Goodwood Test: 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Review
This is a Porsche like no other. It is an electric car like very few others. It is a Porsche sportscar with four seats that is faster than a 911. It is an electric sportscar made not by a small boutique manufacturer or one owned by a faux Bond villain, but by Porsche. The Taycan Turbo is a whole new thing for the world, a taste of the future from that most famous of German fast car makers. One day soon there will be an electric 911, there has to be if it is to continue, and an electric Cayenne, Boxster, Panamera, Cayman. Going electric is the key to the survival of the company, so they have to get it right.
- Power delivery like nothing else
- Weight does not unsettle it in the corners
- Futuristic interior
We don't like
- Some interior features feel like they are just there for the sake of it
- 250-mile range doesn't match Tesla
- It ruins the 911 a bit for you
I would describe the looks of the Taycan as “why did the Panamera not look like this?” The Taycan has been around for some time now in its various forms, but still looks futuristic and eye-catching if you are lucky enough to spot one. Rather than the lumpen awkward form of the non-Sport Turismo versions of the Panamera, the Taycan is smooth and sleek. A very low lying car from front to back, the Taycan is also about as wide as the QE2, a full 1,966mm. That width is what helps to make the Taycan’s form look somehow sleeker than a 911. Even though this car has four proper seats, four doors and a reasonably sized boot (366 litres no less) the Taycan is proportioned correctly. At 4,963mm long it is also about as long as the new Land Rover Defender. Yet it still manages to be very Porsche. The curvaceous rear is there, with the roofline dipping to join the back, the bonnet dips sharply past the headlights, which here are more rectangular than the 911’s ovals. If you can’t tell already, we are fans.
Performance and Handling
Let’s start this section with a few raw stats. The Taycan’s pair of dual motors (a brace on the front axle, another on the rear) produce up to 761PS (560kW) (up to because outside of Sport+ you make do with a paltry 625PS), which is already over 120PS more than a 911 Turbo S. It kicks out 1,050Nm (774lb ft) of torque. All of that is routed via a single gear transmission at the front and a two-speed one at the back. It weighs 2.2 tonnes, but the Taycan Turbo S will hit 62mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds. Yes, that’s right, a car heavier than an Alfa Romeo Stelvio will hit 62mph less time than it takes a Ferrari 812 Superfast. Astonishing stuff.
And those aren’t just numbers that disappear when you start to drive. In this new world of electric powertrains and power figures regularly in four figures some of the stats seem to have lost all meaning. But the Taycan Turbo S can back them up, and then some. The first time you drive this Turbo S you will push your foot down on the accelerator and feel a silent warning. The Taycan cruises happily at slow speeds, but when you twitch your right foot just a little too far it gets all excited and wants to go. Stick that foot to the floor and you will be censoring your language in front of the children, if they haven’t dissolved into some kind of gooey mess in the rear seats. The Taycan Turbo S’s acceleration, even in normal mode, is shocking the first time you feel it. We’re all well used to jumping in electric cars these days, and the feeling of ‘instant torque’, but over 1,000Nm of torque still feels alarming and addictive in equal measure. Move to Sport or Sport+ modes and the same thing happens, each mode change just bringing more expletives until you’ve done it a few times. The funny thing about having this much torque at your disposal so quickly is that once that initial phase of acceleration is done the rest of the sprint feels slightly sedate. You’re still motoring on and gathering speed at a rate that has already lost you your licence over a mile ago, but with that first smash to your gut gone the rest doesn’t have the same shock factor.
Traction is extraordinary too, there’s no slewing sideways or scrabbling, you feel the Taycan squirm underneath you, but only the slightest of corrections of the wheel is ever needed as you fly forward. Then you hit a corner and the sensations just keep coming, how can you get 2,200kg around this tight turn? Thank goodness for those giant brakes (possessing some of the biggest calipers I have ever seen) because we definitely need to scrub this speed off hard.
