The 2020 Porsche Taycan electric performance sedan is here, delivering on just about every promise of the stunning Mission E concept car. The Turbo name confusingly carries over from Porsche’s normie lineup, but who cares when the Taycan Turbo S puts out 750 horsepower.
No one expected it to be cheap, but it is very not cheap—the range-topping Turbo S model starts at a whopping $185,000.
(Full Disclosure: Porsche paid for me to come to Niagara Falls, a source of significant hydro-electric power, to attend one of three international debuts of the new Taycan. To be clear, a Porsche rep confirmed that we’re here because the car runs on electrons, not water. I asked to be sure.)
Before you maniacally and appropriately cackle at the $185,000 price tag on this thing while dabbing the tears from your cheeks with Tesla stock certificates, let me be clear: it gets even more expensive, too. And also gets a bit cheaper.
The 2020 Porsche Taycan will go on sale later this year available in two initial models. The Taycan Turbo, which does not have a turbocharger, starts at $150,900 before a $1,350 tax and delivery fee, but Porsche says MSRP at launch will actually be $153,310.
The Turbo has 616 horsepower, but maxes out at 670 HP total with overboost and in launch control, and it makes up to 626 lb-ft of torque. The Taycan Turbo’s curb weight is 5,132 pounds, but the car gets that heft from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 3.0-seconds flat with launch control, and runs a claimed 11.1-second quarter mile.
The Taycan Turbo S is the current flagship, maybe of the entire Porsche range at this point, and it also does not have a turbocharger despite the name. It has a starting price of $185,000 before tax and delivery, but will start at $187,610 at launch.
The Turbo S also makes 616 HP but maxes out at 750 HP with launch control and overboost, and twists out a staggering 774 lb-ft of torque.
Weighing in at 5,121 pounds, it still manages to achieve an absurd claimed 0 to 60 mph time of 2.6 seconds, and runs a claimed 10.8-second quarter mile.
For comparison, the Tesla Model S Performance starts at just a hair under $100,000 before any incentives, with a claimed 0 to 60 mph time of 2.4 seconds and claimed top speed of 163 mph, weighing in just under 5,000 pounds.
Real quick; it’s pronounced “tie-kahn.” Porsche had to find a way to say it in thick German accents that didn’t sound too weird, so that’s what they came up with. Just think of Captain James Kirk straightening his tie before shouting the bad guy’s name in Wrath of Khan, and you’ll get it.
I will say it looks extremely sharp. In terms of lines it’s not dissimilar to the current Panamera, which is not a bad thing, and overall it stayed reasonably closer to the sexy Mission E concept than we all expected. It’s fresh and modern, which is nice from Porsche, a company that in recent years evolves its technology without tweaking the looks of its cars all that much.
Underneath it all, both the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S come with a 93 kWh lithium ion battery pack, which weighs 1,389 pounds all on its own, with an electric motor hooked to a single speed gear reduction at the front axle (fairly common on EVs) but a motor bolted to a two-speed transmission at the rear (not so common).
That’s right—an electric car with a transmission, actual gears. Porsche claims this helps with both top speed and efficiency, but we’ll have a deep dive on exactly how it all works very soon.
Both cars also have adaptive air suspension, Porsche’s funny new coated brakes that are meant to relieve the stresses of brake dust coating those beautiful white-rimmed wheels on the Turbo S that are surprisingly ripped straight from the Mission E concept, and a claimed top speed of 161 mph.
Other fun details include the Taycan’s frunk, which has 2.8 cubic feet of cargo room for groceries or a morning’s seashell haul or whatever. Plus, there’s 12.9 cubic feet of space in the rear trunk. The Turbo S is 7 inches wider than the turbo (that’s when comparing widths including mirrors; the track widths of the Turbo and Turbo S are within roughly half an inch), and the car has a turning circle of 36.7 feet, which is cut down to 34.1 feet with rear-axle steering that’s optional on the Turbo and standard on the Turbo S.
The Taycan’s 800-volt electrical architecture is meant to be an improvement on current 400-volt systems on the market. Essentially, 400-volt systems are limited in their charge rate, and Porsche says an 800-volt system allows for quicker charge times, but required the company to reengineer the rest of the car’s components, like the motors and other electrical equipment, to cope with an 800-volt system.
Porsche claims both Taycan models can charge from 5 percent to 80 percent state of charge in 10.5 hours on a 9.6 kilowatt charge connection, 1.5 hours (93 minutes, to be exact) on a 50 kilowatt connection, or a sandwich-snacking time of 22.5 minutes when charged at 270 kilowatts.
That sounds great and all, the only issue is Porsche doesn’t have any solid range estimates to give us an idea of just how much mileage we’re getting with those charge times. Previously, Porsche has claimed the Taycan should be capable of over 300 miles, but we still have to wait and see if they worked that out for sure.
At a technical demonstration earlier this year, Porsche claimed the Taycan Turbo had a max range of 450 km on the European WLTP testing cycle, which would roughly translate to about 279 miles, though we do not know if that will be close to the final EPA range estimates here in the U.S. The Turbo S had a max range of 412 km, or roughly 256 miles.
Porsche promises lesser versions of the Taycan down the road, and I’m assuming they will also be less expensive, though it’s unclear just how much hardware will be different and how cheap it’s willing to go. It also doubled down on confirming the next EV will be the Taycan Cross Turismo crossover, followed by an all-electric Macan.
The Taycan is the direction Porsche is going. It looks good and it’s crazy fast, and Porsche claims it can run for hours around a track and launch over and over with little degradation in performance. So while the car’s acceleration and top speed numbers may not outdo the Tesla Model S on paper, you can bet Porsche is hoping to crush Elon Musk’s flagship sedan around a circuit. We’ll see how much that matters to buyers.
Additional material from David Tracy.