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      01-22-2020, 12:52 AM   #1
joshuastein55
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My Porsche Taycan Turbo Review: Mixed Opinions

*This is a very long post, as I go very in-depth about the new Porsche Taycan, get ready to read!*

So, I know I post about test drives on here a lot, but I love to do them and get experience behind different and cool new cars, and this one is definitely very cool. The Porsche Taycan, so I thought I have to post about it.

First thing you should know, Porsche dealers do not want a bunch of people test driving this vehicle. The only way I was able to test drive it was through my father-in-law, who has been a Porsche customer of over 30 years, owning different 911’s, Boxsters, and a Macan. Porsche dealers are more comfortable with preferred Porsche owners test driving their cars, and not putting too many miles on them. Personally while I didn’t have much intention on buying one, I have thought about maybe in the future, especially when the “base” model comes out, getting one, so I was able to get a test drive.

As-Tested Equipment/Price
Options on this specific vehicle were: Black Exterior Window Trim, Porsche Electric Sport Sound, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), Rear Axle Steering including Power Steering Plus, Sports Chrono Package, Fixed Glass Panoramic Roof, Lane Change Assist (Blind-Spot Warning), Steering Wheel Heating. Shockingly the salesmen said that this wasn’t a very highly spec’d vehicle, he even said it was actually somewhat basic outside of receiving PDCC and Rear Axle Steering. The worst part was that he mentioned this before I had made it to the price. An eye-watering $163,520 (more on that later).

Exterior
This car is gorgeous, well… not my particular vehicle. I will be honest, I love the styling, but this car looks much better when it's not in white. I know its the press color, but it didn’t help that it wasn’t metallic, but in Genetian Blue or Mamba Green this vehicle is stunning, in white, it just shows off the un-tinted windows and plastic cladding – which I think this vehicle has a bit too much of, I would prefer it to be fully painted. Anyways, the curves are gorgeous, the profile is very obviously a Porsche and this vehicle has presence. Many people were looking at me while driving this car on the streets. My favorite design feature, and this is shared with other Porsches, is the light bar on the rear, I think it really looks good. The handles however are a bit awkward. They are electronic and can be confused at times, requiring positioning the key near the vehicle if they don’t pop out. I believe current 992 911 owners have reported similar issues.

Interior
So, the interior is also very important, as this is Porsche’s way of shaming Tesla in quality, and I will say the interior is a nice place to be. Seats are supportive and bolstered well, while still being comfortable, and the driving position is spot on Porsche, low and perfectly in the center. Design wise, everything flows nicely, although there is too much piano black plastic on the passenger side next to the touchscreen. Fit and finish is typical Porsche tight, and feels very secure. Leather is nicely placed on the door panels and waterfall like center stack, although there is some noticeable cheap bits of plastic on the center console tunnel. The interior of the car was all black, which I personally would avoid as it is the most basic looking and for the price of the car I would want it to be more bright and lively. I recommend either the red or beige interiors personally to brighten things up.

In-Car Technology
This is a bit of a mix bag. On the positive side, I love the gauge cluster. The curved display is of great quality and has a good amount of customization. Similar to other Porsche's the gauges have distinct rings, in which information can be customized for the driver. I didn’t have the most seat time outside of the drive to explore every single bit of tech, but the right most gauge displays different aspects of the car whether it be the AWD system, navigation, range and other stats, etc. Also like Audi’s virtual cockpit, the navigation maps can take up the majority of the gauge cluster and looks very nice. I will say, because there is no hood over the gauges, there is some glare with sunlight, especially since there is a glass moonroof, which while tinted, doesn’t completely shelter the car form the sun. To the right and left of the gauges, but still on the curved display are some shortcuts for a favorite button, suspension modes, headlights, and other options. For drive modes, I have always loved how Porsche uses a rotary dial connected to the steering wheel. Regarding the center stack, I personally don’t like the interface’s design visually, although Porsche does put all of the right stuff there, including many shortcuts, although there is a lot of shortcuts, a bit too cluttered in my opinion. Like I said I didn’t have the most time to check out the car outside of the drive, so I won’t go too in depth for the infotainment. The lower screen is very annoying. Similar to Audi’s new MMI, this screen (although not the top one) has haptic feedback but requires a firmer press. I dislike touchscreens when it comes to HVAC controls, and this is still an issue in the Taycan. The screen is also susceptible to glare due to its angle. Bottom line, touch screens will never replace hard touch controls which can easily be used with muscle memory in my opinion. This car didn’t have the optional passenger screen, but in my opinion it seems like a useless option when the screen isn’t far away from the passenger in general, and just looks a bit ridiculous with two screens showing similar info next to each other. The car also apparently is the first to get Apple Music built into it, although I say what is the point since there’s CarPlay and also, I use Spotify so I didn’t try it out. Annoyingly, like the Panamera, the vents are controlled through the touchscreen. This is, in my opinion, a stupid feature, just put a tab at the end of the vent like a normal car, no need to make the AC vents fancy at the loss of ease to use.

