has very much achieved that goal, but more than that, its groundbreaking tech promises to redefine what EVs are truly capable of. It completely shatters the notion of EVs as slow, impractical alternatives to ICE cars, and perhaps many years from now, we will look back at this moment and recognise the Taycan as a major turning point in EV development. The future starts from here.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Electric Motor

761hp, 1,050Nm

Battery 

Lithium ion, 270kWh

Charge Time / Type

30 mins (estimated) / DC fast charger

Electric Range 

412km

0-100km/h

2.8 seconds

Top Speed

260km/h

Efficiency

24.5kWh/100km

VES Band / CO2

TBC

Agent

Stuttgart Auto

Price

TBA

Availability 

August 2020

 

Verdict: Groundbreaking electric sports car from Porsche promises to redefine electric motoring once and for all

about the author

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Ben Chia
He once belonged here, and then he went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.