The 2021 Porsche Taycan (pronounced tie-kahn) is a truly innovative electric vehicle, showcasing the high-performance potential of the species. As the first production EV with an 800-volt architecture and a multispeed transaxle, it sets new benchmarks in charging speeds and acceleration times. In fact, the top-of-the-line 750-hp Turbo S is among the quickest cars we’ve ever tested, even tying hypercars like the $1.7 million, 1000-hp Bugatti Veyron 16.4 to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds. This EV also has stamina, with the ability to make multiple high-speed runs without a significant loss in performance. Sure, the four-door hatch has a much shorter estimated driving range than its primary rival, the Tesla Model S, and all available versions cost at least six figures at present. But the Taycan drives like a Porsche sports car and exhilarates in ways few electric models have done before.
What’s New for 2021?
Porsche makes mild changes to Taycan lineup for 2021, giving it fresh features as well as a new battery choice. The base model, called 4S, now comes standard with a lower-capacity 79.2-kWh battery, though the 93.2-kWh pack is still available. The smaller-battery version produces less horsepower, but it also costs less. Porsche has recalibrated the Taycan’s charging system to better preserve the battery’s service life and limit overall power loss during fast charging. Other notable updates include the addition of a head-up display, SiriusXM satellite radio, more interior and exterior color options, and over-the-air software updates that allow owners to purchase or subscribe to new functions without visiting a dealership.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S offer performance that’s on par with supercars, we’d recommend the most affordable variant. The 4S comes with a 522-hp powertrain, 19-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, a partial leather interior, and keyless entry. To keep the cost in check, we’d skip all of Porsche’s many personalization options, but we would upgrade to the Performance Battery Plus, which increases the size of the pack by 14 kilowatt-hours and ups the combined horsepower rating to 562. The Performance package is also a must as it makes the Taycan more entertaining to drive: The rear-axle steering and torque vectoring improve agility, the Sport Plus drive mode optimizes performance, and the active anti-roll bars aid stability.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Taycan currently features dual electric motors, with one powering the front wheels and the other powering the rears. They produce separate outputs that vary by trim level. The 4S generates up to 522 horsepower with the standard 79.2-kWh battery and up to 562 horses with the optional 93.4-kWh pack. The latter comes standard on the top models, the 670-hp Turbo and the 750-hp Turbo S. While all three variants feature all-wheel drive and an innovative two-speed transmission that provides a thrilling shift during hard acceleration, a rear-drive model will eventually join the lineup. We’ve driven the Taycan 4S and were impressed by its prompt acceleration (hitting 60 mph in 3.4 seconds) as well as its point-and-shoot handling. However, we wish it had a more responsive brake pedal, especially since Porsche chose to forgo one-pedal driving. Those with a serious need for speed will be blown away by the Turbo S’s rocket-ship takeoffs. The version we tested hit 60 mph in just 2.4 ticks and cleared the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph. We’ve tested a Model S that also reached 60 mph in under three seconds, but it wasn’t able to make repeated acceleration runs without experiencing severe performance degradation. The Taycan could. This, along with the car’s low-slung driving position and precise steering, is what makes the Porsche special among electric vehicles. And it’s comfortable. Even rolling on 21-inch wheels with narrow sidewalls, another Taycan Turbo S we drove never felt stiff or harsh.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The Taycan’s driving range is unremarkable compared with that of the Tesla Model S, which can crest 400 miles on a charge. The Turbo S is currently rated at 192 miles; the Turbo, at 201 miles; and the 4S Performance Battery Plus, at 203 miles. Every model features an 800-volt architecture that allows a charging capacity of up to 270 kilowatts. Models with the 93.4-kWh battery can go from a 5 percent charge to 80 percent in about 23 minutes. However, 800-volt DC fast chargers are rare, and peak charging rates aren’t very informative, as we examined in a comparison test. The more common 400-volt DC fast chargers provide 50 kilowatts, which can charge the battery from 5 to 80 percent in 93 minutes. Opting for the available 150-kW onboard charger does reduce that time. Porsche says charging the Taycan’s largest battery from fully drained to 100 percent at home with the standard 9.6-kW AC charger will require 10.5 hours.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the Taycan with the largest battery pack achieves up to 68 MPGe combined. By comparison, the Tesla Model S has a rating of 117 MPGe combined in its most efficient form. Both cars have slightly higher estimates when driven on the highway, with the Porsche scoring up to 71 MPGe, and the Tesla, up to 112 MPGe. We tested the Taycan 4S with the large battery on our 75-mph highway route and observed 65 MPGe. We conducted the same test with a 2018 Model S 100D and observed 91 MPGe.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside the sleek-looking Taycan is a tech-laden environment. The design is ostensibly simple and recalls what we’ve seen in other Porsche models. As expected, the interior can be covered in a range of rich materials and different color schemes. There’s a long list of luxury options, including four-zone climate control, massaging front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats. The Taycan comes standard with 2+2 seating, but there’s an option to add a third spot in the back if desired. We found the electrified Porsche’s rear accommodations and storage space to be a bit lacking, and we didn’t enjoy having to maneuver into the low front seat. From behind the wheel, though, the view out is excellent.
Infotainment and Connectivity
There’s no shortage of screens inside the Taycan, but there is a shortage of physical buttons and knobs. Along with a curved 16.8-inch display for the gauges, there are two centrally located touchscreens that control the infotainment system. The top one is integrated into the dash and measures 10.9 inches. It provides access to important functions. The 8.4-inch touchscreen below it enables users to adjust the climate settings, check the battery status, input navigation details, interact with Apple CarPlay features, and open and close the trunks and charge ports. Another 10.9-inch touchscreen is available for the front-seat passenger, and there’s a 5.9-inch touchscreen in the back seat that controls the rear HVAC and seat heating (when equipped).
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every Taycan is equipped with standard driver-assistance technology that includes forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking as well as lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Of course, Porsche also offers more advanced tech for a price. For information about the Taycan’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Key safety features include:
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available night vision
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Porsche provides a competitive warranty plan that’s comparable with what other luxury-EV marques offer. However, coverage of the Taycan’s electrical components is capped at eight years or 100,000 miles, whereas Tesla offers unlimited mileage for the same amount of time.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers eight years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary maintenance
More Features and Specs