Powertrain (Battery & EV Aspects)
For the Taycan there are actually two different horsepower ratings. In overboost/launch control, there is 670 horsepower and 616 normally. Weirdly the brochure only lists torque for overboost/launch control and that is 626 lb-ft of torque. With electric cars of course, the torque comes on instantly, so even a smaller torque figure can feel more exciting than one would think due to the instant power. The EPA rates the Turbo at a dismal 201 miles of range (ouch!). While the car didn’t have many miles, it was charged up to 100% with the display saying optimal range was 203 miles. Remember, this is in “optimal” conditions and driving. Another thing to remember is most electric vehicles recommend to only charge anywhere from 60-80% for daily use, so, I’ll let you do the math on optimal range there. The Turbo has a hefty curb weight of 5,132lbs which is in the same weight range of pick up trucks like the F-150. Porsche says in the brochure with launch control the Turbo gets to 60mph in 3 seconds flat and 3.2 seconds on another page weirdly. Whatever number it really is, it feels fast and will surely beat any other car (other than maybe a Model S) on a drag strip. I didn’t time the car, but I’m sure the magazines eventually will test this and confirm the numbers. I’m not going to go too in depth into charging rates/speed because I didn’t charge the vehicle at all, and don't own an electric vehicle, but I will go into depth on my opinion regarding charging infrastructure later. There is also a two-speed transmission, used to continue high power acceleration (likely for the Autobahn) and can surprisingly be felt when driving.

Driving Impressions
So, this is what the Porsche highlights the Taycan on, the driving experience. And here’s what I have to say. The Taycan is good, but not great when it comes to how it drives. First let’s talk about the power. Power is of course, instant, in the blink of an eye you are already breaking the limit, your head has banged against the seat, and your range is already dropping! This is the one addicting element to electric cars, and honestly what they define themselves on. Speed is to electric cars, as exhausts are to gas powered sports cars in a sense. Now everyone knows electric cars can be fast, so how about the handling? Grip is strong, and despite the great power, the AWD system does a good job at managing power and not losing the car’s control, at least when going in a straight line that is. Of course without the auditory feedback of an engine you can get lost in how fast you are going.

The AWD system lets a fair amount of play with the rear end, allowing it to kick out, although I will say due to the incredible amounts of power this vehicle has going around a corner or performing a slide to those like myself who are inexperienced with EV’s, can be somewhat different. With no engine, means no gears, no visible or audible RPM’s, just speed. And because of that, when going around a corner, you are more focused on the speed of a car. It’s not that I’m less confident when going around a corner, but really that I have to change my state of mind and process of what I’m used to. For example, one of the corners I went around in the drive, I would typically shift into third in my M2 and then keep it in the powerband between 3k-6k rpm. It’s a weird feeling because in a sense, it’s actually less engaging in the Taycan. No shifting, or paying attention to the RPM, just maintaining speed without putting in too much power to the gas pedal – well, I guess it’s not a gas pedal really. It’s something I'm not really use to. While I say all this, the Taycan can still handle corners well, and as mentioned earlier the grip is very good, while still letting a bit of play, just pay attention when letting the rear hang out as while I haven’t tested this, I can easily see people pushing this car hard enough to lose control due to the amount of power this has. I can’t even imagine how much control this car would require with traction fully off!

