Porsche Taycan Turbo S: Solving the impossible equation of “EV = fun”
Going fast in a straight line is easy. Carrying that momentum is difficult. There are electric vehicles, and then, there’s the Taycan.
Electric concepts may have given us a futuristic image of our electric future but current electric vehicles are still a far cry from all the cutting edge concepts we’ve been shown. Aside from some blue or green stripes here and there and an “e-” or “i-” before a model name, the differences between an EV and a petrol car aren’t visually obvious. They still share the same four wheels, four seats and two headlights but when we actually get to drive them, it just does not feel the same.
The car awakens silently, drives off quietly and doesn’t even shift gears along the way. Quite the contrast from the emotional roars of an internal combustion engine. A little dull, you say? We won’t disagree. A lot of the focus has been put on range, high-tech screen interactions and record 0-100 km/h times but where do the driver and the driving experience fall into all of that? Is it actually possible to feel an emotional connection between us, drivers, and these seemingly desensitized electric machines? Well, this could very much be one of the reasons for Porsche’s long waiting list on the Taycan (chip shortage aside). We had the opportunity to try Porsche’s most advanced version of the Taycan, the Turbo S, to understand why, more than just another new EV, it is an EV with a personality that stands miles ahead of its competition.
From the sleek silhouette, the flat front end, the sculpted front wings
and even the futuristic tail light, there is no need to look twice, all the signature Porsche design codes are there. It’s familiar enough for you to understand that this is indeed a Porsche but it looks new enough to understand that you’re dealing with something intrinsically different. The new headlights alone create a distinct personality that makes it stand out from its petrol and hybrid siblings. While the Taycan’s four-door sedan look resembles the Panamera, the Taycan is slightly wider and shorter in both height and length which gives it an overall sportier, leaner figure. Think of it as a four-door 911.
Despite being electric, the Taycan keeps some design elements from its petrol siblings, such as a relatively discrete front grille for aerodynamic purposes. The front grille hosts Porsche’s Active Aerodynamic flaps that open and close to either improve cooling or reduce drag. This aerodynamic package is completed by an active spoiler that will extend and retract according to the speed. As for the wheels, the Turbo S comes with massive 21” wheels as standard, though you will have to make an expensive but necessary sacrifice of ¥180,000 (approx. $1,580; £1,150) for the paint on the rims to match the body colour.
The marble-like Carrara White paint of this specific Turbo S is reminiscent of the Mission E concept but perhaps one of the major strengths of the Taycan lies in the brand new, Taycan-exclusive colour palette. From the sophisticated Coffee Beige to the chic and feminine Frozen Berry without forgetting a sporty Neptune Blue, Porsche was able to give the Taycan a distinct and modern identity through its array of contemporary colours, allowing a much wider audience than usual to identify with the car.
As you step inside the Taycan,
you are welcomed by Porsche's most minimal looking interior to date. There is a noticeable absence of buttons as all have been replaced by screens; three standard ones and two optional ones (options: front passenger screen ¥155,455 (approx. $1,350; £1,000) and rear passenger screen as part of the ¥124,545 (approx. $1,100; £800) 4-zone climate control).
The Taycan instantly scores points with its gorgeous, fully digital dashboard that is as impeccable as it is practical. Next to it is Porsche’s new infotainment system, organized in a two screen configuration. The top screen allows you to access your music, maps and general settings, and the bottom screen is where you will now find your climate control functions, access to rear and front trunks and all of the battery-related data. Though aesthetically pleasing and very responsive, these digital buttons won’t replace the practicality of physical buttons which are overall easier to manipulate while keeping your eyes on the road.
But the Taycan remains overall practical. When it comes to storage, the 366L rear trunk is slightly smaller than that of your average sedan but there is enough space to fit in a more than reasonable amount of luggage. If you really run out of space, you still have a front trunk at your disposal.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being in a Taycan is unmistakably the seats. While reflecting the sporty nature of the Taycan, both front and rear seats remain very comfortable. Not only do they all do an outstanding job at holding you in place, the front seats are adjustable in 18 different ways (standard on the Turbo S) and can provide you with seat cooling and heating for ¥153,636 (approx. $1,350; £980). We would personally recommend future owners to get the ¥335,000 massage option (approx. $2,900; £2,100) for the ultimate Taycan experience. It is also worth noting that aside from the different types of leather available, Porsche is now offering at no cost a sustainable alternative to customize your interior. Made with recycled material such as Econyl, it is just as good as genuine leather, if not better.
