Porsche Taycan 4S: Electric Soul?

It was bound to happen. An all-electric Porsche. Unthinkable only a decade ago, yet now on the market: The Taycan was launched at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and order books soon filled up – in an automotive world turning more and more towards battery powered cars, the Porsche Taycan was an eagerly awaited car with a lot riding on it. So how about it? Did Porsche pull it off?

The short answer: Yes. The Taycan drives and feels like something you would expect from Porsche. I was given the keys to an 4S for one day and one night, and having driven the very nice Jaguar I-PACE and the highly capable Audi e-tron, stakes were high and I almost felt sorry for the car having to deal with the very high expectations. However, Porsche willingly and deliberately entered the game, so I got going right away.

The first thing you notice in the Taycan is the low-slung seating position. Even though the seats are placed on top of the battery package, they are angled quite aggressively for a family car, instantly giving an indication of the sporty feel Porsche wish to convey throughout. The sportiness didn’t feel out of place – the familiar steering wheel shape and layout also supported the notion. Thus, it didn’t take long to feel at home in the Taycan, and the first roundabouts were dealt with in an assuringly swift manner.

The inevitable challenge of a sporty all-electric family car – weight versus handling and range – is also apparent in the Taycan. The 4S develops 435 hp and quotes a range of 407 km, which in itself doesn’t stand out in the crowd. The weight of 2,140 kg makes it no lightweight either, but the way it delivers the power and controls the weight is the beauty of the Taycan. Throttle down in a narrow corner and you would expect lots of drama, wiggling and general dismay, but you are instead served ample portions of acceleration, road holding and satisfaction.

In fact, even though this 4S was shod with winter tyres, it took quite some pushing to reveal its weight and its limitations. Heavy braking on curvy roads tends to do that. However, I more than once forgot that it’s a family car with a full size rear seat row. The way the Taycan attacks and devours curves needs to be experienced, and the accompanying sound(!) makes it a fully credible sports car experience.

Sound in an electric car? That whimpy, high frequency whine? Some artificial, synthetic engine sound? Not in the Taycan, I’m happy to report. Porsche decided that instead of trying to fake it, they instead went all in and isolated the actual sound of the electric drivetrain, amplifying it and serving it both to the Taycan’s occupants as well as to the immediate vicinity. In Sport Plus driving mode, this sound does a very good job of convincing the aforementioned that this is indeed a sports saloon.

Cruising at motorway speeds in Normal or Range modes is an exercise in tranquility – my passenger very nearly fell asleep as darkness fell. We wanted to try out the brand new  Ryfylke Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest subsea road tunnel, spanning 14.4 km in length and bottoming out at 291 metres below sea level. The tunnel itself is a test of patience and monotony, and the bright oasis of blue light in the middle gives hopes for eventually reaching the end. The Taycan would have been among my preferred choice of weapon if I were to traverse it on a daily basis, it got the job done efficiently, even indulging my occasionally heavy right foot.

The Taycan 4S I drove saw fit to develop a rather weak but unfortunately very high pitched noise when pushing or letting go of the throttle at inner city speeds. All in all, the Taycan didn’t feel at home in urban environments, complaining about speed bumps, especially those ironically called speed cushions, as there was nothing soft or cushion-like about the sound the underbelly of the Taycan made when it grazed it at low speed. The Taycan does have lift functionality, but you need to be going surprisingly slow to be allowed to activate it.

Why did Porsche make an all-electric sporty family car? Because they thought they could make the best one on the market. And, as far as I can see, they were right. The Taycan drives like a much lighter car, and gets you to where you want to go in comfort and with style, be it on motorways or on curvy B-roads. Electric soul? The short answer: Yes.

Thanks to Porsche Center Stavanger for letting me loose in their Taycan 4S.

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