Regarding the steering, it is not my favorite. Porsche I typically think does pretty good EPS systems, and the recent Boxster/Cayman comes to mind, reigning pretty high on my list of best electric steering, up there with Alfa, however the steering here is numb. Its accurate, and turn in is pretty decent and nicely weighted, although the Power Steering Plus results in variation of weight depending on speed, but still, its devoid of feel, which is a bit disappointing coming from a Porsche, a very expensive one at that. I would be interested in testing a model without the “Power Steering Plus” although that does require deleting the rear-wheel steering. Speaking of rear-wheel steering, it definitely was noticeable in a good way, in that the turning radius was very tight despite the mid-size proportions, but again I haven’t driven one without the option.

Suspension wise, the car feels very planted and never unsettled. It soaks up bumps nicely, without being overly floaty or stiff in its ride, and the planted feeling can likely be attributed to the large weight of the car. Regarding the weight, there are pro’s and con’s to it. A pro is that like most EV’s, the weight is all low in the chassis, helping keep the planted feel and also reduce body roll, to which there isn't much in the Taycan. However the one con, and this is a big one, is that it is noticeable most times. This car, like I said earlier, weighs as much as an F-150, around 5100lbs, and probably more depending on options. Its heavier than a Tesla Model S, and despite the rear wheel steering and all the technology, there is no avoiding it. Because of this, the car feels less agile than it could be. When braking or cornering the mass of the car is most noticeable, in stop and go daily driving, it isn’t as bad. Of its gas-powered competitors, which I would likely say are that of the M5, E63S or even its Panamera brother, each of those vehicles weigh anywhere from 500 to 1000lbs lighter, pretty significant amounts.

The brakes are also a mixed bag. One thing that EV owners love is one pedal driving. In the Taycan that is possible, but with an asterisk. When normally breaking the brakes are actually using regenerative energy first. This results in an awkward feeling brake pedal with a lack of feel, almost a little soft/"spongy", somewhat out of place in a Porsche. In order to get better brake feel (although not perfect) this requires turning off regen, which may be actually not the best option, as regen is likely to help with range (of which this car lacks). Stopping power overall could be stronger, as it almost felt a bit weak in some corners, having to apply more pressure than I anticipated, although that again could be attributed to the weight. I recommend maybe testing the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) which my car didn't have. To achieve one pedal driving to its fullest, the Taycan uses a front camera, similar to that of active cruise control, and uses regenerative braking to keep a gap between the vehicle in front. I didn’t try this feature, as I didn’t really have any time to try it, and that I didn't really know it existed, as I was more focused on the handling, and also I wasn’t sure that my vehicle even had it, as it was lacking surround view cameras as well as active cruise control of any sort (there are two separate optional cruise controls), which I thought the system would need to use the regen, but I am not too sure.

The transmission in the Taycan, like noted earlier, is a two-speed unit and weirdly can be felt. Its not incredibly harsh, but its not incredibly smooth either like a ZF unit. I’m not sure if the intent was for the driver to feel it engaging second gear, but it can definitely be felt. I’m not really sure how to describe it, but it only occurs in Sport or Sport Plus mode and mostly when launching or travelling into higher speeds. Another option is Porsche Electric Sport Sound. This I feel is a love it or hate it option. Honestly, I’m not even sure how I feel about it. In one way, I like that Porsche is trying to give electric cars a sound, but its also incredibly fake, even worse of the active sound in the M5 (sorry M5 owners!). Its very futuristic sounding I guess I could say, but it doesn’t completely match what the car is doing, as the sound is almost trying to mimic that of a shift, of which the car can only do once. Its only $500, which is likely one of the cheaper Porsche options! So I wouldn’t say it’s the most regrettable choice, its definitely a subjective matter though, some will love it, others will hate it, and some like me will be both glad and perplexed by it.