We could go on much longer about the options fitted to this Turbo S but interestingly, it is worth mentioning that the most expensive option available wasn’t the panoramic roof or even Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). It was actually the Burmeister sound system at ¥694,545 (approx. $6,100; £4,500). But worth your money it is, because Porsche has done a phenomenal job at creating a luxuriously quiet cocoon for you to listen to your favourite music. There is overall very little road noise and of course no squeaking sounds coming from suspensions or other parts of the car that you often tend to get in other EVs out there.
Like any performance EV worthy of its name, the Taycan accelerates fast.
Very fast. The “100km/h in 2.8 seconds” kind of fast. The Taycan throws you to the back of your seat and has already reached 3-digit speeds before you even comprehend what is going on. And while some EVs do run short of things to offer after a 0-100 km/h stunt, the Taycan does not. Instead, it keeps on going, relentlessly. It keeps accelerating, it takes corners with incredible ease, brakes hard… and it is ready to do it all over again until it runs out of battery. No need to worry about overheating because the cooling strategy has been engineered for maximum performance. The Turbo S even comes with massive carbon ceramic brakes as standard to match this wild performance.
To give out a few concrete facts, the Taycan Turbo S’ 800V high voltage lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 93.4kWh (understand a powerful battery that can store a lot of kW), which is 14 kWh more than the entry model Taycan. Pulling technology straight from the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 hybrid, the Turbo S produces 616 hp but it doesn’t stop there. In overboost (a.k.a. when you wish to launch your Turbo S), the power goes up to 750 hp. It is pretty safe to say that with such numbers, the Taycan Turbo S is easily stepping into supercar territory.
The battery is located underneath the floor, a pretty standard EV layout that helps bring the car’s center of mass down. As expected, this heavy battery brings the weight of the car up to 2,380 kg (200 kg more than the Panamera) but this is far from a disadvantage for the Taycan. With the help of state-of-the-art air suspensions, the car feels incredibly grounded and stable, delivering a luxurious ride comparable to that of a Bentley Continental GT. While the active suspension system helps adjust the damping for each wheel, the electro-mechanical roll stabilization integrated into the PDCC helps counter body roll by stiffening up the anti roll bars. With such precision, such grip and such stability, you gain confidence whenever taking corners and that grippy sensation is enough to understand that the Taycan is unmistakably a Porsche.
Perhaps what connects the Taycan most to our ICE experience
has to do with the unique transmission that was fitted to it. Simply explained, the Taycan “downshifts” and “upshifts” thanks to Porsche’s two-speed transmission. This unique in-house creation is installed on the rear axle and helps the Taycan go fast at first and then, go far. The first gear gives the Taycan more acceleration when setting off. Then, you will hear a clear upshifting sound and the Taycan will enter the second gear; a longer gear that will keep the car driving at high efficiency. Not only is this technology impressive and unheard of, Porsche actually managed to make the car sound incredibly nice as well. The Taycan’s propulsion sound can be heard distinctly from the inside as well as from the outside. You can also enhance this futuristic spaceship-like sound by turning on the Porsche Electric Sport Sound. It cannot be compared to the sound of a roaring engine but you get just as hooked up to it.
As for how far the Turbo S goes,
Porsche’s official number of 416km (258 miles) worth of combined range may be slightly optimistic. Just like any other petrol car, it is mostly up to you to decide the range you wish to have at your disposal. The Taycan can most certainly be driven in an efficient manner but it is a high performance sports EV after all and just like any thirsty high performance petrol car, having too much fun will cost you in range. It’s no big deal really but the only difference is, one is supported by the right infrastructure and the other one isn’t.
By being named ‘Taycan’,
this new member of the Porsche family was given its very own identity and its very own personality. Things become real when you give it a name. With its own set of colours and its electrifying, piercing eyes, you can distinctly recognize the Taycan. This is no “Panamera-e” or “911-e” but something that looks, sounds and drives in its own unique way. There is no denying: Porsche has created a brilliant electric performance car.
With a base price of ¥22,310,000 (approx $196,000; £142,000) and options that climb up to ¥3,254,545 (approx $28,500; £21,000) for this specific model, the Turbo S can feel quite out of reach. Nonetheless, it leaves whoever drives it optimistic and sighing with relief for our automotive future. For this much power, this effortlessness is just as disconcerting as it is addictive. The Taycan feels grounded and accurate and makes the driver its priority. These are core Porsche values that have been fully kept in the Taycan, making it a soulful electric vehicle. Some manufacturers make the mistake of adding their values onto an electric machine a little too late in the process and that’s where Porsche got it right. You do not add a soul to fit a machine. You build the machine to fit the soul.