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2020 Porsche Taycan vs Tesla Model S

28472 Views 51 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Axiom

The Tesla Model S has gone unopposed in the full sized electric sedan segment for years, but that’s about to change. With incredible performance, class-leading technology, and sleek styling, the Model S has played a huge role in changing the perception of electric vehicles as a whole. It redefined what a battery powered car was capable of, and other brands have taken notice. With the Taycan, Porsche is hoping to prove that a legacy automaker can do it better.

Originally the Model S was released as an RWD but today all variants of the car are available with dual motor AWD. Whereas the Model S uses a three-phase four pole AC induction motors, Porsche will be using their permanently synchronous motors in the Taycan, which have been derived from the 919 Hybrid race car.

One of the most vital components in these two performance EV’s is the battery pack. Tesla’s has set some incredible benchmarks with their batteries, but they have announced that the smaller 75 kWh battery will be discontinued and the 100 kWh pack will be the new standard. This allows the 100D to reach up to 315 miles per charge and is supported by their 120 kW Supercharger Network, which has roughly 11,000 stations worldwide.

The Taycan will also use lithium-ion batteries and the 800-volt battery pack has been rated at 310 miles on a full charge. Rapid charging has been a focal point for Porsche and with speeds upwards of 350 kW through the developing IONITY Network, the Taycan will become the fastest charging EV on the market.

The P100D with its Ludicrous Mode upgrade boasts an incredible 0-60 mph time of just 2.4 seconds. While Porsche hasn’t mentioned if the Taycan will have some form over overboost functionality, they claim a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. Both have a software limited top speed of 155 mph.

In top spec, the Model S P100D makes 762 horsepower and 687 lb-ft of torque. Porsche hasn’t announced torque numbers for the Taycan, but least one variant has been rated at 600 hp.

The Model S starts from $95,000 for the 100D model, with the performance-focused P100D set at $133,000. Pricing for the Taycan is expected to start in the low $90,000 range for the entry-level rear-wheel-drive model. On the high end, we expect the Taycan Turbo will surpass $130,000.

With these two EV’s being set so closely in price and specs, deciding between them may come down to badge preference and availability. Porsche has long been known for their flawless build quality and that may be the most apparent difference between these two cars. Once the Taycan finally arrives, we will have a better idea of which can claim the title of best performance EV.


  • Porsche Taycan: The Porsche Taycan has not yet been unveiled yet, so it’s hard to compare its design to the Model S, but spy shots show it will take on a similar fastback sedan shape to the Model S. It will be a bit wider and flatter when viewed from the front or back, though, which makes sense given that Porsche want this car to perform well not only on the road, but on the racetrack too. The Porsche Mission E Concept (above), which previewed the Taycan, also gives us some hints as to what the production Taycan will look like.
  • Tesla Model S: The Tesla Model S is a handsome, carefully styled sedan that has aged extremely well. We think the Model S is one of the better-looking sedans on sale today and is certainly the best-looking mass-market EV. It’s hard to fault the Model S’s styling, although it could perhaps use an exterior update and some new options such as different wheels.
  • Bottom Line: The Taycan is shaping up to be fairly imposing with its wide, flat stance. The Model S will probably look less sporty by comparison and thus more mature. It’s hard to draw a conclusion here without having seen the production Taycan, though, so let’s wait and see what Porsche has in store for its first EV.

  • Porsche Taycan: The Porsche Taycan will probably have comparable interior dimensions to your average sedan. EVs are typically a bit tighter inside than internal combustion engine cars due to the batteries, though, which is something to consider if you are a first-time EV buyer. It’s expected to have room for four passengers in a layout similar to the Porsche Panamera’s available 2+2 seating layout. A rear liftback will provide access to a sizable luggage compartment. The above image is of the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept’s interior. Porsche is known for having impeccable interiors, and the Taycan will be no different.
  • Tesla Model S: The Tesla Model S has 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 58.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. It has front headroom of 38.8 inches and front legroom of 42.7 inches, along with rear headroom of 35.3 inches and rear legroom of 35.4 inches. All in all, the Model S is a well-packaged five-person, four-door sedan that is extremely practical — especially for an EV.
  • Bottom Line: It does seem as though the Model S will be more practical than the Porsche Taycan. With what appears to be a larger footprint and more traditional sedan packaging, the Model S will probably have a bit more cargo space and bit more room for passengers than the Taycan, but perhaps Porsche will surprise us.

