The entry-level Porsche Taycan is an appealing combination, says Darren Cassey
Not too long ago, if you wanted a premium electric vehicle, your only option was a Tesla. However, the 2020s will be the decade where EVs become the norm as longer-established manufacturers flood the market with zero-emissions vehicles.
Porsche is one such company, leading the push with the Taycan, an electric four-door, four-seat coupe/saloon that’s been winning a lot of praise since its introduction in 2019. Now there’s a new ‘entry-level’ version that brings the price of entry down.
The key change here is the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) layout. Previous Taycan models have sent power to all four wheels, but this version has a single motor on the rear axle powering those wheels.
Aside from that it’s Taycan business as usual, with the new RWD getting the same updates for the 2021 model year as the rest of the range. This includes a new card- and app-free charging payment system, a colour head-up display, and 22kW on-board charger.
There are two battery options that result in two choices of power output from the single motor powertrain. The standard Taycan makes 317bhp and 345Nm of torque with a 268-mile range, while the Performance Battery Plus option makes 370bhp and 357Nm with a 301-mile range. Both take 5.2 seconds to 60mph and have a top speed of 143mph.
The high-performance all-wheel-drive Taycans accelerate like nothing else on the road, so even though this is the entry-level model it still feels incredibly quick when accelerating from a standstill. Meanwhile, its ultra-smooth power delivery makes for relaxing yet swift progress in everyday driving conditions.
Porsche built its reputation on producing cars that are fantastic to drive, whether they’re sports cars, SUVs, or in this case, electric vehicles. When driving around town or cruising on the motorway, the first thing you notice is the high levels of refinement. It’s whisper quiet inside and incredibly comfortable, soaking up road imperfections with very few bumps translated to the cabin.
However, it can transform from limousine to sports car at the drop of a hat. The steering that’s light around town offers just enough resistance to make an inviting B-road a blast. It feels fast, too, and although it doesn’t have the neck-snapping acceleration of more expensive models, it has more than enough on tap to bring a smile to your face.
Porsche has done a fantastic job of giving the Taycan a new age look without straying too far from its brand image – it’s still unmistakably a Porsche. The front end is arguably a bit more controversial, with the bug-eye headlights and vertical slats, but there’s no mistaking it for anything else.
Aside from that, it has some gorgeous curves, with subtly flared arches, massive alloy wheels that fill the arches, and a sleek full-width taillight that offers a futuristic light signature at night.
The moment you drop into the Taycan it’s clear it’s built by a company best-known for its sports cars. You sit low, with the dashboard and centre console wrapping around you and your legs stretched out far ahead. However, the low dashboard and windows means that even with the seat at its lowest setting the visibility is great.
The materials are great, too, feeling soft to the touch but also like they’re built to last. Perhaps the only complaint is that the infotainment graphics feel a bit outdated, the main screen is quite small, and it’s not particularly intuitive to use. Meanwhile, the lower screen is bizarrely underused, with a lot of dead space.
It’s also worth noting that that while the sleek, coupe-like shape gives the Taycan a stunning silhouette, rear passenger headroom is somewhat limited, though anyone under six feet shouldn’t have too much issue.
The standard Taycan comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a choice of three leather interior colour combinations, sport mode with launch control, LED headlights, LED interior lighting and front comfort seats.
There are dozens of optional extras, such as 19-, 20- and 21-inch alloy wheel options, leather upholstery upgrades, sports seats and exterior trim upgrades.
One of the entry-level Taycan’s best tricks is that it doesn’t feel like an entry-level model. It has the same premium ambience of models much higher in the range, as well as retaining that incredibly comfortable yet rapid performance.
If ludicrous acceleration and the security of all-wheel-drive is not vital, the Porsche Taycan RWD makes a compelling case for itself as the best value-for-money option in the range.