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2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Review & Test Drive – Better Than a 911

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Review & Test Drive – Better Than a 911

[MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but in a year that a new 911 and the mid-engine Corvette were unveiled, the car that I was most excited to drive was a Porsche without an engine. The Taycan is the best guide yet to what life for enthusiasts will be like when gas powered cars are just a history lesson. [MUSIC PLAYING] Our own Dan Edmunds– no relation to the company– did drive a Taycan a couple of months ago back in Europe. But that was the Turbo S. This is California. And this is the 4S, which is the Taycan that people are actually going to buy. With prices starting at just over $100,000, it’s a genuine rival to the Tesla Model S. And it’ll be in showrooms as early as this spring. But before we head off down the famous Angeles Crest here in LA, be sure to subscribe to the Edmunds YouTube channel. And head to edmunds.com for all your car shopping needs. So this is launch control, Sport Plus on, foot on brake, foot on throttle, dump the brake out– [LAUGHS] The 4S comes with a choice of two batteries and two slightly different states of tune. Our car has a larger 93.4 kilowatt hour Performance battery Plus and 563 horsepower. That’s almost 200 horsepower less than the monster Turbo S. But it’s still not exactly slow. Yes, the 4S doesn’t have the ultimate firepower of the Turbo S. The Turbo S does zero to 60 in under three seconds. This does it under the four. But consider that for a minute. Zero to 60 in under four seconds. By any conventional measure, this is still absolutely a super car. And because all the torque, and all performance is so easy to access and so instantaneous, it is tremendously fun to drive. Like the non-turbo charged Turbo models, the 4S has an electric motor at either end to deliver all wheel drive. You also get trick air suspension and electronic damping. So you can set up the car to match the conditions and/or your mood. So the big question about the Taycan was whether Porsche could take all that they’ve learned over 70 years of doing gas powered cars and translate knowledge, that experience, that Porche-ness into an EV. And, to be honest, I think they’ve done a brilliant job. Well, the first thing that strikes me on some of these twisting bends here on Angeles Crest is this has the lowest centric gravity of any Porche. And that’s all to do with where their motors are and where their battery park is under the floor of the car. And you can really feel it. This car follows incredibly flat. The steering isn’t quite as feelsome as it is in the latest 911. But it’s still better than almost any other car on the road. The brakes are a real talking point. It’s not a so-called one pedaled car, like a Tesla or BMW I3. By that, I mean it doesn’t have strong regenerative braking factor. In a Tesla, if you release the accelerator, the regenerative braking takes over. So effectively, you almost never use the brake pedal. Porsche set their Taycan up differently. They wanted it to feel more like a traditional car in type of consistency of response. So when you lift off the throttle, the regen is actually very modest. You actually have to use the brake pedal to either increase the regen to braking or actually to use the traditional pads and rotors. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But, personally, I do miss the kind of fun of driving a one pedal car while you’re just constantly playing with a throttle on and off. What about the big elephant in the room? The lack of noise. Do I miss the sonorous [INAUDIBLE] of a 911? Yeah. On a road like this, absolutely. For me, the noise of the engine has always been a huge part of the Porsche experience. That’s also why I’m not much of a fan of the four-cylinder 718 Boxster. Porsche is at least trying their best. We’re in normal mode at the moment and you get a kind of faint whine from the motors that sounds pretty much like any other electric car. But if you switch through into Sport Plus mode, which also stiffens that suspension and– can you hear that? It’s the sound of the future. It’s completely artificial, of course, and therefore a bit silly. But I think it’s kind of fun. The other thing that’s really impressive me about the Taycan is just how comfortable it is. The days are long gone when a sports sedan used to give your back a vigorous workout. It’s exceptionally comfortable. The ride is on the highway is genuinely luxurious. And even when you put it into Sport Plus mode, like I’m doing here, it’s noticeably firmer. But it’s never uncomfortable. I think Porche’s done a really nice job with the Taycan interior in creating a real sort of sense of occasion and giving a feel that this is a different kind of car with a different kind of purpose, but at the same time making it luxurious Porsche-like, and making sure it actually works. You’ve got good cup holders here. The screens, which control pretty much everything, all work very sensibly and are actually much easier to use than they are in the new 911, for example. And although they don’t get the centralized rev counter that you do in pretty much any Porsche they’ve ever built, you still get this kind of Porsche-esque display with a centrally mounted speedometer. It makes a little analog clock for the sport chrono in the middle here feel distinctly old school. You sit a little bit higher, a little bit more upright, in a Taycan than you would in 911, for example, largely because you’ve got a battery pack beneath your backside, whereas in the 911, you can actually sit on the floor of the car. But there’s one novelty feature I did want to show you. The head restraints have actually got a little switch here that can slide it out to meet you. I don’t think I have ever seen that before. It’s kind of nice though. The wheelbase on the Taycan is actually a few inches shorter than it is in the gas powered Panamera. And here, in the back, you can feel the difference. Having said that though, I’m 6′ 4″ and this driving position is set up for me. So it is possible, even if my knees feel kind of up around my chin. To achieve this, Porche’s actually done something quite clever. The battery pack sits underneath the floor of this car. But they’ve cut a hole in it where your feet go. So your feet are actually effectively sitting between the batteries. And that liberates a little bit more room. There is also just about enough headroom, even if my hairstyle kind of scrapes along the roofline. Could I go a fair distance sat in the back here? Yeah. I reckon I could. You can’t review an electric car without talking about range and charging. Official figures are yet to be released. But Porsche reckons the 4S should have a range of around 250 miles in normal driving. That’s a chunk less than the Tesla Model S, but should still be enough for most needs. And you can always charge it. Well, this is a Electrify America outlet here. This is not some press gimmick. We’re actually in the car park of Walmart. We’ve plugged it into a DC fast charger here on the right-hand side of the car. And now, at the peak charging rate, you can charge from 5% to 80% of the battery in just over 22 minutes. So that’s giving you a range somewhere north of 200 miles. It’s pretty impressive. And while it’s charging, you can check this little display inside the car. As you can see, 65% charge. That’s giving is 162 miles of range. And we currently are adding 4.4 miles per minute. In all honesty, you’ll probably only use this system part of the time. If you buy a Taycan and install a 240 volt charger in your garage at home, you should be able to keep it topped up overnight. While we’re charging, gives me a little moment to talk about the practicality of the Taycan. In the front here, you’ve got a frunk, which is based on that sort of space you’d find in a 911. There’s just about room in there for an overnight bag. Then if you follow me to the rear, it might look like a hatchback, but this is actually more of a conventional sedan. But, as you can see, there’s plenty of scope inside for our bags and our camera kit. It’s a proper practical car. And you can fold the rear seats. [MUSIC PLAYING] Crawling back into LA traffic which, let’s face it, is probably the reality of how most Taycans will be used on a daily basis, and it is very comfortable. That ride quality’s superb. It may be helped on this car by the standard 19-inch wheel rims. If you go up to 20 to 20 [INAUDIBLE], it tends to compromise the ride a little bit. It’s very comfortable. There’s a great view out. And, of course, it’s very quiet. It is, like so many Porches, a genuine everyday car. With prices starting at a little over 100 grand, plus the inevitable Porsche options, the Taycan is priced almost identically to the latest generation 911. And, as we’ve been crawling back into town, cameraman Charlie and I have been discussing which of these two we’d rather have. And, to be honest, I think we’ve both shocked ourselves by saying that we’d rather have a Taycan than a 911. Yes, Porche’s first electric car really is that good. [MUSIC PLAYING]