Range/Charging Infraturcture
So, I’m sure we all know the Taycan’s biggest weakness is range. In my 15-mile drive, the car started with 203 miles of range at a full charge. I ended with 169 miles. That is a drop of 34-miles, more than double the miles of the trip. I was driving very spiritedly, and in sport and normal mode, but did also spend some time on the highway and stop and go traffic where I didn't exploit the car too much, so I’m not sure how to really analyze this drop in range, and I do not in any way understand the watt-per-hours measurements and all that science stuff so in no way will I try to explain or use it, so I didn’t really look at that but just the range.

Here’s my opinion on the range, some may say, "Porsche owners won't care about range" but it is still a very important aspect, in fact probably one of the most important aspects of any EV's. Even if you do not take trips often, the peace of mind of having a long range vehicle soothes any ideas of one. Its like AWD. Most of the time a Rav4 will likely be operating on its front wheels and rarely use the rear for traction. The owner doesn't know this, but the idea of having AWD makes them feel better. With EV's range can be like that. In my garage we have an M2 and a CLS. The CLS is our car we take on trips, and we typically will either go to places like Pennsylvania, Boston, or South Carolina at least a few times a year. I do not believe the Taycan would be a sufficient replacement, as we only use the CLS for trips, we don’t drive the M2 for trips as its less relaxing, less efficient, and can’t carry all our stuff and dogs. So if I were to get a Taycan, it’d be replacing the CLS, and I don’t think it could handle trips, and nor do I have the trust in it. Its not only the range, its also the infrastructure.

Here’s an example. With a Tesla, I have access to superchargers. The closest Tesla equivalent of a Taycan, is the Model S Performance, which has a range of 350 miles, and the long range has a range of 373 miles, both being the highest in the automotive industry. That is almost double that of the Taycan. Add to the fact that superchargers are incredibly quick and most importantly, are part of the Tesla eco-system, meaning all I have to do to go to South Carolina is put in the address to the Tesla’s navigation, and it will plan out all of my stops, and even change them accordingly to how I drive, and it will give you current status at to the charging station and how many stalls are available, as well as your projected range once arriving to each destination all inside the car with the tap of the button, and payment is handled through Tesla (free on some models too). Also, Tesla’s have YouTube, Netflix, and other entertainment choices which are very helpful in making the time pass and other handy features like Dog Mode, Sentry Mode, and often has software updates which only improve the car, making your old car still feel new.

Now, I am not too educated on the Taycan’s navigation system, but I know the range will cause more stops and because the chargers are not made by Porsche, some may not show up in the nav system entirely, and some may require specific apps and or cards. I know some chargers pay by card, others use apps, some require accounts, the point is, its a lot bigger of a deal and a lot more of a thought process in taking a trip in the Taycan or any non-Tesla vehicle. Its almost like Tesla is Apple and Porsche and everyone else is Android, except we're in the earlier days of the two. Here’s the other problem, Electrify America, VW’s solution to Dieselgate, is not going very well. While chargers are being added around the country, the reliability of these chargers is questionable. Many EV owners have noted a few particular problems that are not just to their specific vehicle, and have been going on for some time, despite Electrify America promising a fix. One main issue is the charging cords are getting stuck inside the vehicle. Another is the location of the charger and parking spot make it harder to reach for some vehicles, as each have their charging port in different locations. Another is many chargers don’t actually work to their fullest potential, or at all. Simply said, Electrify America is stumbling, and the infrastructure for non-Tesla vehicles is simply not there yet in my opinion.

