2021 Porsche Taycan

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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor
January 15, 2021

Buying tip

It’s entirely possible to approach Turbo S pricing territory by loading up a 4S or Turbo. As is the case with other Porsches, we’d recommend going lean or going all-in.

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The 2021 Porsche Taycan is no Tesla-fighter, but it’s the benchmark for fully electric performance.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Porsche Taycan? What does it compare to?

The Porsche Taycan is the performance-car brand’s first four-door sedan and first fully electric car. It’s one of the top-performing regular-production fully electric cars in the world, with a 0-60 mph time of less than three seconds.

Is the 2021 Porsche Taycan a good car?

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Yes, and it speaks well to the future of the Porsche brand. The 2021 Porsche Taycan pairs pure performance and a beautiful design statement, and it’s one of the quickest cars we’ve ever driven. With a strong set of tech features, it earns a strong 8.8 out of 10 on our overall scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Porsche Taycan?

The 2021 Porsche Taycan adds a system called Function on Demand—referring to the car’s capability to offer extra-cost feature upgrades over the air. Also for ‘21, a new function adapts the Taycan’s adaptive cruise control speed to conditions ahead, considering speed limits and conditions that might warrant a yield or stop; the navigation system helps maximize range when a destination is set; and a SmartLift function remembers where you needed more ground clearance from the adaptive air suspension. The Taycan also now has Plug & Charge capability, which allows the owner to have a seamless billing experience across charging hardware and charging networks—once it’s all in place—by merely plugging in. 

The Taycan will also later in the 2021 model year arrive with the smaller 79.2-kilowatt-hour Performance Battery as standard. 

How much does the 2021 Porsche Taycan cost?

The 2021 Porsche Taycan 4S starts at $105,150, while the Taycan Turbo starts at $152,250 and the Taycan Turbo S starts at $186,350—each including a $1,350 destination fee. Porsche has announced that the base Performance Battery will join the lineup for 2021 but it hasn’t priced that more affordable model yet. 

Until then, regardless of which version you choose, the Taycan uses two electric motors and a 93.4-kwh lithium-ion battery for propulsion in a breathtaking way. The 4S makes 482 horsepower from its front and rear motors. The Turbo and Turbo S make 616 hp in nearly every circumstance, but the Turbo S can deliver 750 hp and more than 774 pound-feet of torque to propel it to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds (or less). The Turbo can make that same dash in 3.0 seconds. 

Porsche's Taycan uses a two-speed transmission at the rear to toggle between brutal launch forces and brutal efficiency. 

The Taycan is the size of a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and it tips the scales at more than 5,100 pounds. The Taycan doesn’t hide its weight; rather it flaunts physics at every opportunity, with wondrous coordination of the air suspension, motor control, and chassis systems. 

Four average-build adults will fit inside, though rear seats are dependent on how tall those in front are, and entry and exit to the rear seats may involve some contortion. Trunk space is average to unimpressive, at 12 cubic feet, although the front trunk leaves enough space for a backpack or a couple of handbags. 

From inside, once you’re over the shock and awe of the performance on tap, the Taycan feels like a true luxury car, and it shamelessly ramps up the screen space and the cabin trims to suit. Up to five screens are available in the Taycan, with three included for the driver, a fourth for back-seat climate control, and a fifth for the passenger, your potential DJ.  

All Taycans rate for about 200 miles of electric range, although from what we’ve seen that number is quite significantly underrated in the 4S. 

All of the Taycan lineup is equipped with an adaptive air suspension, LED lighting, dual-zone climate control, active safety features, a digital instrument cluster, central touchscreen for infotainment that’s 10.9 inches, an 8.4-inch touchscreen for climate functions, and an 11-kw home charger. 

Where is the 2021 Porsche Taycan made?

In Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany.


2021 Porsche Taycan


The 2021 Porsche Taycan is breathtaking—not just at the limits of its performance, but to look at.

Is the 2021 Porsche Taycan a good-looking car?

Yes it is. Although our editorial team is split on what the Taycan’s design establishes inside, we’re unanimous on how perfectly this model combines some of the classic shapes and nostalgia curves of the 911 with influences from the bigger Panamera. Altogether the shape, which was carried over faithfully from the Mission E concept, amounts to an instant classic. It’s a 9 on our styling scale. 

You can see a lot of influences in the Taycan from Porsche’s other cars, and it’s all stunning. The hood profile and stance of the Taycan are all 911, but the rear end looks lean and abbreviated, with a hat tip to the 718 Cayman; in three-quarter views, to the Panamera.

The Taycan uses a typical modern Porsche lighting signature, with LED headlights, but with new “fangs” that curve around the front bumper, helping form a small, aerodynamically effective front end. A body-side scallop carries through from the doors to the rear wheels. From the middle line upward, the Taycan borrows much from the Panamers, although its rear is even more clean and horizontal, uncluttered with exhaust ports. 

