2023 Porsche Taycan
– As fast as a sports car
– Cabin trim and features
– Ride and handling
– A little bit expensive
– Not as spacious as expected
– Some overdone electronic features
Once upon a time, when someone said Porsche, the first car you’d think of was the 911. The waters got muddied this century with the arrival of several other model lines, all of which are sales successes in their own right. But the model generating more interest than all the rest is not even petrol-powered any more. Indeed, the electric Taycan super-sedan is the first look at what is likely the future of Porsche.
The Taycan is unmistakably a Porsche, looking like a lower, swoopier version of the Panamera. The headlights are a unique take on the usual corporate face, and it is probably the best-looking EV currently out there. The sporty body is complemented by 20-inch wheels, which, if you look closely, are flat with blocked slots to improve aerodynamics. The paint colour, LED matrix headlights, panoramic glass roof, SportDesign side skirts, “Turbo” wheels and coloured wheel centre caps, are all optional equipment on our “base model” test car.
Interior and Practicality
Sitting in the Taycan up front, we were greeted with screens running the entire length of the leather-clad dashboard. The dash design is reminiscent of the latest 911, even while the graphics and shape of the instrument display screen mimic the look of an old-school 911’s gauge cluster. The passenger can optionally have their own screen too, aside from the central touchscreen with the fully touch-sensitive centre-console control screen below it. As per tradition, the start button remains on the left of the steering wheel, but the little gear selector is on the right behind the wheel.
Portly folks may have a bit of trouble getting into this low-slung sedan. Once inside, they’ll be greeted with front seats that have one-piece seatbacks with fixed headrests and good bolstering.
Sliding into the rear seats, the space is less for a car this size but accommodates average-sized adults fine. Even though the car rides very low, the elevated floor inside the cabin is a reminder of the batteries pulsing underneath our feet.
Weirdly, although the Taycan looks like a liftback like the Panamera, it has a sedan-style boot lid with a smaller-than-expected opening. Still, boot capacity is respectable, but the front boot (since there is no engine) is used up to store the bulky charging cables.
All expected active safety and luxury conveniences are available, including a rocking sound system and a decent four-zone a/c, although being a Porsche, it’s hard to say what’s standard and what’s optional without browsing through the extensive specs sheet. The touchscreen below the central screen is a nice party piece, with simple graphical icons replacing traditional buttons. However, they overdid it with the need to dig through screen menus just to adjust the a/c vents.
On the outside, the electrically-retracting flap for the charging point is a nice gimmick, but on our tester, there are no soft-close doors, no sun blinds for the panoramic glass roof, and no power-closing lid for the front bootlid (but you do get one for the rear). Those would’ve been appreciated on a car that is priced well into the full-fat luxury price bracket.
Power and Economy
The powertrain list is kind of complicated at first glance, but bear with us.
The base Performance Battery offers 240 kW (326 hp), with 345 Nm of torque. You can use the launch control function to briefly activate Overboost Power and get a short kick in the pants, with up to 300 kW (408 hp) as well as 5360 Nm!
The optional Performance Battery Plus, as found in our test car, offers 280 kW (380 hp) and 357 Nm, with Overboost Power pumping that up to 350 kW (476 hp) and a whopping 550 Nm of torque!
Power delivery is gradual rather than coming in with a sudden dollop, and there is no mega wheelspin like we used to get with our 6.4-litre Hemi-powered SRT sedan. It feels quickest when accelerating from low speeds to highway speeds, but once up there, it doesn’t feel particularly hyper-quick when overtaking. The base Taycan officially tops out at 230 kph, and it is more than enough performance as a daily-driven enthusiast car, negating the need for a faster (and pricier) Taycan 4S or a Turbo.
We knocked out a silent 0-100 kph time of 5 seconds flat, burning electricity at a rate of 24.9 kWh/100 km, although considering we’ve never done a full road test of any other EV, it’s hard to put the consumption figure in context. Next time we’ll grab one of those Tesla taxi drivers and ask him what mileage he gets.
On our Sports Chrono package-equipped car (which includes an additional Sport+ drive mode), the city range is rated at up to 566 km, and the long-distance range is rated at 410 km, for a combined range of 403 km. At 100% charge, the info display was showing a range of 440 km, and we were down by 65% at the end of our stint, with a range readout showing 290 km. So theoretically, we calculate that our car would’ve gone as far as 428 km at the same burn rate when driven around in the heat of May in Dubai. Top-spec Teslas can go further, although their consistency in hitting the expected range in hot weather seems to be a question mark.
Riding on 20-inch wheels with 245/45 front and 285/40 tyres, the ride is quieter than expected, with some wind noise above 100 kph, and it’s surprisingly silky smooth for a two-ton sedan that handles like a serious sports car.
The Taycan offers neutral handling with no noticeable body roll. With solid grip from the tyres, it is easy to explore this Porsche’s high limits, with support from its strong brakes and easily modulated pedal. The responsive well-weighted steering gets the job done, even with almost no feedback.
Around town, the Taycan proved easy to drive, with decent all-round sight lines and tons of driving aids. It sits low so you have to watch out for parking curbs, and the fish-eye rear camera view is a bit disorienting, but other than that, it drives like a regular petrol-engined car. There is no learning curve to driving it.
As ChatGPT correctly tells us, the Taycan is a vehicle that “masterfully captures the essence of electrification while remaining rooted in Porsche’s illustrious history.” While it occasionally leaves enthusiasts yearning for more visceral thrills, it is probably the finest effort at a high-performance EV by a legacy automaker. Mind you, the Tesla Model S Plaid will outrun it, but that’s a decade-old platform that prioritises outright speed and range over build quality and refinement. If you have the means to buy one and the access to charge one, this one would be at the top of your list.
Current Model Introduced in:
Rear: discsCurb Weight:
Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
Observed Test Fuel Economy: