Automotive

The Porsche Taycan Turbo is finally here, and it's an 800-volt electric belter

The Porsche Taycan Turbo is fi...
Porsche has finally launched its all-electric four-door Taycan Turbo supercars
Porsche has finally launched its all-electric four-door Taycan Turbo supercars
View 19 Images
Porsche has finally launched its all-electric four-door Taycan Turbo supercars
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Porsche has finally launched its all-electric four-door Taycan Turbo supercars
The charge port door retracts with a saucy flip of your finger under the black tab beside it
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The charge port door retracts with a saucy flip of your finger under the black tab beside it
Coast-to-coast taillights and clamshell underbodies are going to date this thing a little bit
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Coast-to-coast taillights and clamshell underbodies are going to date this thing a little bit
3D Porsche logo looks hot
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3D Porsche logo looks hot
Is it a clock? We may never know
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Is it a clock? We may never know
Most of the Taycan's physical buttons are festooned around the steering wheel; everything else is touch screen or voice control
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Most of the Taycan's physical buttons are festooned around the steering wheel; everything else is touch screen or voice control
There's plenty for passengers to play with
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There's plenty for passengers to play with
Center touch console and cup holder
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Center touch console and cup holder
A highly digital interior
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A highly digital interior
Interior trim can be leather, sustainable leather, or leather-free
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Interior trim can be leather, sustainable leather, or leather-free
Sculptural digital dash
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Sculptural digital dash
The Teslas will have the wood on the Taycan Turbos in a straight line, but the Porsches will eat their lunch in the corners
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The Teslas will have the wood on the Taycan Turbos in a straight line, but the Porsches will eat their lunch in the corners
Not sure the blue is much to write home about
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Not sure the blue is much to write home about
From a low angle, the Taycan looks a bit like it's upset
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From a low angle, the Taycan looks a bit like it's upset
Porsche driving DNA will make the Taycan exceptional in the corners
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Porsche driving DNA will make the Taycan exceptional in the corners
Coming at you with 560 kW of electric performance
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Coming at you with 560 kW of electric performance
The Taycan's 800-volt architecture leads to super fast charging and very effective regenerative braking
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The Taycan's 800-volt architecture leads to super fast charging and very effective regenerative braking
With the right chargers, you can put 100 km (62 mi) of WLTP range back in the battery in just five minutes
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With the right chargers, you can put 100 km (62 mi) of WLTP range back in the battery in just five minutes
Batteries are in the floor, with electric drive motors on the front and rear axles
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Batteries are in the floor, with electric drive motors on the front and rear axles

Porsche promised us a four-door electric supercar by the end of the decade back in 2015, and it has now delivered. With a look strikingly similar to the Mission E concept, albeit with many refinements, the Taycan (pronounced tie-can) was launched overnight in an intercontinental assault, with simultaneous events held at Niagara Falls on the US/Canadian border, a solar farm near Berlin, and a wind farm on Pingtan island near Fuzhou in China.

We already knew it was going to be fast – it set a blistering time around the Nurburgring last month, setting a new record for production electric four-doors. Now we've got all the performance specs, and while the Tesla Model S may tear the Taycan a new one off the line, when it comes to proper, fast performance driving, the new Porsche means business.

There are two models to start with – the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S, both merrily and confusingly named after a forced induction system they don't have. Porsche has decided that Turbo simply means "fast" in the new electric world, gambling that in 20 years' time everyone will have forgotten the hoops people had to jump through to extract more power out of combustion engines in the first century of the automobile age. "Words have meanings," comes the plaintive cry of the petrolheads and English majors. "Language evolves," grins Porsche, not really caring which side of the fence you land on. The world marches forward, and we feel a little older, and the kids' music seems to be getting worse all the time.

Fear not, there will surely be more Taycans coming, and some of them will probably not be called Turbos. It's become a regular amusement to me, whenever a Porsche story comes up, to go and count how many different models of 911 you can buy. As of today, there are no less than 30 different base model 911s to choose from. The Taycan represents the electric performance future for Porsche, and thus it will begin sprouting convertibles, 2WD entry-level models and all manner of other variants almost immediately.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S Specs

You're here for the specs, so let's get the sleeves up. With electric motors on the front and rear axles for all-wheel-drive, the Taycan Turbo S makes a peak of 460 kW (617 hp). When you really need to lay a boot in, it can "overboost" as far as 560 kW (751 hp) – and you've got an enormous 1,050 Nm (774 lb-ft) of peak torque with which to deform and fry your tires.

With a weight figure of 2,295 kg (5,060 lb), and a two-speed transmission for slow-speed acceleration and high-speed efficiency, this thing is sprightly off the line. From a standing start, you'll hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.6 seconds, and 200 km/h (124 mph) in a very fast 9.8 seconds, on the way to a governed top speed of 260 km/h (162 mph).

The Taycan Turbo non-S version is still pretty jolly quick, with overboost power up to 500 kW (670 hp), and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 3.2 seconds.

