2021 Porsche Taycan Performance Battery Plus review & testdrive

The Taycan’s rear-wheel-drive variant is new for this model year, and the one we drove came with the biggest battery available. It also had a fair share of options added, and it looked as close to the Mission E concept as possible. And yes, those 21-inch wheels you see in the photo gallery are called Mission E Design wheels, and they cost 4.410 euros ($5,148) a set.

If you think about it, this Taycan is as close as it could be to the Porsche philosophy. It only drives its rear wheels, it has a rear-mounted motor, and it comes with the most advanced drive technology available. The biggest difference? It comes with an all-electric drivetrain instead of the traditional flat-six or flat-four engines.

But you already know about these new versions of the Taycan, let us get to the driving part. We preferred a route that mixed open roads and small cities. Since this vehicle has a large battery, it can drive an estimated 484 km (300 miles) between charges, and its average energy consumption is 21.5 kWh/100 km in the WTLP test cycle.

The Taycan feels like a Porsche inside and out. If you have never had the chance to touch a Porsche, not to mention driving one, let us describe. The cockpit is fitted with premium materials, and all the controls are placed in a way that makes them easy to use and understand.

The steering wheel is perfectly sized, and it still comes with buttons, while the center console has switched to touchscreens for all the controls except for the hazard lights button. The Taycan’s seats are comfortable, and they offer an adequate amount of side support even if you are a bit overweight.

The gear selector is placed on the dash, and just by selecting D for Drive you are ready to go. If you want to turn on the enhanced regenerative braking system, you have a dedicated button on the steering wheel.

This all results in a Porsche that is easy to get going. It is almost too easy to drive, but do not be fooled by this, as the Taycan packs a punch. Yes, it does have numerous driver assistance systems, but it is far from being ‘hoon-proof.’ In other words, just because it has wide tires on its driven axle does not mean that it cannot be spun or crashed.

We do not want to scare anyone here, but you should always address a vehicle with this much power with respect. Things can go wrong, especially in open traffic, and even the best racecar drivers in the world get it wrong every once in a while. So, be careful and drive with caution and common sense.

The Taycan has what appears to be perfectly weighted steering. You do not need too much effort to steer, yet it still manages to transmit relevant information to the driver. The suspension is configured for a grand tourer, which means comfort at high speeds, with the possibility of switching the shock absorbers into sport mode or doing that for the entire car.

The latter choice brings an even sharper response of the go-faster pedal, along with an increase in stiffness from the steering and suspension. Even with everything in the sport mode, the Taycan does not feel insanely stiff. It is still comfortable, so no need to visit a chiropractor after each long drive.

The Taycan is a true grand tourer when comfort at speed is concerned. Even with large wheels, mind you. Naturally, this was observed after avoiding potholes to preserve both the wheels and the integrity of the vehicle.

Porsche’s Taycan comes with two gears for its transmission, and these two gears happen to be fitted to the rear motor. What does that mean for driving? Well, sometimes when you slow down, you will sense a small kick in the back.

It appears that the respective kick is the gearbox going from second to first gear again. The all-wheel-drive version of the Taycan conceals this kick with the front motor, but there is no front motor to hide this in the rear-wheel-drive model.

Despite this subtle kick, the Taycan does not feel unsettled when this happens. The car is very stable during braking, as it is when you are hammering the accelerator. The entire feeling is that the car moves as if it were on rails, but it is wise not to try to push it beyond reasonable limits.

Porsche has fitted the Taycan with an artificial engine sound, which can be deactivated if you prefer absolute silence. The artificial sound is helpful if you are accustomed to combustion-engined vehicles, and you feel like you are missing the sound part of the equation.

The Taycan proves to be quick from just about any speed you accelerate from. Instead of having to downshift or anything, it just goes. Contrary to widespread belief on the Internet, the range will not decrease as soon as you step on the accelerator. Instead, it will go down reasonably, instead of suddenly dropping a few miles each second.

We started our drive with an estimated range of 315 km (195 miles), and a battery charged at 80 percent. We first drove 164 km (101 miles) and we were left with a 40 percent change, so we decided to plug the Taycan into a 50 kW DC charger to increase our range for the day.

The charge took the battery from 40 to 60 percent in 24 minutes with 19.11 kWh of energy. An extra 87 kilometers (54 miles) later, we were left with a 38 percent charge, which was enough for the car to drive another 148 kilometers (91 miles) until empty.

After a 251 km (115 miles) drive with an average speed of 58 kph (36 mph), the Taycan had an energy consumption of 21 kWh/100 km (21 kWh/62 miles) according to its onboard computer.

Considering the figures above, it means that we could have driven 400 km (248 miles) with a full battery, no charging, and no hypermiling. There is a specific mode for that, called Range. It limits the top speed to 110 kph (68 mph), calms down the acceleration respone, and reduces energy consumption to maximize range. We only turned it on to see how it changed the car, but did not have to use it to get to our destination.

We are impressed to see that the Taycan managed to get a good energy efficiency value, even though we enjoyed its acceleration abilities throughout the day (within legal limits, of course). Mind you, the value we obtained was lower than the official WTLP cycle, which means that the Taycan can be efficient as well.

Porsche makes more powerful versions of the Taycan, but even the most powerful one still has a battery sized like the version we drove for this story. This version is more than what any regular person might need on a day-to-day basis when performance is concerned.

On the “what it is like to live with” front, the Taycan is roomier than you might expect, and you feel pampered with everything going on onboard. We will have a more detailed test drive with another Taycan coming soon.

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