Space/Visibility
While this car is the size of a mid-size sedan, such as a 5-series or E-Class, it is definitely smaller inside. In my preferred seating position (I’m 5’11 and like to sit comfortably reclined) the rear seat space can be tight, and the headroom is definitely lacking. While this is the size of a 5-series, think of a 3-series when it comes to interior space. The rear doors also are small, making it difficult to get into the rear, similar to my CLS. While I don’t mind this, some buyers may as it isn't as practical as it may seem. Visibility is good out the front, and most of the side, but the rear has a small windshield and weirdly the back up camera is angled from a very low height resulting in an almost warped image, not really as good as BMW, Mercedes or Audi's systems. The cargo space is small, at 13 cubic ft which I think is smaller than a 3-series? and a 2 cubic ft frunk. When compared to a Model S, the Tesla trumps it in usability and space with both the frunk and rear hatch, the Model 3 is more comparable in cargo space.

Price
And this is probably my biggest critique of the Porsche, the price is simply way too much. Yes, this can be said about all Porsche’s but with the Taycan it’s a little harder to excuse. Like my salesmen said, my car was shockingly not equipped with many options by Porsche standards. Some options that were not given were, Active Cruise Control, Porsche InnoDrive (which is an extension of ACC adding more autonomy), a Surround View Camera, Ventilated Seats, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes, etc., all of which I know many luxury buyers want, including myself. The fact is, once equipped to my preferred level, this isn’t a $160k car, but a $175-185k car, and this isn’t even the top trim. Sure you can get the 4S, but that just means you will option in more equipment, as less is standard as you get further down the food chain, and in the end you may regret losing the power of the Turbo and Turbo S. I just don’t think I could pay anywhere from $160-180k for the Taycan, and the biggest reason is the Model S’s existence.

Yes, the Model S’ interior will not have materials as rich as the Taycan, and quality may not be as tight as Porsche, but I can say, the tech of the Tesla is superior and very easy to use, the range is fantastic on both the Model S and 3, the materials are still very soft and plush (while being vegan) and the seats are still supportive and very comfortable. The Taycan still does beat the Model S in handling, but the Model S is no slouch, with decent handling and blistering speed, and the Model 3 is quite impressive due to its smaller size and better handling, so those handling differences may not be enough. Not to mention, the Model 3 likely offers similar interior space, and could possibly even be compared, greater expanding the price difference.

In the end, I think the Taycan has too many compromises for what it is. It handles good, but not great, especially in critical areas such as steering, brakes, and weight management, typically areas in which Porsche shines. The tech while including a multitude of features, is somewhat clumsy in operation, and lacks the Tesla’s or even BMW’s ease of use. The space is lacking for that of a mid-size vehicle in both the interior and cargo space, and every single thing you could possibly want is an option, meaning dealers will never have your perfect car, and ordering may become necessary, even things such as blind spot monitoring are an option, a feature many cars under $30k have standard. The Taycan sure does look the business though, I will say that, and the interior is nice, but is it $150k-180k nice? I would argue a Panamera offers a better interior for similar pricing.

So, let’s talk about its rivals, both gas and electric. In the electric corner, its main competitor is the Model S, and some can even bring the Model 3 in for comparison, both of which succeed in range, tech and infrastructure but don't succeed in design (only Model 3 doesn't succeed in design, Model S looks good) or quality. On the gas side, its own competition is in the showroom, with the Panamera, which also offers a sporting drive but luxurious interior with great styling (and also the Sport Turismo wagon), but also high pricing, and clumsy tech and a bit of a loss of a handling edge for a Porsche. From other brands, the Mercedes-AMG E63S, AMG GT 4-Door, Audi RS6 and RS7 and BMW M5 or M8 Gran Coupe could be compared as they share similar specs, but add all of the positives, and negatives, of a gas powered car. These are all worthy competitors, all of which are likely to be cheaper (except maybe the GT-4 Door and Panamera).

In the end, the Taycan is a somewhat compelling package, that is somewhat ruined by its lack of value and compromises made, and its excellent EV competition. If it were my money, I’m not sure I’d spend it at Porsche. That being said, I am interested to see what Porsche will bring to the Taycan line in the future, with a “base” model being planned along side a Sports Turismo Wagon. The future is definitely electric, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

If you made it this far and read everything, thanks! Your eyes can now take a break!

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Last edited by joshuastein55; 01-22-2020 at 01:10 AM..