Because Porsche uniformly colors the rear diffuser black, lighter colors can impress as a little more technical and futuristic. 

The Taycan makes a less jaw-dropping impression inside. It’s attractive, but subdued in all but the more extroverted color combinations, and it conveys the idea through and through that it is what it needs to be. The top-level design themes hark back to vintage 911 cockpit simplicity, but the result is something involving a whole lot of screen space (up to four screens visible to the driver) and meeting the latest German luxury-car norms.

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2021 Porsche Taycan


In its highest-powered versions, 2021 Porsche Taycan performance is...electric. And near perfect.

At least until the Tesla Model S Plaid and the top-performance Lucid Air arrive—sometime late in 2021, at the earliest—the Porsche Taycan is the king of the road with respect to electric performance cars. It’s the measuring stick for electric cars, until the competition catches up. And for now, the Taycan is a 10. 

Is the Taycan 4WD?

The entire lineup of 2021 Porsche Taycan models provides all-wheel drive from dual electric motors. More variants are expected soon, though, and that includes a base rear-wheel-drive version.

How fast is the Porsche Taycan?

The top-performance Turbo S can hit 100 mph in less than seven seconds, or 60 mph in 2.6 seconds (or less by some tests), and a top speed of 162 mph.

Turbo and Turbo S models diverge slightly in overboost performance; the former can shove 670 hp down the driveline at launch for 2.5 seconds, the latter pushes 750 hp.

While the Turbo S is the one with that sub-2.6-second 0-60 mph time, the Turbo is still breathtaking, at 3.0 seconds. For both of these versions, an all-out launch falls into the category of brutal—especially for first-time passengers not entirely prepared. 

The 4S uses dual motors on the front and rear axle to make 482 horsepower (562 hp during overboost) and launch the car up to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. It’s very quick, especially at lower speeds, but not as literally breathtaking. 

All versions of the Taycan use a unique 2-speed transmission at the rear wheels to combine strong off-the-line launches with a higher top speed. 

The Taycan is also built on a completely new 800-volt system—a first for electric cars that allows faster charging plus more flexibility for charging, as well as downsized wiring harnesses and componentry. 

Our editorial team has collectively driven the three versions of the Taycan many hundreds of miles. We’d drive them many thousands more if we could. That’s mostly because once the novelty of its power on tap fades, what’s left is a pleasant-riding, well-balanced car with a lot of nuance and finesse in how it directs the power. 

A four-wheel independent suspension with an adaptive air suspension is a magic carpet ride, keeping the wide tires planted and holding it just so each wheel can get the most out of cornering and traction. The Taycan tips the scale at more than 2.5 tons—and feels it—but the double wishbones up front and multi-link rear axle never flinch. Optional Porsche chassis control systems add to the capabilities but aren’t necessary to devour curvy roads. 

That stopping power is summoned from standard carbon ceramic brakes in Turbo S models or tungsten-carbide stoppers in Turbo models—presuming it gets there first and fastest. 

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2021 Porsche Taycan

Comfort & Quality

The Porsche Taycan is either a 4-seater or a 2+2 depending on expectations, but it’s more plush than most performance cars.

The 2021 Porsche Taycan is about as long and wide as a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but you won’t find an interior that feels as spacious as those traditional sedans. 

Think of the Porsche Taycan’s interior as that of a spacious two-seat touring coupe, and work to the back seats only if you need them. Leg room isn’t only cramped, but head room is a challenge in the rear seats too. The Taycan’s excellent front seats earn it kudos, as do the exceptional fit and finish, but the back-seat situation keeps it from rising above a 7. 

The front seats are low, but wide, with plenty of shoulder room for broad adults. Bigger or older adults will need to prop elbows on the doors on the way out. The base seats in the Taycan are 14-way, power-adjustable buckets that are comfortable and snug. Upgrade to the 18-way adjustable front sport seats and they’re even firmer, but offer adjustable thigh, hip and back bolsters that can accommodate big bodies. 

Even if those in front don’t need to slide the seats back all the way, getting into the rear seats demands some flexibility for adults. The rear seats have scant leg room, less than many small sedans such as a Volkswagen Golf, and head room is lacking for anyone 6 feet tall or taller. A “foot garage” helps, but not for the knees and neck. Ouch. 

Cargo space is a good thing here. The rear trunk holds more than 12 cubic feet—enough for a couple of medium-sized suitcases—while a 2.8-cubic-foot carries the mobile charge connector and perhaps a backpack or a couple of daybags. 

