First Drive: 2020 Porsche Taycan Is a High-Priced Alternative to the Tesla Model S

This electric sports car is a new age machine

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S front view.

Porsche’s Taycan is the first major challenger to take on the Tesla Model S, the granddaddy of luxury electric vehicles (EVs). The 2020 Porsche Taycan is a low-slung four-door sedan with a dose of practicality. With it’s bulging fenders and four-eye headlights it also looks like nothing else on the road, short of exotic cars in the multi-hundred-thousand or even million-dollar price categories. In fact, it’s so distinctive that we’ve noticed Model S owners often slow down to check it out.

Of course, unlike the Model S, and other Teslas, there aren’t many Taycans around. The car just debuted for the 2020 model year, and just under 1,100 were delivered to owners in the U.S. in the first half of this year.

Like most Porsches, the prices start high and can quickly reach stratospheric heights. The 2020 Porsche Taycan makes the Model S look like a bargain. The Taycan 4S starts at $103,800, while the Turbo starts at $150,900 and the Turbo S starts at $185,000. (EVs don't have turbochargers, so it's just a name.) Both the Turbo and Turbo S are more powerful and quicker than the 4S, with a top speed of 161 mph, compared with “just” 155 mph for the 4S.

The 4S version has an EPA-rated range of 203 miles. The Turbo and Turbo S get 201 and 192 miles, respectively. 

So far we’ve been feeling out the range limits of the Taycan while putting on miles before it goes into the instrumented portion of our test program. While no other manufacturer has a charging infrastructure like the Tesla Supercharger network, Porsche does include three years of free 30-minute charging sessions on the Electrify America network of chargers (Audi includes this for E-Tron owners, too).

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If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial assessment of the Porsche Taycan is available to you here. We plan to put it through more than 50 tests at CR's Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

If you haven’t signed up yet, click below and become a member to access this full article and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and appliances, among others.

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What we bought: 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S
Powertrain: 562 hp combined from two electric motors; 1-speed direct drive; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $103,800
Options: Carrera white metallic paint ($800); heated steering wheel ($280); 20-inch Taycan Turbo Aero wheels ($2,380); front and rear heated seats ($530); rear 2+1 seats ($480); power folding exterior mirrors ($330); Porsche electric sport sound ($500); Performance Battery Plus ($6,580); mobile charger connect ($1,120); adaptive cruise control ($2,050); Premium package ($7,170); massage seat with ventilation upgrade ($1,150)
Total options: $23,370
Destination fee: $1,350
Total cost: $128,520

CR's Take

In true Porsche fashion, the Taycan is a thoroughly enjoyable driving machine. It tackles corners with athleticism and yet the ride is remarkably comfortable. Of course it’s whisper quiet, supplying its prodigious power in a silent punch—although that can be changed at the touch of a button with the optional Porsche Electric Sport Sound feature. With its fold-down rear seat, two trunks, and five seating positions the car also has a measure of practicality. So far we have found that the range estimate is on the conservative side. For all of the high-tech features and dashing exterior style, there’s a distinct lack of glitz or opulence inside, particularly for the car’s price. 

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