2020 Porsche Taycan Review: ICE-breaker

Leow Ju Len

But does it handle well?

Again, a bit of recalibration is in order here. The Taycan is a heavy machine, at roughly 2.2 tonnes, and there’s no pretending it isn’t. You can sling it from corner to corner but never really chuck it, and you’re sometimes aware of all that mass underneath when it squirms under you on occasion.

Yet you’ll always have lots of lovely steering feel to give you some sense of where the limits are, and anyway the car pulls serious G-forces around bends. 

If anything, the Taycan is on a different planet from other electric cars. The feedback from the steering is on another level from what other EVs offer, for one thing.

The brakes feel good and progressive, which is a tricky thing for an electric car since up to 90 percent of the retardation comes from energy recuperation instead of the actual discs and pads, and they have no trouble with the Taycan’s weight. Again, some other EVs really don’t like heavy braking.

As for the suspension, the active set-up in the test car actually copes heroically with all that heft. The Taycan sails smoothly and neatly along most roads, and even in the Sport Plus mode, which firms up the dampers and lowers the car by up to 22mm, it never hits a jarring note over bumps.

About the best thing you can say about the Taycan is that it feels like a Porsche. It feels carefully sorted in the steering, braking and suspension departments, and everything feels coherent under you.

Why shouldn’t I just buy a Panamera, then?

Good point. The Taycan might feel like a Porsche, but don’t get the impression that it doesn’t also feel, well, different.

When you drive at sedate speeds it’s soothingly quiet, and ultra relaxing because of it. The heavy weight seems to work for the car here, giving it a smooth and unruffled ride over most road surfaces.

There’s actually more sound from the drivetrain than in other EVs, and who knows how much is real and how much digital, but it’s actually quite nice to feel some sort of connection between your right foot, the car’s acceleration and a sense of effort from the motors.

If you want a bit more noise there’s an Electric Sport Sound generator — it makes a whirr like a movie’s sound effect, and the car has a different timbre for its different driving modes. I dismissed it as a gimmick to show off to friends but my wife thought it was cool, so it probably is. She may have found her Mr Right, but like all wives she is Mrs Always Right.

But really, the Taycan’s real appeal is how it can make the sudden, instant transformation from quiet, comfy cruiser to a missile on wheels.

Other cars have to drop a gear or two, rev up a bit, maybe get the turbocharger spooled up… it’s all starting to feel like by the time an internal combustion engine (ICE) car has hiked up its skirt, the Taycan would have leapt ahead and built up 20 fathoms’ lead. It feels futuristic in itself, but it also makes ICE feel obsolete.

Keep in mind though, that the Taycan’s still 110 percent a Porsche when it comes to the spec list: Our test car came with extra options – active body roll control, all-wheel steering, and torque vectoring* – which allow most Porsches to almost defy the laws of tarmac and rubber, and will also cost you a pretty penny.

*Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus – S$6,053
Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport – S$13,317
Rear-Axle Steering with Power Steering Plus – S$8,328

Ah, but tell us about the Achilles’ heel of all EVs!

If you mean range, the Taycan has quite a bit of it. We left the showroom with a full battery and 387km showing on the trip computer. That’s actually fairly close to the press release claim of “up to 414km”, and it’s enough for more than a typical week’s motoring in Singapore.

More to the point, the Taycan seems pretty accurate about how much it has left in the tank, er, bank. 124km after leaving Porsche Centre Singapore, the Taycan showed 266km of range left, so the drawdown seems remarkably consistent. This, after some *ahem* spirited acceleration testing here and there.

The big range is due to a big battery, 83.7kWh in the test car’s case. That takes a good nine hours to fill up from empty. Porsche does make 270kW fast chargers that can juice up the car faster than any Tesla (250kW) – cramming100km worth of energy into the Taycan in five minutes, but apparently the company isn’t allowed to sell them in Singapore yet. Go figure.

But again, a fresh mindset would help here — just because you fill up your petrol car and then stop for fuel when the tank is empty doesn’t mean you’ll do the same with your Taycan. What’ll likely happen is that you top it up when you can, snatching juice at home or the office, or at a public station. You don’t wait till your phone is at three percent before you plug it in, do you?

Thanks for the juice, Maryna Bay Sands

Incidentally, we snagged some free energy from a Porsche charging station at Marina Bay Sands. It wasn’t a lot, but it felt nice. When charging stations are everywhere, there is no way you will ever miss going to a petrol station.

It might not generate the sheer excitement the Taycan does, but the Audi E-Tron is great at the game of (elec)trons

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4 seat 4-door 4S (Performance Battery Plus) electric Porsche sedan taycan

About the Author

Leow Ju Len

CarBuyer Singapore's original originator, Ju-Len in person is exactly how he is on the written word and behind the wheel. Meaning that he darts all over the place and just when you thought he's lost the plot, you realise that it's just you not keeping up with his incredible rate of speed and thought.

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