  • Porsche Taycan: We will have to wait until the Porsche Taycan debuts for the official powertrain statistics, but Porsche has already hinted at what to expect. One version of the sedan, called the Taycan Turbo, will have two permanently excited electric motors that together make 600 hp and propel the sedan from 0-60 mph in around 3.5s. The Taycan also will have a lithium-ion battery pack that provides a Porsche-estimated range of 310 miles, along with an 800V fast-charging system that can add nearly 250 miles of range to the car in around 15 minutes. Porsche has also made it a priority to ensure the car’s battery electric powertrain does not heat on the track or in spirited driving scenarios. Porsche will probably sell two or three different versions of the Taycan, offering different amounts of range and varying levels of performance. The base model is also expected to be rear-wheel drive, while better-equipped versions will be all-wheel drive.
  • Tesla Model S: The Tesla Model S is offered in two versions: 100D and P100D. The 100D has two electric motors that are good for a combined output of 417 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque, which can take the sedan from 0-60 mph in 4.1s and on to a top speed of 155 mph. With a 100 kWh battery pack, the Model S 100D has an EPA-estimated range of 335 miles. The P100D, meanwhile, makes 762 hp and 687 lb-ft of torque thanks to a more powerful rear performance motor. This is enough to take the sedan from 0-60 mph in around 2.5s and on to the same top speed of 155 mph. The Model S P100D is, simply put, one of the fastest accelerating production cars on the planet and an extremely impressive offering from a brand that has never before made a performance sedan.
  • Bottom Line: The Porsche Taycan will be an extremely fast car and should perform better than the Tesla Model S on a racetrack, but Porsche will have trouble beating the Model S in a 0-60 mph sprint. Tesla’s electric performance motors, along with the software that runs them, were a step ahead of what many automakers were capable of when introduced and to be honest, not much has changed over the years. If you like nice handling and refined driving characteristics, the Taycan will probably be for you. If you just want to accelerate fast, the Model S may be the preferred vehicle of choice.

Driving Dynamics
  • Porsche Taycan: This is another area that’s impossible to judge the Taycan on without anyone having driven it. Porsche has been spotted putting the EV through its paces at the Nurburgring, though, and hopes the sedan can complete more than a single lap of the daunting circuit before having to come in to cool off its motors and batteries. This will be the first mass-produced EV that’s truly meant for the track, it seems. Porsches are nothing if they can’t perform and have truly excellent driving dynamics, and we think the Taycan will live up to or exceed expectations in this area.
  • Tesla Model S: We haven’t driven the Model S since 2013 and the sedan has received quite a few updates since then. Even back then, though, we said the Model S “glides over even harsh surfaces, and yet when you throw it into corners, it handles very well.” Our reviewer also said that “Tesla has worked hard on sorting this car out and it shows.” While some new luxury cars with more advanced suspension systems will ride better, the Model S drive solid, and you will never tire of a Tesla’s instantaneous torque, either.
  • Bottom Line: This is impossible to judge right now. We’re expecting the Taycan to be stiffer and sportier than the slightly squidgy Model S, but we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Porsche Taycan: This is where the Taycan may blow the Model S out of the water. The Taycan will be a much more up to date and recent product when it debuts, so it will probably have more advanced in-car entertainment technology. A large vertically mounted touchscreen is expected to occupy the center console, which will be joined be a large digital dashboard display. A multi-function steering wheel with scrolling wheels similar to the Tesla Model 3’s is expected as well. A suite of semi-autonomous functions will likely be standard, but we’ll have to wait for Porsche’s announcement for official details.
  • Tesla Model S: The Model S still has impressive technology despite its age. With a large 17-inch tablet display occupying the dashboard, a digital dash display, and an available Autopilot semi-autonomous driving function, it’s certainly not hurting in the tech department. German manufacturers have nicer-feeling infotainment displays and things like driver monitoring systems with eye tracking, though, which would be great to see on the Model S. A head-up display is always good to see on performance cars as well, Tesla.
  • Bottom Line: Both of these cars come with advanced technology, although the Taycan’s will be more up-to-date when it arrives with more recent digital display screens and other new hardware. The Model S could use an update to get higher resolution screens and other features that new luxury cars have, in our opinion, especially at this price point.

  • Porsche Taycan: Prices for the Porsche Taycan are expected to start in the low $90,000 range for the standard rear-wheel drive model, with the dual-motor version costing in the high $90,000 range, most likely. Prices for the range-topping Taycan Turbo are anybody’s guess, but $150,000-$200,000 seems like a reasonable estimate. Porsche options also add up quickly.
  • Tesla Model S: The Tesla Model S starts at $95,000 for the 100D model, with the performance-focused P100D starting from $133,000. Minimal options are available as well, with the most expensive being the Enhanced Autopilot system for $5,000.
  • Bottom Line: The Model S will probably prove to be the less expensive vehicle. While base prices are similar, Porsche’s options are notoriously expensive, so Taycans with any amount of equipment on them will probably sell for $100,000 or more, but again, we’ll have to wait and see.

