Porsche Taycan Defeats Tesla Model S In Acceleration, Handling, And Build Quality In German Comparison Test

Screengrab: Auto Mobile (Vox)

The first substantial Tesla Model S versus Porsche Taycan comparison has hit the internet, and it shows the Porsche crushing the less expensive Tesla in build quality, handling, and even acceleration. Here’s a look at the head-to-head between the two most impressive high-volume EV sedans on earth.

The video, part of the German TV Channel Vox’s show “Auto Mobil,” begins with the host Alexander Bloch driving the new 750 horsepower Porsche Taycan Turbo S from Luxembourg 87 miles to an airport runway in Germany, where a Tesla Model S P100D waits in a hangar.

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While underway, Bloch notes the Taycan’s impressive acceleration even while traveling at over 150 mph, but also finds that the Stuttgarter won’t use under 20 kWh of energy per 100 kilometers traveled, as he’d expected. “Extremely fast, but also extreme power thirsty,” the narrator says in German (I’ve translated the video myself with help from a German friend and Google translate).

This was a problem. Bloch was about to do a bunch of acceleration testing against the Tesla Model S, so he wanted a topped-up battery. So he stopped at an Ionity charging station, and found himself disappointed that the 800-volt Porsche couldn’t charge at 270 kW, which would have brought the battery state of charge from 39 percent to 80 percent in about 10 minutes.

Instead, he saw only around 103 kW, and he had to wait 20 minutes. “103 I find disappointing, to be honest,” he says. “It’s not faster,” he continues, wondering if this was just the beginning of Porsche failing to deliver on its promises. (I had a similar issue with an Ionity charger when I tested the Taycan last month).

But it wasn’t the beginning of broken promises, because when he pulled the Porsche up next to a Tesla Model S P100D (whose most recent iteration, we should note, is over $50,000 cheaper than the Porsche and offers more range), the difference in quality between the cars became apparent. In the video, Chief of testing for Auto Mobile, Albert Königshausen, walks around both cars with Bloch, and the two note some issues with the American car’s build quality.

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The Tesla’s rear hatch, for example, had a gap on one side that accepted two coins, while on the other side, it was only wide enough for a single coin:

Screengrab: Auto Mobile (Vox)
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By comparison, the Porsche—which, it’s worth noting, has a smaller trunk and not a hatch—fit only a single coin on each side:

Screengrab: Auto Mobile (Vox)
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“The tailgate is installed completely crooked,” the narrator says. “Same goes for the doors.” The team also notes poorly welded panels, and interior trim “carelessly put together.” The Porsche appears better in terms of overall fit and finish, with the narrator saying: “Gap and material quality at the highest level—this is what the Porsche offers.”

“If you stand directly next to each other on these two fantastic vehicles, then you see that one of them is much better built. That’s the Porsche,” Königshausen concludes.

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Then comes the performance testing.

The clip above shows a snippet of the full comparo, but check out the full thing here. In the handling test, the Taycan appears to outdo the Tesla.

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“At 90 km/h,” the narrator says, “the Tesla loses a lot of traction on the front axle, can not be driven precisely, and even fails to stay in the lane.” As for the Taycan, the narrator says, it “not only remains directionally stable, but is also 7 km/h faster.”

The show’s car review chief, Albert Königshausen, breaks it down, saying the Porsche is more agile, but more demanding:

The two cars are completely different in their setup. The Tesla is simply an understeerer, pushing outward on the front axle. And of course the Porsche is in another world. This is a real sports car. Of course, it’s worlds more agile, but you need a savvy hand.

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Then comes the 1/4-mile acceleration testing, where the Porsche—despite its slower “claimed” zero to 60 mph time—handily defeats the Tesla. Even when Bloch gets a bad start off the line, the Taycan catches up to the Model S and beats it across the finish.

As Auto Mobile notes, the Porsche’s performance advantage becomes more and more pronounced as Bloch and Königshausen continue to race the two vehicles, with Bloch noting that Porsche claims its sports sedan’s acceleration can be achieved repeatedly, with little performance decrease due to thermal limitations.

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“And that’s why Alex and Albert try it again and again.” the narrator states. “The distance to the Tesla gets longer and longer.”

In the video’s conclusion, both hosts say that, in terms of performance and build quality, the Taycan is clearly better than the Tesla Model S, though Boch voices his displeasure with the Porsche’s charging speed and range.

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Obviously, I’d like to see a bit more information on the test conditions, such as how the two cars were outfitted (particularly in terms of tires) and how many miles each car had on it. I also would have liked to see the newest Tesla Model S Performance in this test, and not an older P100D. EV car website Electrek notes differences between the car in this review and the latest Model S, writing:

Also, the show is using an older Model S P100D and not the latest ‘Raven’ Model S, which is equipped with a new drivetrain and a new suspension, which could be especially useful for the handling test.

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Plus, it would have been interesting to see how different the outcome might have been if testing hadn’t been done in wet conditions. So, as with all car reviews, there are caveats, and I won’t be surprised if Tesla’s PR department emails me to tell me all about them (I’ve reached out to Tesla anticipating such a response).

Correction 11:44 A.M. Oct 18, 2019: I meant to write “20 kWh of energy per 100 kilometers” not “20 kW of power per 100 kilometers.”

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio