The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S is vicious. It’s easy to shoehorn bombastic or hyperbolic adjectives into car reviews, especially with today’s crop of carbon-fiber-and-metal bolts of lightning. And yet, after sitting on an arrow-straight country road in Denmark on the outskirts of Copenhagen and releasing the brake pedal while mashing the accelerator to activate the launch control, the resulting take-off can be described by no other term but: Vicious.
The Taycan Turbo S’s full shot of 750 horsepower and 775 pound-ft of torque is enough to make the 2.5-ton sedan shudder through a scooch of wheel spin for a hair of a second. Once the wheels bite, you’re propelled forth with enough g-force to make you dizzy as your senses try to recalibrate. You become acutely aware of internal organs smashed backward, a disconcerting sensation that evokes unease. Your heartbeat spikes (confirmed by this author’s Apple Watch) and you realize that you haven’t breathed once in the 2.6 seconds — Porsche’s own measure, and a conservative one at best — that it’s taken to blow by 60 miles an hour.
When it’s over — when you’ve railed the stoppers in hope of abating the queasiness flooding your body — several beats go by while your central nervous system restores equilibrium. Calm returns and you’re left with one thought reverberating through your head: “Let’s do it again.”
The Good: Porsche engineers cared little about making an electric vehicle that would set records for efficiency while allaying range anxiety. If you want to save the world, go buy a Chevy Bolt. If you want pure, exhilarating performance, buy a Taycan.
What Porsche has created is a driver-focused road rocket that happens to use an electric drivetrain. And it’s a very solid drivetrain: A permanently excited synchronous motor perches atop each axle, with a slightly larger motor in the rear. A two-speed transmission is fitted to the latter to help provide rapid acceleration, with the palpable shift happening around 50 miles an hour. Power comes from an 800-volt system anchored by a 93.4 kWh battery pack that’s good for a reported 270 miles in the European driving cycle. (When the EPA weighs in, expect that to drop down to 220 miles or less for American users.)
Atop the revolutionary drive train, a world-class cabin awaits, well-appointed with four (!) futuristic touchscreens and comfortable seating for four adults (though even with the footwells dug out of the battery pack in the rear, adults over 6’2” may feel cramped on longer hauls).
Who It’s For: Fans of Stuttgart’s finest machines, first and foremost. Taycan buyers will likely have another Porsche residing in the garage. They’re used to the wonderfully bright, responsive driving dynamics a Porsche imparts, and expect the Taycan to uphold those high ideals. (It does. They won’t be disappointed.) Eco-crusaders may realize a smaller fraction of the owner pool, but this isn’t for folks who like traditional EV driving.