Monday, April 19, 2021
Reviews 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Review: The Porsche Of Electric Vehicles

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Review: The Porsche Of Electric Vehicles

The Porsche Taycan drives with substance, precision, and purpose. It is the next chapter of the automobile

  • Pricing for the Taycan 4S starts at $119,400 in Canada, $103,800 in the US.

  • The Taycan is far more than an incredible electric car.

All automakers have standards to live up to. Be it Nissan, Lexus, or Rolls Royce, all have established reputations which in turn become expectations for customers. It could be easily argued that Porsche has one of the most difficult reputations to live up to what with 30,000+ racing podiums, and builder of some of the most desirable legacy sports cars ever. It was with this in the background that Porsche designed and built the Taycan.

Porsche were humble and excited when they introduced the Mission E concept. I was at the unveiling that took place at the Porsche Museum and while chatting with representatives, I noted that they seemed genuinely concerned about potentially missing the mark – as in alienating their customer- and fanbase. Perhaps this was purposefully done to get media and fans alike to lower their expectations.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

It had to be good

Despite Porsche’s efforts, my hopes for the Taycan were unreasonable and as nearly always, they were crushed. The sense of superior engineering, know-how, and familiarity are somehow all rolled into the Taycan and make it feel like a normal Porsche. If there is such a thing.

Unlike nearly all Taycan reviews, I did drive a Turbo or Turbo S. In my opinion, I was given the opportunity to test the “people’s” Taycan, the 4S. I say “people’s” because, at $119,400 (just noticed a price increase to $120,500…), this EV competes with all large luxury sedans such as the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class as well as the Tesla Model S. all things being equal, these four cars are relatively common.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Sophisticatedly simple

And as a competitor, the Taycan essentially has no competition even in the Tesla Model S. Physically-speaking, the car is deceptively simple but incredibly complex. My Volcano Grey tester quite nearly looked subdued, plain almost, with the standard 19-inch Taycan S Aero wheels. But, despite this setup, the car remains extremely special.

The same goes for the cabin, with an exception or two. The driver’s perspective from behind the wheel is incredible – it feels as though I am sitting in any other Porsche car. Seeing the front haunches from the driving position, which is low and in command, furthers the car’s sense of superior control. It also helps that the seats are fantastically supportive and comfortable on a long road trip.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Although the Porsche Advanced cockpit’s curved display is spectacular and easy to consult, I find most of the car’s dashboard to be somewhat plain. The 10.9-inch horizontal display fits its purpose but the extreme use of glossy and piano-black surfaces becomes a little excessive. Also, the lower 8.4-inch screen, functional and all, seems like an after-thought the way it sits and is framed in the console.

Charging and range

My gripes with the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S essentially end here. When I say road trip, I mean that I completed a 650-km round-trip in one day and obviously lived to tell about it. I wanted the full Porsche experience complete with their deal that includes unlimited free 30-minute fast charges with Electrify Canada. The elements and the network had slightly different plans for me.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

With a 98% charge and an indicated 334 km range, I set off. My plan involved a first stop about 225 km into the trip to top-up on a 350-kW charger before arriving at my destination. As a blizzard set in on the road, the to-trip wasn’t going to go as planned. Unfortunately, the 350-kW station and the Taycan could not connect for more than a few minutes, so we settled on a 150-kW charger. With limited time left, I unplugged with a 60% charge and headed to my final destination.

On the return trip, the Taycan and the network would once more not agree when it came to 350-kW chargers. We thus stopped twice for quick 150-kW boosts which the Taycan took in stride. At one point, peak charging reached 148 kW. The Taycan can handle up to 270 kW which will deliver an 80% charge in only 22.5 minutes. On a 50-kW charger, the car will go from 5%-80% in just over 90 minutes. I put in one 20-minute 150-kW charge plus a second 40-minute 150-kW charge after a 75-minute drive. And I made it home but I cannot confirm the Taycan’s real-world range.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Its EPA-estimated range is 203 miles which works out to 327 km with the 93.4 kWh battery. Within reason, I’m convinced that the Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus can will cover 350 km on a single charge.

4S power

The 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S is powered by a pair of permanent magnet synchronous motors that combined, generate 482 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque (with the Performance Battery Plus). The overboost function with launch control enables 562 horsepower to come to life and is responsible for the 0-100km/h sprint time of 4 seconds. Though impressive, I found the drivetrain’s response in passing maneuvers to be especially captivating. The time required to go from 80km/h to 120km/h is barely more than half the time it took to read this sentence.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

While the power is addictive, it’s the sense of unwavering control that truly permeates the driving experience. So surefooted is the chassis that, even as snow piled up on the highway, I scarcely felt the need to slow down. The communication between the front wheels and the driver, albeit partially simulated, is so clear that confidence in the car builds within the driver.

On dry pavement, the Taycan’s included adaptive air suspension both isolates the occupants and creates a link to the road. Steering response to inputs is on psychic levels where even when I thought I was feeding in too much, the Taycan made it all work. The Taycan, overall, has become one of the best driving experiences I’ve ever had.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Superior Porsche

Porsche engineers, designers, decision-makers, and the lot knew exactly what they were building when they revealed the Mission E and subsequently, the Taycan (in Niagara and other places in the world). The only car the Taycan will be challenged by is, not the Tesla Model S Performance Cheetah stance, the Cross Turismo.

Yes, there are EVs with longer ranges but like all ICE cars, some drive better, some are more efficient, others yet are capable of enduring severe repeated abuse and never ever need a moment to cool down…

This is the Porsche of EVs.

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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