The Taycan 4S is for the avid Porsche enthusiast ready to adopt electrification.
We’ve tested just about every electric vehicle that has entered the market in the past few years, and for the most part, they feel largely the same. With the exception of premium EVs like the Jaguar I-PACE and just about anything from Tesla, it’s hard to differentiate actual driving engagement between the various models available. Until now – the 2021 Porsche Taycan 4S is an absolute game changer in the EV world. This isn’t just any electric vehicle; it’s one that delivers the driving engagement we expect from a Porsche, with added benefit of electrification.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Taycan is a real looker. The Frozen Blue paint on our tester has a pearl effect to it, and it got plenty of attention during our test week. It has many of the same lines as the Panamera, but is very obviously trying to be something from the future, and succeeding. LED lighting finishes things off nicely, and the electronic exterior door handles deploy when the doors are unlocked. It’s a nice touch, but we’re not sure how they will handle our cold Canadian winters.
Being a Porsche, this 4S is still seriously fast despite currently being the least expensive way to get into the Taycan lineup. The Turbo and Turbo S models put out 670 and 750 horsepower, respectively, but the 4S’ rear electric motor is a little bit more humble. The 562 horsepower number comes from the optional 93.4-kWh Performance Battery Plus equipped on our car. The 479 lb-ft. of torque comes on right at idle, and the Taycan 4S can hit 100km/h in four seconds flat. It’s not a slow car by any means, and is more than enough power for the street.
Interestingly, the Taycan uses a two-speed transmission, something no other electric vehicle offers today. There is a neat change from one gear to the other, and it’s definitely noticeable and a fresh change from other EVs that feel significantly more computerized than the Porsche. Flip the drive mode dial on the steering wheel into “Sport Plus” and the artificial engine sound is right out of the Podracers from Star Wars Episode One. It’s absolutely gimmicky but in the best way possible – this noise is audible from outside the car as well as inside, and is also an EV feature unique to the Taycan.
A Performance Package on our test vehicle adds the aforementioned sound, the Sport Chrono package, Rear-Axle Steering, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus. This all comes together to make an electric car that’s genuinely athletic, with light reflexes and all of its weight on the bottom of the car. As a result, the turn-in is incredibly sharp and the Taycan corners flatter than many focused sports cars. This is where things come alive, because the Tesla Model 3 and Model S are also both very engaging vehicles, but the Taycan ups the ante just enough to make that difference.
More than its handling capability of course is the importance of the Taycan’s battery and charging system. Its 800-volt capability is significantly more than anything else currently available, and the car can support some seriously fast charging speeds. Electrify Canada offers certain stations that can charge the vehicle to full in just over thirty minutes, but the two accessible to us weren’t working at the time. My 32-amp home charging station could charge the vehicle fully in just under nine hours, and we observed range of roughly 325km in freezing temperatures. This will increase to roughly 370-400km in warmer settings.
The Taycan’s cabin is also seemingly the way of the future – a minimal amount of buttons and a plethora of screens. The gauge cluster is digital and stunningly beautiful to look at. Three touchscreens on the dashboard toggle all of the major controls from climate to media and navigation. A display in front of the passenger can also execute many commands. It’s easy to use once some time has been spent with it, but we would still like to see physical buttons for things like the heated and ventilated seats, volume and track adjustment.
For multimedia, the Taycan can support Apple CarPlay, but curiously, it’s a wired application only. If there’s a way to do it wirelessly like the rest of Porsche’s current lineup, we weren’t able to find it. We would also recommend spending the extra cash on the optional Burmester Surround Sound, because the standard application is quite underwhelming, especially for the price point of this car. Interior appointments are lovely, with excellent fit and finish and plenty of space front and rear for passengers. The trunk is not a hatch, but still has enough room for a suitcase or two. Any leftover items from that Costco run can be put in the “frunk” up front.
Our Taycan 4S was optioned out of its own league, unfortunately. Starting at a reasonable base price of $119,400 for this model, ours was equipped to the tune of $165,410. This includes reasonable options such as the Performance Package ($7,670), a Premium Package ($8,190), and adaptive 18-way power seats. However charging for things like wireless charging ($1,270), adaptive cruise control ($2,330), and heated seats ($600) is unreasonable. Porsche has also found a way to charge for cloth – the leather-free interior, while lovely to look at, is nearly $5,000 extra.
What ultimately will determine the mass adoption of electric vehicles is price point and charging infrastructure. As the owner of a Level 2 charging station, daily driving an EV is easily possible for me, but is not the case for many of my fellow Canadians. The public charging network is satisfactory but nowhere near where it needs to be. We strongly recommend readers considering adopting the EV life to ensure that they have regular access to at least a Level 2 unit at either home or work.
And a comparison must be drawn to the obvious – Tesla has reduced their prices and now sells the Model S Performance with 623km of range and a 2.5-second 0-100km/h acceleration time for $124,990, nearly $40,000 below our Taycan 4S tester. Comparable performance out of a Taycan would increase this delta even more. We don’t recommend the Tesla strictly due to serious quality issues on just about every example we’ve come across, but the price difference is substantial and undeniable.
The 2021 Porsche Taycan 4S is for the avid Porsche enthusiast ready to adopt electrification, or any buyer who places driving engagement high on the priority list. It’s a wonderful car if you go easy on the option list, and if the overall driving range can be dealt with. Purists may want to note however that $165,000 will buy a Boxster GTS 4.0 with a manual transmission AND a mainstream EV like a Chevrolet Bolt, with money left over. If its price point doesn’t matter, the Taycan is just about the best electric car you can buy today, and a serious driver’s car.