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New Porsche Taycan review: the new yardstick for premium EVs

The new Taycan may look familiar, but don't be fooled – its performance, range and dynamics are next-gen

Evo rating
Price
from £86,500
  • Exceptional performance, range and dynamic ability
  • Comes at a hefty price; not as roomy as it should be; inconsistent brake feel

Launching the new Porsche Taycan from a standstill is a bizarre experience. Not because of the gut-squeezing, instant power – we’re (just about) accustomed to that by now – but because the Taycan seems to momentarily become a much lighter car riding on rock-solid springs when you hit the throttle. There’s almost zero pitch, and the body stays flat, level and completely stable when you’d normally expect it to tip rearwards under the immense accelerative force. That’s Porsche’s new Active Ride suspension system at work, and from behind the wheel, it feels like you’ve activated a cheat code. 

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In effect, that’s what Porsche has done with the facelifted Taycan. It may look familiar, but it’s taken a huge step forward in every key metric – from performance, range and charging speed to cruising comfort and dynamic ability – to make one of the most desirable EVs on the planet even better. What you’re looking at is the new benchmark for premium electric saloons

Whispers from the Taycan’s engineering team suggest that Porsche was a touch too conservative with the original Taycan – the company’s first EV, don’t forget. Now with a clearer picture of the car’s long-term powertrain and battery durability, it's been able to make improvements to the hardware and push certain components harder to deliver more performance and more range than before. 

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A lighter, more powerful rear-axle motor, a more energy-dense battery pack, revised energy recuperation software and improved thermal management are just some of the key advancements, enabling the Taycan to achieve up to 421 miles from a charge in rear-drive form. Every Taycan gets a power boost as part of the facelift, with peak outputs ranging from 402bhp in the standard single-motor version to an astonishing 939bhp in the Turbo S. Then there’s the new, 1020bhp Turbo GT, which has every chance of becoming the next YouTube drag racing king with a 2.2sec 0-62mph time. If you’re into that sort of thing. 

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We spent most of our time in the dual-motor 4S – historically the UK’s best seller – which gets a power uplift from 563bhp to 590bhp when equipped with the 97kWh (usable) Performance Battery Plus. For what it gives up in raw speed to the Turbo models, the 4S claws back in terms of flow and cohesion – it’s hugely fast, make no mistake, but the acceleration melds into the driving experience rather than commanding all of your attention. You surge from corner to corner in the 4S and quickly settle into a satisfying rhythm, even though the powertrain offers few points of interaction beyond Porsche’s synthesised ‘Electric Sport Sound’ and the occasional (and actually quite engaging) driveline thunk as it switches between its two gear ratios. 

Rather than the performance, it’s the Taycan’s uncanny precision and accuracy that steals the show. When fitted with rear-axle steering, its responses are crisp and beautifully measured, allowing you to commit into an apex with one clean sweep of the wheel. The steering is perhaps a touch too heavy when loaded up but this gives a good sense of the forces transmitted through the tyres, and there’s even a hint of granular feel coming through the rim. The brakes don't feel as immediately intuitive, however; the pedal is light and springy initially and firms up once the friction brakes start to blend with the regen, so brushing off speed going into corners requires careful modulation. 

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Take liberties with the Taycan – all 2250kg of it – and it really starts to impress. The facelift introduces Porsche’s Active Ride tech that first appeared on the Panamera, which enables precise control of suspension forces at each corner of the car. It’s not a cheap option at £6291, but it’s very clever, doing away with conventional anti-roll bars and using electro-hydraulic pumps to regulate flow inside the dampers to compensate for pitch and roll. As a result, the body is extremely well supported and you don’t need to slow down your inputs to allow the weight to settle, which feels a bit alien in such a heavy car. The Taycan doesn’t feel light per se – you’re still conscious of the enormous forces the tyres are dealing with – but Active Ride makes use of all four contact patches by distributing the loads evenly across them, no matter what you throw at it. The (now standard) air suspension setup is impressively poised and flat to begin with, and Active Ride accentuates these qualities. 

