What's it like to be behind the wheel of the sports car of the electric age? Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader, finds out...
Experts called the electric, four-seat Porsche Taycan a game-changing sports car when it was launched, but what does that mean? There are plenty of electric vehicles about now, and many of them have the range and luxury feel of the Porsche, so how does it justify the price tag, and can it take the race to Tesla?
The Taycan is expensive. It starts at £84,189 for the standard 4S, becoming more expensive if you choose the Turbo or Turbo S, which will take you well over £100,000. Porsche also charges for cables which comes as a surprise. Once you’ve parted with the cash, however, you can relax because running a Taycan Turbo will be far cheaper than running, say a 911 Turbo. From road tax to Benefit In Kind for company drivers, to congestion charges, the savings of running an electric car are everywhere. Best of all, for a high-performance car which would normally guzzle petrol like it’s the last cocktail standing, electricity is much cheaper to come by, especially if you charge overnight on a domestic charging point with an off-peak tariff.
The Taycan is an absolute head-turner, looking vaguely like a Porsche Panamera to the initiated but something from the future to those not familiar with the brand. It hunkers low on the road, with mean LEDs and vertical aero slats in the bodywork oozing presence at the front, while the back retains the familiar low roofline and light bar of brake lights from the Porsche family.
Inside, the driver is cocooned by black leather, black gloss and black glass panels displaying the myriad graphics and functions. It feels very serious and Germanic, as all Porsches do, and is undoubtedly a statement of the dynamic intent of the car. It’s a bit scary, if we’re honest, and no doubt Porsche intended it to be. No laughing matter, when you’re in a car this seriously good.
The Taycan is unapologetic about the amount of tech on board: you’re swamped by read-outs, either from the digital dials behind the steering wheel, the warning lights in the glass frame, the infotainment buttons in the screen on the dash or the air con on the glass panel below the dash. There are more buttons on the steering wheel.
We’ve always found all this a bit overwhelming, even back to the days when Porsches had actual buttons instead of haptic graphics behind glass.
You get voice control (if you don’t mind saying “hey, Porsche!” every time), Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker system, and a list of options that includes night vision, massage and ventilation for the seats and an app to help you plan journeys and charging points.
The Taycan is surprisingly comfy. You sit low on the road but the luxurious air suspension carries you softly over broken surfaces. There’s room in the back for two adults to travel long distances, thanks to sculpted seats, but head room might be an issue for taller people. You can pay extra for a middle seat but that’s really only for children. The boot offers space for shopping or a mini adventure; it’s pretty much what you’d expect for a four-seat sports car.
Thanks to the electric powertrain, it’s a quiet, unruffled experience at speed, rather than passengers having to endure the boom of a highly tuned petrol engine, which is the normal Porsche experience.
This is what sets the Porsche Taycan apart. Teslas are as fast, the Jaguar I-Pace is as luxurious, but no one has yet created a new electric sports car with room for four adults that feels so polished in its performance. The Taycan takes all of Porsche’s engineering knowhow and takes it to the next level. The car is rapid off the line, like all electric cars but then it just keeps on accelerating. The steering is sharp but heavy which in turn makes it feel high quality, and the nose tucks neatly into corners so you can throw it around, especially if you’ve got the optional four-wheel steering for extra accuracy.
If you’re tempted, we urge you to take a test drive – this is the new benchmark in electric performance.