And then you find that you really need not have worried, the Taycan feels flat through the corners, untroubled by its bulk. This is partly because the batteries, which create that mass, are all mostly sat low, another feature that helps give the Taycan its low profile, adding a very low centre of gravity to the mix. You can pitch the Taycan Turbo S into a corner carrying significant speed and use those motors on both axles to haul you through. The steering is a little numb, nicely weighted but not filled with feel, but fast, so you don’t feel like you’re wrestling this big monster around. It feels like a Porsche, but one that blows everything else out of the water. Sport+ mode adds a strangely pleasing manufactured electric whirring noise to the cabin, as if you needed another signifier for how fast you were going, and more urgency to the throttle, allowing the Taycan to feel more lithe through the corners. And somehow it holds itself into its lane, even though it is as wide as Surrey. It’s the kind of drive that makes you wish you forgot something when you went shopping, just so you can nip back out via the long route.
When you want to just tool around quietly though, that’s exactly what you can do. Despite being set up to control all that weight, the damping never becomes harsh even on a short drive down to the shops. On motorways and out of junctions you will find yourself quickly adapting to the boost of torque, allowing you to nip into gaps with ease that would normally seem impossible. The cry of “you can’t use that much power in real life” is quickly washed away when you escape the slow lane a few times.
Welcome to the future, again. The Taycan Turbo S takes all the things that Porsche does well – build quality is high, everything is easy to use – and makes it all a bit more 21st century. Here we have the centrally mounted touchscreen as you would find in the current 911, but instead of the centre console’s normal gearstick, seat heater controls etc. you’ll find a second touchscreen. This one can be used to control the climate systems and charging and also to navigate the top screen if you wish. The higher of the two screens is also a touchscreen, but when on the move it can be difficult to lean forward to use that accurately, so you can use the lower as a trackpad to navigate it and input, which is a genuinely helpful addition.
As if those screens weren’t enough there is also a 16-incher right in front of you. The Taycan Turbo S does not contain a single analogue dial (unless you count the clock), instead giving you five completely customisable digital ones on a beautifully curved screen in front of you.
Perhaps the only negative to this interior is that the gearstick, already one of Porsche’s new stubby little paddles, has been moved from the centre console to behind the wheel. Which is a bit awkward to get used to, and the move doesn’t really seem to have been done for any reason other than aesthetics.
Technology and Features
The Taycan Turbo S comes with a 93.4kWh capacity battery and the ability to charge up to 80 per cent in 22 minutes should you find one of Porsche’s 800-volt chargers, which are being rolled out to its dealerships now. That means a claimed range of about 250 miles, but we discovered that 200 miles is more realistic. We weren’t hanging around for a lot of our time with the Taycan and never suffered from range anxiety, with 200 miles always seemingly in reach even after a few full bore 760PS launches. Charging is done from two ports, one on either side of the car. These open, rather nattily, by sliding your fingers along a fin just next to the opening, it’s almost too cool a system for its own good. Inside the Taycan Turbo S comes with keyless start, lane keep, cruise control, digital radio, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and an electrically operated boot as standard. That will set you back £138,826. Our test car featured electric folding mirrors, PDCC chassis control, noise insulating glass, adaptive cruise control, night vision assist and the absolutely necessary heated steering wheel, pushing the price up to £151,210.
The Taycan Turbo S had to be good, and fortunately for Porsche it is. Porsche makes a great deal of noise about this being the first fully electric car they’ve made but that it still feels very much “like a Porsche”. I’m happy to say they aren’t lying. The Taycan Turbo S will scramble your brain, put it back together, and then make you wonder when the 911 will be electric. Sure it doesn’t make the same screaming noise as a flat-six, but nothing you have driven with a Porsche badge will perform like this in a straight line, and then in the corners it will still do the things you expect of a machine from Stuttgart. It’s addictive to just keep flooring it to feel that initial burst of torque. And then, even more impressively, it has four big seats and a proper boot. Your move 911.
This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.
|Engine||Dual electric motors, 83.7kWh Lithium-ion battery|
|Torque||761Nm (560lb ft)|
|Transmission||Single-gear front axle, two-gear rear axle, all-wheel-drive|
|Range, efficiency||254 miles, 2.51 miles/kWh|
|Charging||10 hours and 30 minutes to 100 per cent with a 9.6kW charger, 1 hour 33 minutes to 80 per cent with a 50kW rapid charger|
|Price||£138,826 (£151,210 as tested)|
Reviewed by Ben Miles