The 2021 Porsche Taycan (pronounced tie -Kahn) is a truly innovative electric vehicle, showcasing the high-performance potential of the species. As the first production EV with an 800-volt architecture and a multispeed transaxle, it sets new benchmarks in charging speeds and acceleration times. In fact, the top-of-the-line 750-hp Turbo S is among the quickest cars we’ve ever tested, even tying hypercars like the $1.7 million, 1000-hp Bugatti Veyron 16.4 to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds. This EV also has stamina, with the ability to make multiple high-speed runs without a significant loss in performance. Sure, the four-door sedan has a much shorter estimated driving range than its primary rival, the Tesla Model S, and all-wheel-drive versions cost at least six figures at present. But the Taycan drives like a Porsche sports car and exhilarates in ways few electric models have done before, which is why we named it an Editors’ Choice.
What’s New for 2021?
Porsche makes mild changes to the Taycan lineup for 2021, giving it fresh features as well as a new battery choice as well as an even more affordable rear-wheel-drive base model. The 4S now comes standard with a lower-capacity 71.0-kWh battery, though the 83.7-kWh pack is still available. The smaller-battery version produces less horsepower, but it also costs less. Porsche has recalibrated the Taycan’s charging system to better preserve the battery’s service life and limit overall power loss during fast charging. Other notable updates include the addition of a head-up display, SiriusXM satellite radio, more interior and exterior color options, and over-the-air software updates that allow owners to purchase or subscribe to new functions without visiting a dealership.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Most Taycan models feature dual electric motors, with one powering the front wheels and the other powering the rears. They produce separate outputs that vary by trim level. The 4S generates up to 522 horsepower with the standard 79.2-kWh battery and up to 562 horses with the optional 83.7-kWh pack. The latter comes standard on the top models, the 670-hp Turbo and the 750-hp Turbo S. The base model is rear-wheel-drive only, but it can be paired with either battery size. Its single electric motor generates up to 402 hp with the smaller battery and up to 469 hp with the bigger one. All Taycan models also have an innovative two-speed transmission that provides a thrilling shift during hard acceleration. While all three variants feature an all-wheel drive and an innovative two-speed transmission that provides a thrilling shift during hard acceleration, a rear-drive model will eventually join the lineup. We’ve driven the Taycan 4S and were impressed by its prompt acceleration (hitting 60 mph in 3.4 seconds) as well as its point-and-shoot handling. However, we wish it had a more responsive brake pedal, especially since Porsche chose to forgo one-pedal driving. Those with a serious need for speed will be blown away by the Turbo S’s rocket-ship takeoffs. The version we tested hit 60 mph in just 2.4 ticks and cleared the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph. We’ve tested a Model S that also reached 60 mph in under three seconds, but it wasn’t able to make repeated acceleration runs without experiencing severe performance degradation. The Taycan could. This, along with the car’s low-slung driving position and precise steering, is what makes the Porsche special among electric vehicles. And it’s comfortable. Even rolling on 21-inch wheels with narrow sidewalls, another Taycan Turbo S we drove never felt stiff or harsh.