Does this translate into a more entertaining driving experience? In some ways, yes. It gives you more confidence and encourages you to dig deeper into the Taycan’s abilities. But it does mean that the Taycan can feel slightly clinical in the way it picks apart a road, and it doesn’t offer as much gratification as Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 N with its more interactive driving experience and greater sense of fun. You need to work the Taycan hard – really hard – for it to feel alive. Reach the limit of the Goodyear Eagle F1s and the chassis feels stable and neutral; you get either a nibble of front-end push or a quick twist of oversteer, and while the Taycan does break away tidily, this feels like a by-product of provocation rather than a natural part of the cornering process. 

Admittedly, this won’t matter to most owners. For them, the fact that the Taycan is now better able to lean into its role as a long-distance electric GT will be more valuable. As well as the extra control, the Active Ride system allows the Taycan to flatten large bumps like a luxury saloon, and it wafts along more smoothly – and more quietly – than before. Where the new suspension isn't as effective is over broken surfaces and high-frequency bumps, which still resonate and vibrate through to the cabin. Switching to the softest damper setting introduces a touch of vertical movement at speed but doesn’t filter out this brittleness, and Sport mode feels like a better compromise. 

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Nothing much has changed inside the new Taycan, but that's no bad thing. Slide into the driver's seat – made easier with the Active Ride system’s ‘easy entry’ function, which boosts the car up on its springs by 55mm – and the Taycan has a genuine sense of occasion, with a small-diameter steering wheel and the peaks of the wheelarches extending into your view ahead. You don't sit as low as you do in a 911 (thank the floor-mounted batteries for that) but there's definite sports car DNA in the cocooned driving environment, and build quality is excellent throughout. If we had a criticism, it's that the Taycan still isn't as roomy as it should be for a five-metre saloon – the rear seats are claustrophobic for adults.

As is all too common in 2024, the Taycan’s control surfaces are almost entirely digital, but the climate controls are at least a permanent fixture on the lower pressure-based haptic display. Porsche's latest PCM infotainment system is one of the more intuitive on the market, and it gets Apple CarPlay+ functionality as part of the facelift, along with an updated charging planner to plot the most efficient and quickest points to top up during a journey. Speaking of which, the new Taycan has one more trick up its sleeve – it now accepts some of the fastest charging speeds on the market with a boost to 320kW capability. This enables a 10-80 per cent top-up in just 18 minutes, and the Taycan should charge more quickly than before in a broader range of temperature conditions thanks to its revised thermal management system. 

Price and rivals

Few EVs have the same broad spread of talents as the new Taycan, but you certainly pay the price for its abilities. The entry-level single-motor version now costs £86,500, but to get the very best out of the package, you need to specify the Performance Battery Plus (£4454) and rear-wheel steering (£1593). The Active Ride option becomes available when you step up to the £95,900 4S, and takes the price to over £100k when equipped. Want a Turbo? That’ll be £134,100, or an eye-widening £161,400 for the Turbo S. Unless you can’t live without a sub-3sec 0-62mph time, the 4S is a more sensible place to put your money.

BMW’s i5 M60 is a close match for the Taycan 4S in terms of price (£97,745) and power (593bhp), but it’s very different in character. It feels like a traditional fast saloon where the Taycan feels eminently more purposeful and sports car-like, but the pay-off is that the i5 has a more usable, spacious cabin. It’s also an excellent motorway car, but it’s impossible to ignore the Taycan’s dynamic breadth and enormous 106-mile range advantage. 

The Tesla Model S doesn’t come in right-hand drive in its latest guise, but the Taycan has it covered for quality, handling precision and comfort anyway. The Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 – all £114,750 of it – doesn’t operate at the same level as the Porsche either. In truth, it’s hard to think of anything that does.

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