Revealed: The 750-HP 2020 Porsche Taycan Proves the Electric Future Will Still Have Soul

The future will be fun—and fast.

Porsche Taycan
Porsche

Do you feel it? The static in the air. It's alight with something, and that something is the electric 2020 Porsche Taycan. After years of speculation, teasers, and precious few leaks, Porsche's first electric car was unveiled in a whiz-bang global event this morning along with hints of variations to come. You've seen the spy shots, read all the rumors about this new-era performance sedan. Now dig into the details.

First, the context: Though the Porsche Taycan will have a robust trim lineup, including the now-confirmed Taycan Cross Turismo wagon, Stuttgart's only whetting our appetite for now with the top-of-the-line Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S (we called that familiar nomenclature last year). These cars start at $153,310 and $187,610 respectively, so this isn't your budget Tesla killer. But for that price, you get two of the mightiest powertrains in all of Porsche-dom today: 670 horsepower/626 pound-feet of torque for the Turbo, and 750 hp/774 lb-ft for the Turbo S.

Porsche

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S

In all configurations, the Taycan utilizes two axle-mounted permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors and a 93.4 kWh battery to power all four wheels. That's standard stuff for BEVs today—what's not standard is the two-speed transmission on the rear drive unit that maximizes launch power and cruising efficiency. Neither is the 800 volt battery that can charge from 5 percent to 80 percent in 22.5 minutes. Also interesting is Porsche bringing some much-needed brand differentiation to the electric motor, a common supplier part in EVs; it claims it's found a way to jam more copper into the stator coils to boost power output.

But stator coils aren't as exciting as 0-60 times, and Porsche's got you covered there. The Porsche Taycan Turbo will do 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, while the Taycan Turbo S will sprint there in 2.6 seconds. This is a car that weighs 5,100 pounds. That's still a ways off from the Tesla Model S P100D's 2.28 seconds, but complaining about sub-three-second 0-60 times from production four-doors is like nitpicking at The French Laundry. You're in rare territory. Just enjoy the meal.

Even when you're not gunning it off the line over and over again—it can do 10 in a row without losing a lick of speed, according to Car & Driver—the Porsche Taycan should drive every bit as well as the badge on the nose demands. Stuttgart's singular focus in building the Taycan was to make it perform like a Porsche, and it's ported over 4D Chassis Control, air suspension, an active anti-roll rig to level the body in turns, and its standard adjustable driving modes.

Porsche

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Porsche claims you can keep on driving for up to 311 miles, but that number is based on the lenient NEDC standard used in Europe. The EPA rated range is due later this year and per usual will land a bit lower than that.

The high-efficiency hybrid braking system is noteworthy. It eschews a "one-pedal" regenerative mode in favor of a more authentic driving experience, which means the regen brakes mainly kick in when you step on the brake pedal. The friction brakes (Porsche Surface Coated rotors on the Turbo, Ceramics on the Turbo S) kick in when the situation calls for it, but Porsche claims the regenerative system can handle around 90 percent of around-town braking. These electromechanical setups can be a little ungainly in practical use, especially in the moment when the two systems switch, so we're very interested to see if Porsche's solved this one.

You knew what it was going to look like, what with all the barely-disguised camo cars running around this year, but still: that's a handsome car. The flowing lines, arched haunches, and steeply raked hood are all identifiably Porsche while pushing the automaker's design language in a slightly new direction. It's not an electric Panamera—built on its own platform, the Taycan more than three inches shorter in length than its ICE sibling and smaller in every other dimension.

The differences add up to a package that's more sleek, more lithe than the Panamera despite being 800 pounds heavier. Again, we're only looking at the top-dollar Taycans here with very specific options; Porsche plans to offer a number of wheel, color, and trim choices that will add more variety. And if you're still salty about the switch from air-cooled, you can't deny the Taycan looks leagues better than Porsche's other segment debuts like the first-generation Cayenne and Panamera.

Things are a little more Panamera 2.0 inside, where Porsche's flat dash and sloping center console are copied and festooned with enough screens to knock out a Luddite: a 16.8-inch driver display, a 10.9-inch center infotainment touchscreen, a second (optional) 10.9-inch screen on the dash in front of the passenger, an 8.4 inch panel for climate controls on the console, and an optional 5.9-inch touchscreen for backseat passengers with HVAC controls. At least Porsche's analog clock remains. 

It's got some nice future-thinking touches like free Apple Music and a leather-free option for those of a sustainable mind, but the best innovation might be what Porsche is calling "foot garages." With the low, sloping roofline and floor-mounted battery pack squeezing the rear seat passenger space, Porsche essentially dug two footwells in the battery by relocating individual cells to give back seat riders enough legroom. Meanwhile, the biggest question mark is storage—you've got a tiny 2.8 cubic-foot frunk, and a slightly-less-tiny 12.9 cubic-foot trunk.

Porsche

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Everything about Porsche's modern era, from its lofty performance standards to its fastidious attention to detail, suggested its foray into electric would be something to watch. That's because the stakes are high for both company and car. If Porsche gets this right—and we haven't seen a reason to think it won't—it hits a home run in its first at bat and gets the appropriate accolades. But it also might go a long way to showing EV skeptics that you can still have fun in the future.

The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo, By the Numbers

  • Base Price: $153,310
  • Powertrain: Two axle-mounted permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors | 93.4 kWh lithium-ion battery | 670 horsepower, 626 pound-feet of torque | single-speed transmission in front, two-speed in rear | all-wheel drive
  • EPA Range: TBD (500 km/311 mi on Europe's NEDC test cycle)
  • Max Charging Power: 270 kW
  • 0-60 MPH: 3.0 seconds
  • Top Speed: 161 mph
  • Curb Weight: 5,132 pounds

The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S, By the Numbers

  • Base Price: $187,610
  • Powertrain: Two axle-mounted permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors | 93.4 kWh lithium-ion battery | 750 horsepower, 774 pound-feet of torque | single-speed transmission in front, two-speed in rear | all-wheel drive
  • EPA Range: TBD (500 km/311 mi on Europe's NEDC test cycle)
  • Max Charging Power: 270 kW
  • 0-60 MPH: 2.6 seconds
  • Top Speed: 161 mph
  • Curb Weight: 5,121 pounds