Driven: Porsche Taycan
Porsche, always a leader in automotive technology, has taken electric cars to a whole new level with its newly introduced Taycan, a good-looking four-door sedan that delivers the technology, quality, and most of all performance of a Porsche to the electric car world.
The Taycan is a revolution, introducing performance levels heretofore unseen in the electric (or gas) car markets. A 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds makes it the quickest Porsche ever. Weighing in at a whopping 5,100+ pounds, the Taycan belies its weight with such driving aids as Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport, all-wheel drive, and 4-wheel steering. Having all of the battery weight in the floor keeps the center of gravity very low, thus aiding agility.
That such a heavy car can accelerate so quickly is a testament to the brute power and instantaneous torque output of the electric motors. With launch control, acceleration is blisteringly fast thanks to the available 750 horsepower. Power flows to the front wheels via a single-speed motor and to the rear wheels through a two-speed motor for maximum torque off the line, then more relaxed power delivery for cruising. Shifts are automatic and seamless. Different drive modes include economical, normal, sport and sport plus for varied levels of responsiveness, power and energy consumption. In sport or sport plus, the Taycan is extremely responsive and surprisingly nimble for such a heavy car, thanks in large part to a tightly tuned Porsche suspension and communicative steering.
Of course, being a Porsche, the Taycan has excellent brakes. But unlike other electric cars, they are only minimally regenerative, so they don’t slow you down nearly as much as in makes like the Tesla. Porsche figures its drivers value maintaining speed by coasting more than regenerative slowing when the accelerator is released.
The Taycan is deceptively fast. Without accompanying engine noise, it is very easy to get well above posted speed limits without realizing it. On the highway, it feels like you’re going 20 mph slower than you actually are. Additionally, with all that torque at your disposal, just touching the accelerator increases speed in 10 mph increments.
One of the biggest barriers for people considering an electric car is range anxiety. The Taycan boasts an unprecedented 800-volt battery system, which allows an 80% recharge in about 25 minutes with a supercharger. Stated range is 192 miles, but independent testers have gotten upwards of 250.
Lastly, the Taycan offers the practicality and luxury of a four-door sedan, with decent rear seat room, rear climate controls and heated seats, a decent-sized rear trunk (albeit with a small opening), and because there’s no engine up front, an additional ‘frunk,’ or front trunk. Well bolstered front leather seats are heated and cooled, the steering wheel is heated, and full cabin comfort is provided by 4-zone climate control. The futuristic gauge panel is all LCD. Exterior cameras offer surround and bird’s-eye views around the car. Vehicle, entertainment and connectivity interfaces are through large center touchscreens.
Porsche St. Louis sales manager Casey Eldridge says, “Driving the Taycan changed the way I look at the automotive future. Porsche has taken electric to a whole new level, combining the brand’s best attributes with the future of automotive technology.”
▶ Base: $186,500, including delivery
▶ As driven with options: $207,000
▶ 192-mile range
▶ 800-volt electric batteries
▶ All-wheel drive
▶ 616 horsepower with 750 horsepower available on overboost with launch control
▶ 2-speed automatic transmission on rear motor, single speed on front motor
Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.