New Porsche Taycan RWD 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the new entry-level all-electric Porsche Taycan

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Verdict

The rear-drive Taycan’s lower price makes it even more appealing than the more expensive editions, since it never feels anything but plenty quick enough for British roads anyway, and the beautiful cabin quality remains. We feel inclined to hold off on a full five-star verdict, though, until we get a chance to try this model in proper entry-level spec, with its lower-powered motor and conventional steel-springs suspension.

We’ve already been mightily impressed by Porsche’s first pure-electric car, the Taycan, in its higher-end, four-wheel-drive forms. But now the model is available as a rear-wheel-drive variant, with a far more appealing price tag that means this car starts at roughly the same point as Porsche’s more conventional super-saloon, the Panamera.

UK customers actually bought more Taycans than any other Porsche in 2020, with the exception of the Macan SUV. So a further broadening of the range is significant for the brand, especially because the new price tag, starting at £70,000, pitches this model neatly just under Tesla’s Model S, and right in the mix of I-Paces that Jaguar currently offers.

The base Taycan has a single electric motor producing 322bhp, but the system can ‘overboost’ to deliver 402bhp for a short period of time. The standard battery size is 79.2kWh – good, Porsche claims, for a range of 268 miles between charges.

Our left-hand-drive test car, though, had the optional Performance Battery Plus, which takes that capacity up to 92.4kWh (83.7kWh usable, delivering 300 miles of range) and boosts the electric motor’s two outputs to 375bhp and 469bhp. Regardless of whether this option is fitted or not, the Taycan’s starting point has the same 0-62mph time of 5.4 seconds.

Other compromises you’ll be required to make to get your electric Porsche down to this price include mere 19-inch alloys, smaller brakes and steel springs instead of air suspension. A little frustratingly, however, our test car had the more sophisticated set-up fitted as an option.

The enthusiasts among you will be hoping that the rear-drive Taycan offers an even purer driving experience than the four-wheel-drive versions. The difference isn’t perhaps quite so pronounced as you’d expect, but it’s there nevertheless; this Taycan has a glorious directness to its steering, allowing you to revel in what are still colossal levels of front-end grip.

Factor in the astonishing compromise of ride quality and body control, and you have a car that revels in changes of direction, demolishing fast, sweeping corners with wallops of instant EV torque. Again, we must point out that our test vehicle had rear-axle steering and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) fitted as options.

Even so, our drive took place on sodden, greasy roads, the sort of conditions where a switch to rear-drive and instant electric-motor torque might not sound ideal. But the throttle modulation is a technical tour de force, never feeling anything but instant in its response, and yet superbly linear with it. As a result of this and the car’s core chassis strengths, it takes extreme provocation – properly mashing the right-hand pedal at low speeds and with lots of steering lock applied – to get the rear end unstuck.

The car’s refined when it needs to be, too, with a distant whine from the electric motor under hard acceleration probably the worst offender. The 19-inch alloys make less road noise than the larger items fitted higher up the range, and the Taycan’s ability to mop up road imperfections is undimmed here.

Inside, the entry-level Taycan still feels brilliantly well executed, with fine materials throughout and lots of space for five people. The same basic configuration remains, with a crystal-clear digital instrument panel and a fast, responsive infotainment system.

Model:Porsche Taycan
Price:£74,739 (Performance Battery Plus pack)
Engine:Single electric motor, 83.7kWh net battery
Power/torque:375bhp/357Nm
Transmission:Two-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive 
0-62mph:5.4 seconds
Top speed:143mph
Range:300 miles
Max charging:270kW
On sale:Now

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