This looks like one rivalry the Panamera just can't win.
It has finally happened. Porsche's first electric car is finally here. After years of waiting, the Mission E Concept has become a reality with the 2020 Porsche Taycan, an all-electric sedan that could finally dethrone the Tesla Model S. But wait just a minute. Doesn't Porsche already have a fast sedan with electric technology? Yes, and it's called the Panamera, a similarly-sized luxury sedan with outstanding performance in its own right. It is even priced similarly to the new Taycan.
Having two sedans that are so similar might sound like a death sentence to most brands but Porsche could have the customer base to make it work. With the Taycan generating so much hype, is there still a place for the Panamera?
In terms of pricing, the Turbo and Turbo S trims of the Taycan and Panamera are priced quite similarly. The Taycan Turbo starts at $153,310 compared to $153,000 for the Panamera Turbo and $157,000 for the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo. Just $310 separates the two cars, meaning buyers are mainly choosing between gas and electric power for the same price. The Taycan will save owners money in gas bills but with a price tag over $150,000, we assume the buyers in this price range can afford a trip to the pump.
Likewise, the Taycan Turbo S is priced similarly to the Panamera at $187,610. A Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid costs $187,700, $198,100 for the Executive version, or $191,700 for the Sport Turismo. Only $90 separates the two Turbo S trims, making it an even tighter decision.
The Panamera and Taycan are closely matched on performance but it truly depends on what type of experience you're after. If you can't live without the sound of a fiery V8 engine, the Panamera is the obvious choice. But if you like the idea of silent acceleration, the Taycan looks like the quicker car on paper. The 670 horsepower Taycan Turbo hits 60 mph in three seconds while the 750 hp Turbo S takes just 2.6 seconds.
By comparison, the 550 hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in the Panamera Turbo takes 3.6 seconds to reach 60 mph and the 680 hp hybrid-assisted Turbo S takes 3.2 seconds. If it matters, the Panamera is quicker with a top speed over 190 mph compared to 162 mph in the Taycan.
Porsche has even styled the two cars to be reminiscent of each other, so only the little details can be used to differentiate them. The Taycan is certainly the sleeker of the two with the slippery body creating a drag coefficient of just 0.22. There also some obvious differences like the wheels, headlights, and door handles, but we'd say the battle of styling is more or less a coin flip. Since the Taycan is newer and has a more modern headlight and taillight design, it would likely draw more attention in traffic.
The Panamera's interior is by no means outdated but next to the Taycan, it does look slightly antiquated. Porsche has gone with a futurist approach with the Taycan, opting to use as few buttons and knobs as possible (a trend which began in the Panamera). Both cars have a similar cabin layout but the Tayan has a few interesting features like a fully digital and curved instrument cluster, "Hey Porsche" voice control, and the option of a leather-free interior.
Since the Taycan is a traditional sedan rather than a hatchback like the Panamera, it isn't as practical. The trunk offers 12.9 cubic feet of space with an additional 2.8 cubic feet in the front area. Even if you combine the Taycan's two storage areas, it isn't as cavernous as the Panamera, which has 17.6 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear (47.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded). This area is even larger if you opt for the Sport Turismo version.
The Taycan holds a few advantages over the Panamera such as more updated styling, 0-60 mph acceleration, and a newer interior. But the Panamera strikes right back with a higher top speed, larger cargo capacity, and longer range. Since the two cars are priced so closely, the choice mainly comes down to whether or not you want an all-electric performance sedan. In the long term, the Taycan may eventually replace the Panamera but for now, it will be interesting to see if people are still willing to buy it over the electric newbie.