"Do you want in Sport Plus?" The answer is obviously, yes.
"Do you want it in Sport Plus?" My salesman from Porsche Orlando asked as we set off on our test drive. "Of course," I answered before quickly realizing that despite the lack of sound from an engine and the sleek sedan profile surrounding me, I had just stepped into a nuclear-powered missile with a license plate on the back. This car might appear to be a four-seater sedan but trust me, it's a hypercar underneath.
The 2020 Porsche Taycan is the company's first all-electric car, designed to offer the most driver-focused experience we've seen out of any mainstream production EV. Porsche Orlando handed us the keys to its 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S (the fastest version) demo vehicle for a brief test drive, giving us a quick taste of what it's like to live with this electrified beast.
The Taycan's design is what happens when an automaker reveals a concept car and doesn't allow reality to set in by the time the production car is unveiled. Based on the Mission-E Concept, the Taycan looks radically different than other Porsche models. In fact, it looks different than most other cars on the road. Even painted in a stealthy shade like Volcano Grey Metallic, you are bound to notice the Taycan sitting in traffic. We prefer bolder hues like Frozen Blue and Mamba Green but there isn't really a "bad" color in the palette for this car.
Our demo car rode on 21-inch Mission E Design Wheels, which can be finished in body color, black, grey, or Satin Aurum (bronze). Alternatively, buyers can opt for the Exclusive Design Wheels with Carbon Fiber Aeroblades (pictured below).
Having driven the quickest offerings from Tesla, we thought we knew what to expect from the Taycan's performance. But it's still jarring. Even the slowest version of the Taycan, the 4S, packs a 79.2 kWh single-deck Performance battery producing 523 horsepower. This combination offers 253 miles of driving range (not official EPA ratings) while a larger 93.4 kWh two-deck Performance battery Plus bumps the power to 563 hp and the range to 288 miles. Both versions of the Taycan 4S hit 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.
Opting for the Turbo trim gets you 670 hp with launch control while the Turbo S model we drove packs 750 hp. The EPA rates these versions at 201 and 198 miles of range, respectively. But Porsche Orlando says it has observed almost 270 miles of real-world range. Launching the Turbo S involves no drama - no wheel spin, no fighting for traction, just a quick chirp and chest-pounding acceleration. The acceleration is simply brutal and you can turn on the Electric Sport Sound (which reminds us of George Jetson's car), so the experience isn't completely silent.
Tony Stark may have driven an Audi e-Tron GT in 'Avengers Endgame' but the Porsche Taycan would be an excellent alternative. Ironman would appreciate the abundance of high-resolution touchscreens for the infotainment and climate controls as well as the beautiful piece of curved glass that replaces the analog instrument gauges. The materials used in the Taycan's cabin are highly impressive, while as with most demo cars it came with an assortment of optional extras to tempt buyers to part with more money.
The gear level is the same one found in the 992-generation 911 but it is now mounted on the dash to the right of the steering wheel. Since there is no traditional gearbox, Porsche was able to free up more storage space under the center console. Porsche has kept the starter button on the left in homage to its Le Mans heritage but you no longer need to shut off the engine when you hop out. Our time in the back seat was limited to hopping in and out to check legroom but there's clearly less space than a Tesla Model S.
Should you want to take a long journey in the Taycan, the trunk offers a reasonable 12.9 cubic feet with an additional 2.8 cubic feet of space in the front trunk, since there is no engine up there. Other EVs on the market offer greater storage space but we believe the Taycan's cargo capacity will be more than adequate for owners, especially considering long road trips will require charging stops every 200 miles or so.
The acceleration is clearly the most impressive piece of the Taycan driving experience. Like most EVs, any tap of the throttle will result in the immediate destruction of your neck as the car forces your head into the back of the seat. There are very few cars on sale that can keep up with the Taycan off the line and fewer that handle this well. The Taycan isn't just a one-trick pony like the Model S. You can feel Porsche has paid close attention to the steering, meaning it still feels akin to a 911 and not a video game.
Playing with the drive mode selector on the steering wheel drastically changes the car's personality from docile to savage. We kept the car in Sport+ mode for most of our drive, which sharpens the throttle and puts the drivetrain on maximum attack. The Electric Sport Sound projects a futuristic hum and we left it on because we enjoyed the theatrics. This is clearly the 'Porsche of EVs' and we look forward to having more seat time in the future.
As a quality item, the Taycan feels like it is worth every penny from our brief time with it but you are going to need a lot of pennies to buy one. The "base" 4S model starts at $103,800 or $110,380 if you want the Performance battery. Of course, this is still a Porsche so if you want to add up options like ceramic brakes, carbon fiber trim, and lots of leather, you can easily pay nearly $200,000 for a 4S.
If you are going to opt for a ton of options, you are better off getting the Turbo for $150,900. And if you are really in a spending mood, the Turbo S costs $185,000. With options, our Turbo S demo car was priced over $200,000. As with most Porsche cars, the Taycan is not good value when you consider its competitors. But when you consider its supercar-rivaling performance, the price seems like an easier pill to swallow.
If you love Porsche, you will love the Taycan. Porsche has gone out of its way to ensure its first electric car didn't feel like a bastard child in the lineup. Much like how people doubted the Cayenne SUV when it was first launched, skeptics of electric cars will likely eat their words when they step behind the wheel of a Taycan.
Yes, the range could be better but ask yourself how often you drive more than 200 miles at once and the answer will likely be, not often. Plus, Porsche says the Taycan can charge from five to eighty percent in just 22.5 minutes, meaning those charging stops won't be too inconvenient. If you can afford to have a Taycan in your life (or even if you can't), we highly recommend going for a test drive to experience it for yourself.