In this video, Alistair Weaver gets behind the wheel of the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S. During the drive, we explore the abilities of Porsche’s first-ever electric car, from its acceleration to how well it handles. While we were suitably impressed with the power and acceleration found in the Turbo S variant, the far less expensive 4S truly stands out. It delivers an excellent driving experience — one you’d expect from a Porsche — at a price that strongly competes against the Tesla Model S.

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FAQ

What are the best electric vehicles on the market?

Our top rated mainstream electric vehicle is the Kia Niro EV for its excellent range, drivability, and practicality. Buyers looking for something with more performance and premium features should take a look at the Tesla Model 3, our top-rated luxury EV. And if you’re concerned about range anxiety, we recommend the Chevrolet Volt, our top-rated plug-in hybrid, which combines limited all-electric driving with the security of a gas-powered engine.

Learn moreWhat is the top-rated electric vehicle for 2019?

2019 saw the introduction of the Kia Niro EV, which jumped immediately to the top of our EV rankings. A long-range electric car with a roomy and practical cabin, the Niro EV is a good choice for small families. For luxury buyers, the Audi e-tron launched in 2019, providing an all-electric alternative to a two-row luxury SUV. The e-tron tied the Tesla Model 3 for first place in our luxury EV rankings.

Learn moreWhat is the top-rated electric vehicle for 2018?

In 2018 the Tesla Model 3 had little competition in the EV space, offering plenty of range, performance, and technology. For more budget-minded EV buyers, the Chevrolet Bolt delivered zippy acceleration and multi-day range in a commuter friendly package, while the second-generation Nissan Leaf launched with a budget-friendly base model and longer-range Leaf Plus model.

Learn moreWhat are the best used electric vehicles to buy?

Used electric vehicles can be an excellent value because of steeper-than-average devaluation in the first few years. Look for “CPO” or certified pre-owned vehicles if you’re shopping for used EVs, and check how long the warranty on the vehicle’s battery pack has left (a high-cost item should maintenance be required). Unless you’ve researched the pros and cons, we recommend against buying an older or higher-mileage used EV, as aging battery technology creates unique challenges.

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