The battery pack is a floor-mounted pack with 93.4 kWh of total storage capacity and small scoops cut into it for extra passenger leg room in the back seats. It's good for a WLTP range up to 412 km (256 mi) in the Turbo S version and 450 km (280 mi) in the regular Taycan Turbo.

Batteries are in the floor, with electric drive motors on the front and rear axles
Batteries are in the floor, with electric drive motors on the front and rear axles

The Taycan's unique 800-volt architecture

The interesting bit here, though, is that the Taycans run on an 800-volt system. The Tesla Model S, by comparison, runs at 375 volts. With a higher voltage, you can shift the same amount of energy with lower current. Lower current means less heat to disperse, and smaller, thinner cables.

Porsche's choice to go with an 800-V system makes the Taycans excellent performers in sustained high-load situations. You can drive them very fast all the way around the Nurburgring, and do lots of back-to-back full-throttle acceleration/deceleration cycles before you start running into thermal issues.

You can also charge them at very high rates, meaning that where the infrastructure is available to charge at the Taycan's peak of a whopping 270 kW, you can put 100 km (62 mi) of WLTP range back in the battery in just five minutes, or go from five to 80 percent in a blistering 22.5 minutes.

And because the battery can accept up to 270 kW (362 hp) of charge, you can heave as much power out of regenerative deceleration as some sports cars put into acceleration – stopping harder than most cars can go at full throttle without even touching brake pad to disc. Indeed, Porsche has coated the Taycan's brake discs with an anti-corrosion formula because it frankly expects the friction brakes to get so little use.

The Taycan's 800-volt architecture leads to super fast charging and very effective regenerative braking
The Taycan's 800-volt architecture leads to super fast charging and very effective regenerative braking

There is, of course, a dark side to high-voltage electrical systems: they can zap you to death faster if you manage to make yourself part of the circuit, and where a 110/240-V wall socket shock can be pretty nasty, an 800-V shock for any length of time is proportionally worse if the current's there. The risk of electrocution is probably very low outside of a crash that tears the entire car and the battery pack apart, and lower-voltage, high-current cars have a higher tendency to catch on fire under similar circumstances. So the risk to the occupants of the car won't be much worse.

The takeaway here is, this is one car you shouldn't work on yourself unless you really know what you're doing – and if you see a Taycan (or a Tesla, for that matter) ripped to bits in a high-speed Nurburgring crash, stay clear and let properly trained emergency workers take over.

Design highlights

I'm not gonna lie, I don't find much to get excited about with the Taycan's exterior design. It looks ... fine, and good, in a Porschey, nine-eleveny sort of way, with the requisite coast-to-coast LED brake light that seems to be popping up on just about every quick EV these days.

The signature element on the front is the Taycan's LED headlights, surrounded by four blocky LED driving lamps. They look pretty cool, but then the big ol' brake cooling ducts on the outside edges kind of make the car look like it's crying.

From a low angle, the Taycan looks a bit like it's upset
From a low angle, the Taycan looks a bit like it's upset

Pair that with the open mouth provided by the carbon front splitters, and you end up with a car that looks a bit terrified and upset about how fast it's going. Or maybe it's just distraught that it's forced to eat the dust of three-year-old Tesla P100Ds at the traffic lights, and the Tesla drivers won't come out into the curvy canyon roads where the Taycan can get its own back.

And it will get its own back on a twisty road, because it's got plenty of Porsche handling in its DNA, including three-chamber air suspension, active damping, dynamic chassis control, electromechanical roll stabilization, and torque vectoring through the AWD system. Everything's managed through a "4D Chassis Control" system that manages and synchronizes all these systems depending on driving modes, road conditions and your behavior behind the wheel. Porsche knows how to make cornering scalpels, and it's reasonable to expect the Taycan to be an apex predator of the highest order.

It's got a pop-up rear spoiler that angles all the way up to use as a high speed air brake, and a fully enclosed underbody between the splitter and rear diffusers. The hood is low and steep, and the drag coefficient is kept as low as 0.22, helping squeeze range out of the battery at speed. Compact battery and powertrain systems give you plenty of room for luggage: a combined 447 liters between the frunk and trunk.

A highly digital interior
A highly digital interior

The interior will best be remembered for its swooping, sculptural instrument cluster and wealth of screens extending across the dash and down the center console. "Hey Porsche" voice control is a priority, and will possibly teach you how to pronounce the brand name once and for all. Tactile physical buttons are few, predominantly on the steering wheel. This thing is a rolling iPad, with an anachronistic analog clock poking up in the middle.

Well, I think it's a clock, I'm not sure what it is, it only seems to have one hand, but that rotates 0 through 60, and it doesn't seem to be matched to the time, which is presented in old-school LCD digital figures in the middle. I sure do hope it does something useful, because it looks silly and takes pride of place on the dash. Maybe it's the "turbo" boost gauge? I kid, I kid.

Is it a clock? We may never know
Is it a clock? We may never know

Interior trim is available in full leather, sustainable leather (probably not super sustainable for the cows involved), and no leather, which is probably what you'll want if you're buying this supercar status symbol under the pretense of being an eco-warrior.

