On most Porsches, Sport Plus only works on the track. In the Taycan 4S, however, the no-holds-barred setting is perfect for winding country roads. It’s usable power, and that’s what this entry-level version is all about. It’s a glorious example of having your cake and eating it – a zero-CO2 car with thrilling performance, offering a bang-per-buck ratio that outshines many other Porsches, both hybrid and electric.
You’d probably want to upgrade from the skimpy 19-inch wheels fitted as standard, and you should definitely fork out £4613 to get the Performance Plus battery that ups maximum output by 40bhp. But that’s pretty much all you need; best avoid lingering in the accessories list, because you’ll find it all too easy to increase the price by £50k for no good reason.
The Taycan 4S costs around the same as a Panamera E-Hybrid 971. The Panamera’s petrol V6 means you’re exempt from anxiety about range and recharging, but the all-electric car is superior in terms of outright performance and emotional driving experience, as well as leaving your conscience a little cleaner.
We drove the 2020 Taycanover a 170-mile loop through Californian hills, where it revealed itself to be a truly talented tarmac-peeler and apex-whisperer. It coasts with a subdued duotone chant, plays a brief solo on the drums when shifting from first into second at around 60mph, fuses regenerative deceleration and hydraulic braking to a polyphonic hum that spirals up and down the bottom end of the decibel ladder. As soon as the vehicle speed increases beyond 100mph, the back-up choir intoning wind noise, road rumble and tyre resonance takes centre stage.
With all fast-forward systems fully armed, the Taycan 4S can sprint from zero to 62mph in 4.0 seconds, and 0-100mph takes only 12.9sec. Top speed is 155mph no matter which battery pack is feeding the two e-motors.
Range suffers when you drive hard, of course, and is good rather than great. But if you can live with that, or if you have access to the most powerful charger – which can get it 80 per cent full in about 20 minutes – then this is an astonishingly good Porsche.
You don’t need the Taycan Turbo S. The 4S is not that much slower, and it’s the smarter buy, by about 50 grand
★ ★ ★ ★★
PLUS + The 4S has less grunt than the Turbo S, but you can access all of it all the time
MINUS - Drive it hard and the range can easily plummet to 175 miles
THE FIRST HOUR
Costs a lot less than a Turbo S – so what do I miss out on?
Doesn’t feel lacking so far. I’m meant to be handing over to my co-driver in 39 miles. He’ll be lucky
Switch off recuperative braking altogether – screw that one-pedal feel!
Switch off the sound generator, too
‘Er, Georg, we should have changed drivers 50 miles ago.’ ‘Really? Sorry, I got a bit carried away…’ Fast, responsive, agile, exciting… and it happens to run on electricity.
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