The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S debuted yesterday as the German performance car brand’s first attempt at a production electric car. While the fact that it makes up to 750 horsepower and goes from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 2.6 seconds is impressive, there’s a bunch of cool details that really set it apart.
Glossing over the big stuff like an overall stunning exterior design with cues from the new 911 and now-old 918 supercar, there’s a lot of detail to the new Taycan that’s worth specifically pointing out.
I distinctly remember hating the wheels on the original Porsche Mission E electric sedan concept. While the idea of that car looked great, I found the bodywork and particularly the wheel design to be strangely bulbous and holding just slightly too much weight to seem natural, for lack of a better word. But I’m glad Porsche stuck to its guns and found a way to bring the two-tone, body-color-in-black wheels to production, because they’re fantastic in photos and in person.
These are not clip-in pieces like I originally assumed, thinking that’d be ideal for replacement and manufacturing simplicity. The wheel, body-color panels and everything, is all metal and all one piece. Each section of the body-colored panel is painted, and you also have the option of going for a metal, non-painted finish as well.
I’ve asked Porsche for more details on just how custom these wheels can get through the company’s Exclusive customization shop for owners, and for more details on the manufacturing process, but that will have to be a blog for another time. As they sit, the Turbo S wheels are spectacular and if you don’t get them you lack any credibility.
You may have noticed the Taycan has a “filler cap” door on both of its front fenders. If you assume it’s similar to those big trucks that have gas tanks that can be filled up from either side, you’re pretty much correct.
On U.S. spec cars at least, both ports can charge with standard SAE J1772 connections, which is the slower AC electrical current like you’d likely use to charge at home (with the cable that comes with the car). The right side, however, also features additional connectors for faster-speed DC charging, taking full advantage of the car’s new 800-volt architecture that can recharge the battery from 5 percent to 80 percent in just over 22 minutes with a 270 kilowatt charging connection.
It should be as simple as making sure the shapes on the cable connector match the shapes on the car’s connection port, but you may want to demonstrate what goes where to the teenage valet parking your car in the garage for you, just to be certain.
Just behind the charge port panel on either side is a little black winglet that just seems like another accent line to break up the shape of the side of the car. But in the space between the port panel and the car door, the winglet is touch sensitive on the underside, and a swiping motion causes the port panel to recess back and up into the fender. Here’s a video I got of it in action:
Tesla has had issues in the past getting some of its features, like the pop-out door handles and the charge port panel, to open in freezing conditions. Porsche claims it specifically tested its design to avoid this problem, fogging up the panel multiple times with layers of ice and engineering the panel’s motors to continuously apply more voltage until it’s powerful enough to open the door.
It also helps that the panel recesses into the car, rather than opening out, allowing the panel to pull away from any sheet ice instead of having to break through it.
While the Taycan unfortunately didn’t get the cool suicide doors from the Mission E concept car, it did keep the doors’ frameless window design. This means there’s slightly more light coming in from the sides, and less door blocking your hot outfit when everyone is watching you pull up and get out of this thing.
Speaking of doors, the Taycan’s door handles are pretty much ripped right off of the new 992 generation Porsche 911. When the car is unlocked, the motorized handles subtly pivot away from the body of the car, providing just enough space to get your fingers under to open.
They don’t lay flush like a Tesla’s, but it’s still a neat little surprise for anyone getting into the car for the first time.
I’ve already blogged about this, but it’s worth repeating.
Since the Taycan is a sled chassis design, the battery cells are arranged in a flat rectangle under the cabin of the car between both axles. This keeps weight low and makes for an optimized center of gravity, but it also made Porsche’s engineers worry about leg room in the back of the car.
Their solution was to simply cut out space in the battery under the floor so that rear passengers had a spot to put their feet, offering a subtle improvement on spaciousness in the back. For some reason, the terminology they adopted for this feature is actually “foot garage,” despite it being more of a foot bin.
A lot of modern cars have active aerodynamic features. The Taycan’s aren’t all that obvious.
Well, the giant rear spoiler that pops up is kind of obvious, but the car also features shutters in the front grille that can close for increased drag reduction and improved efficiency, or to retain heat for battery conditioning, or open for increased cooling.
The scoops under the headlights are also functional for the aerodynamics of the car, with the airflow exiting out the fear of the front fenders across the surface of the door.
The cars I saw in person were pretty much identical, and both of them were the new Taycan Turbo S—the flagship of the model lineup. Both cars also featured a double-bubble aluminum roof panel painted in the body color, which will be the standard roof treatment for the European market.
But in America, a solid glass roof panel will actually be standard, at least on the first batch of cars to roll off of the production line. (This may be why the official Porsche announcement included two different starting MSRPs for both trims, because the first production models will be slightly more expensive unless you want to wait and pay less for the next batch. It’s unclear to me which options and equipment will change after the first batch is shipped, though.)
At the time of yesterday’s announcement, a Porsche spokesperson was not aware of any plans for an opening sunroof option, which seems like an oversight.
For whatever reason, the rear trunk release button is completely separate from the actual rear hatch. Despite a slight lip on the underside of the spoiler, which is a moving part, there’s really no good room on the hatch to put a button. Its clean design doesn’t really allow for any hiding spaces.
So the trunk release button is actually a body-colored cut-out in the rear bumper, which I thought was actually a filler panel for a screw or sensor until a Porsche rep showed me how it’s done. Not saying it’s good or bad, but it seems fairly unprotected there.
You can get the headlights in a more-blue hue if you’d like. It’s a $580 option according to the configurator. It kind of matches the blue “Porsche” text on the rear of the car. I dig it.
The giant blue “Porsche” lettering embedded in the rear single taillight unit on the Taycan comes that way on every car, at least for now. It’s going to be blue no matter what. But! You can pay more to have it light up, if you want. Why not? (The cars I saw did not have glow butts).
You still power-on the car with a button to the left of the steering wheel, right where Porsche traditionally put the key start on its cars for decades. I suppose that matters significantly to some people.
I’ve been informed that the first media drive for the Taycan is scheduled for a limited group of European press in the next couple of weeks. After that, it may be awhile before more people get behind the wheel. But in the meantime, we have more detailed explainers on the Taycan coming up, and feel free to leave a comment with your questions.
It may not quite be on par with a Tesla Model S Performance on paper, but we’re probably too late to stop the climate apocalypse and pretty soon super-fast electric vehicles, the competition for faster charge times and 0 to 60 records will be one of the few joys in life, possibly. I’m embracing it.