Prices for the Taycan Turbo start from US$150,900, and the Taycan Turbo S starts from $185,000, with an extra premium applied to folks who are first in line when it launches. Yowch. Check out Porsche's introductory video below.

The new Porsche Taycan – Designed to enliven

Source: Porsche

12 comments
guzmanchinky
Ok first of all excellent article. LOL at several places. The FIRST thing I would do is rip the badges off. Calling an e car TURBO is so teenager dumb I can't believe it got past the planning stages. But then again the back end of the original Panamera did too, so there are some buffoons working in Stuttgart to be sure. The price is crazy steep, even for a Porsche. I am so excited for all cars to be electric, and this first step in from one of the best brands is a big one, given how well a Porsche handles (I did the track experience in LA a few weeks ago, o m g) and are built.
moreover
The EPA highway rating will be about 15% lower at 205 miles and city 220/238 miles (Turbo S/Turbo). Compare that to the much cheaper Tesla Model S Performance with a 345 mile range. The Taycan consumes about 30-40% more energy per mile despite comparable weight and size, the wider tires may be one culprit. Porsche buyers of course are a different breed but when comparing the low range Audi SUV to the Tesla Model X most people decided on the X.
McDesign
I second the vote - a great article to enjoy, not just informative. I even bid on an electric-converted Saab this morning on BringaTrailer, just to come to the party. Our new roof solar installation finally works with the software, so we are generating!
Expanded Viewpoint
YAAAAAWWWNNN, ho hum, yet another coal powered car. Yeah, it's pretty damn quick, but where and how often can you use such power on the streets, even IF you have a need for it? These battery operated car things are the worst form of environmental self ego stroking that I have ever even heard of. They are a mechanical version of political correctness; everyone can see the fallacies and stupidity of it, but no one seems to be able to admit such or kill it. Do all of the car companies now get government subsidies for electric cars like, Tesla? Without a government bail out/bail in, Tesla would go the way of Studebaker, Nash, etc. Yeah, we lose money on every one that we sell, but we hope to make up for it in increased volume. BTW, without a standardized recharging protocol, you'll have to wait until you get back home again to fill the battery back up, right?
minivini
“Expanded Viewpoint” - great screen name. Try expanding your knowledge, also. More and more of the US (and world) is moving away from coal power, so that argument is growing pretty old. In fact, there are many places where coal isn’t even a fuel that’s used. Where I live, we have around 85% nuclear and almost 15% hydroelectric. So before you whine about EVs simply transferring pollution from tailpipe to smokestack, do a little actual research. Coal is being phased out nationwide, and I suspect you already know that. The readers here certainly do.
yawood
I love the look of it but I would have liked to see it actually moving along the road in the video. I don't know where you live "minivini" but in Australia where I am electric cars are just a bit of a curiosity (just over 2% of cars sold). OK some people are all for them but with their lack of range (or slow recharge rates) they are really only good as a city car and nearly all our power is derived from coal or gas. We don't have any nuclear (more's the pity but that's another story), we have so little water and/or mountains that we can't generate too much hydro power and although we do have lots of solar panels on private homes and some large solar and wind farms it's nowhere near enough to supply the country's needs without still relying on coal and gas. So don't think that all the world is like your place.
christopher
I don't get the Model-S comparison? This has the same 0..100 time: why then write that the Model-S "Tears the Taycan a new one", when it's the same?
VincentWolf
A turbo is defined as "A turbo is a fan in the engine of a car or plane that improves its performance by using exhaust gases to blow fuel vapour into the engine." Laughable that Porsche can't even use electric language in it's electric only cars and chooses to use the word 'turbo' when it applies only to ICE vehicles. Porsche Taycan Zap or Porsche Taycan Plus or something would be more appropriate. Not too smart Porsche.
guzmanchinky
While I agree with some people that current electric cars are not saving the planet as we speak, what they ARE is the beginnings of a path to making all vehicles electric. To do that you need MONEY. Money comes from selling cars that are exciting, and then other companies come in and solve the battery charging time problem because there is a lot of MONEY to be made. And then other companies come in and build giant solar farms like we have in Nevada because people need power for their electric cars. And so on. You have to start somewhere.
WB
So first Porsche claims it has a Tesla Killer and is better on track etc etc. Tesla goes - hold my bear.... announces it's bringing a Model S to the Nuernburgring - to show the Germans who is the boss. Looking at the specs it doesnt look good for the Turbo - not at all. Horse Power: Tesla has 778Hp / Porsche has 617hp (and in limited overboost 750hp). Weight: Tesla 4941lb / Porsche 5100lb 0-60mph/100km/h: Tesla 2.4s / Porsche 2.6 or 2.8s Turbo: Tesla: No Turbo / Porsche: it says Turbo on it Cost: Tesla: 133k / Porsche 152k So the Tesla will be making minced meat out of the Taycan Turbo before it is even out! It will be epic to witness!