Ride quality from the air suspension, interior fit and finish, and noise insulation, are all wound together tighter than a drum but with all the right stuff for quietness and ride comfort. Although the Taycan might not invite scrutiny of its materials in the same way as a Rolls-Royce or Bentley would, it’s actually all here, with top leather and open-pore wood, and well-blended seams. This is no Model S inside.

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2021 Porsche Taycan


The 2021 Porsche Taycan lacks U.S. crash-test results.

How safe is the Porsche Taycan?

The Porsche Taycan hasn’t been tested by either of the two agencies that conduct crash-testing in the U.S.—and it likely never will be due to its high sticker price and relatively low sales volume. Because of that, we don’t score it here. 

However there are some solid hints that the Taycan offers good occupant protection. An early Taycan was run through the EuroNCAP test and was given a top 5-star rating.

Automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and parking sensors are included in the Taycan, but adaptive cruise control, driver-assist sensors, night-vision cameras, and a surround-view camera system are all among the extra-cost options. 

Rearview vision can be limited for some drivers, due to the steeply sloping roof and narrow rear window—so consider that on the test drive.

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2021 Porsche Taycan


Whether you go in seeing the Taycan as a performance car, a luxury car, or both, Porsche will deliver your personal mix—at a steep price premium.

The 2021 Taycan is priced like Porsche’s other models—meaning that entry prices are just the start. There are few packages, it seems, and nearly everything is piecemeal. That gives owners the flexibility to build exactly the Taycan they want, but on the other hand the wide range of options can add tens of thousands of dollars to the price. It’s an 8 for features—based on the breadth of what’s offered—but none of it is cheap.

At present, the $105,150 Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus is the most affordable model in the lineup, but less-expensive versions are on the way. That includes a model with the standard Performance Battery as well as, possibly, a base rear-wheel-drive model.

All Taycan models include a 16.8-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.9-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen to control climate functions and other vehicle behaviors. Both a passenger-side 10.9-inch touchscreen rear-seat climate control touchscreen are optional, if you don’t mind bringing the total number of screens up to five. Like every Porsche, the options list can include everything from paint-to-match colors, countless interior and exterior customization possibilities, and more. 

Which Porsche Taycan should I buy?

All of the Taycan lineup is equipped with an adaptive air suspension, LED lighting, dual-zone climate control, active safety features, leather upholstery, a digital instrument cluster, central touchscreen for infotainment that’s 10.9 inches, an 8.4-inch touchscreen for climate functions, and an 11-kw home charger. Apple CarPlay compatibility is included, but Android Auto isn’t. 

On the list of things we really wouldn’t skip are the Intelligent Range Manager that helps calculate routes with charging stations in mind, the bigger 19.2-kw AC and 150-kw/400V DC chargers, and the mobile charge connector, which altogether cost $3,260 together but will allow a lot more road-trip charging flexibility. And just go ahead and get the $1,130 passenger display because having your passenger play DJ (mostly) sounds like a great idea. 

Other options we’d say yes to, unless we were going as basic as possible, include Sport Chrono performance hardware, Burmester sound, adaptive cruise control, and Porsche’s active chassis system. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Porsche Taycan?

The top Porsche Taycan 4S starts at $186,350—including a $1,350 destination fee—and it’s easy to option a Turbo S well past $180,000, simply with functional items. 

Dig into cosmetic upgrades and it will be well beyond that. One tester we had added up to more than $202,000, and on Porsche’s official build tool, we were able to pretty easily configure one that was nicely customized but by no means loaded with everything for about $230,000. 

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2021 Porsche Taycan

Fuel Economy

This Porsche gets a perfect score for being all-electric, but it’s not as efficient as a Tesla.

As an all-electric sedan with a range of about 200 miles, the 2021 Taycan adds up to a 10 on our scale.

But there’s a cautionary tale here: The Taycan isn’t particularly great in efficiency and range. It’s actually the least efficient electric passenger car on the market and far behind Tesla, and for the size of battery that it packs in—93.4 kwh—that amounts to around 200 miles of range.

Specifically, the Taycan 4S earns an EPA range of 203 miles, while the Taycan Turbo is rated at 201 miles and the Taycan Turbo S, with its larger inverter in front, earns just a 192-mile range rating. 

Porsche boasts, however, that the Taycan has achieved better than the ratings would indicate. 

The Taycan offers a lot of charging options. If you happen to find 800-volt-compatible CCS fast chargers—such as what’s now offered by Electrify America beside major Interstates—the Taycan can charge at up to 270 kw and from zero to 80 percent in roughly 20 minutes. On Level 2 home chargers, which will be more common, the Taycan replenishes a fully depleted battery completely in 9 hours. Don’t forget to opt for the 400V/150-kw onboard auxiliary charger, which will make the Taycan charge faster on a wider range of CCS hardware that might not be 800V-compatible. 

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Styling 9
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