The Verdict: Porsche Taycan vs Tesla Model S
It’s hard to come to conclusion between the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan right now. As it stands, with the Taycan still yet to debut, the Porsche seems to the sportier and more handling-focused offering, while the Model S may have superior everyday usability and slightly longer range in 100D form. The Model S P100D may be quicker accelerating than the Taycan Turbo as well, but we’ll have to wait and see who comes out on top in that regard, too. Porsche build quality is also impeccable, while Tesla has run into issues with its quality control in the past.

These two will also be priced similarly, it seems, so the decision may come down to which brand you like better and which car is better suited to your lifestyle. Be sure to check back to this story later this year, which will we update following the debut of the Porsche Taycan

8 New Things We Now Know About the Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan Getting Close to Challenging Tesla Model S
Porsche's CEO revealed some interesting details about the upcoming all electric sedan now called Taycan and the plans of the brand to compete with Tesla's comparable sedan Model S. Let's talk about it as I take your questions and comments during the LIVE stream!

2020 Porsche TAYCAN VS Tesla Model S
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Tesla's new V3 Superchargers are claiming to reduce charging times by up to 50% and I think beta sites are starting to go up at some point next month. This will bring it much closer to the speeds were seeing from new networks. Will take new brands awhile to reach the same level of coverage though.
Tesla's new V3 Superchargers are claiming to reduce charging times by up to 50% and I think beta sites are starting to go up at some point next month. This will bring it much closer to the speeds were seeing from new networks. Will take new brands awhile to reach the same level of coverage though.
I think that the Supercharger network is probably the best reason to get a Tesla, but Porsche is building up their network fast.

Tesla currently has 1,375 Supercharger Stations

Porsche has said they'll have 327 by the middle of this year
Easy choice, get the Taycan if you care about having a consistent experience. Teslas can be unpredictable. They only caught on cause well... what other option did we have? None.
Easy choice, get the Taycan if you care about having a consistent experience. Teslas can be unpredictable. They only caught on cause well... what other option did we have? None.
I am definitely getting the Taycan, but I would NOT slam the Tesla. I live in the intern area of Atlanta (Midtown) and Teslas are very popular, so I always talk to owners. ALL are EXTREMELY happy with their car, saying this is the best or favorite car they have ever owned!! Almost everyone is a former BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus or Priius owners. So customer satisfaction is VERY high, which will lead to brand loyalty on the long run (if Tesla survives the growing pains, which of course I hope it does!)
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I am definitely getting the Taycan, but I would NOT slam the Tesla. I live in the intern area of Atlanta (Midtown) and Teslas are very popular, so I always talk to owners. ALL are EXTREMELY happy with their car, saying this is the best or favorite car they have ever owned!! Almost everyone is a former BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus or Priius owners. So customer satisfaction is VERY high, which will lead to brand loyalty on the long run (if Tesla survives the growing pains, which of course I hope it does!)
I agree.

There won't be any "better" EV... just what suits you. To some that will be with Tesla that doesn't have to abide by the corporate limitations that Porsche does.
Porsche... if you already love Porsche's :grin:
So it turns out Tesla owners make a big bulk of people pre-ordering Taycan's. Unless Tesla has big things planned for the next-generation Model S, it can end very bad for them. Klaus Zellmer, the head of Porsche North America brought it up saying “More than half of the people that are signing up for the Taycan have not owned or do not own a Porsche. Typically, if we look at our source of business, people coming from other brands, it’s Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. The no. 1 brand now is Tesla. That’s pretty interesting, to see that people that were curious about the Tesla for very good reasons obviously don’t stop being curious.”

Zellmer also made it known how impressed he was by Tesla's accomplishments: “If you look at what Tesla has done, if you look at their volume and look at their price level, it’s truly astonishing. If you can do that with one brand and a sales network that is not comprised of dealers and a real sales organization, it’s even more astonishing.” But I think that's easy to say when Tesla competes in a slightly different space and can't compete on the same level.

Even though Porsche says ‘Tesla is not a benchmark for us’ doesn't anyone find it weird that spy pictures and videos show various Tesla products testing alongside Taycan mules? Like this video showing a Model X.

THE ONLY THING anyone can say for sure with their hand on their heart is, no Tesla product can offer the same feeling as a Porsche. Knowing Porsche will make the Taycan feel like a 911 gives it a major edge, as Porsche confirmed “I have absolute respect for the courage of Elon Musk and also for his innovation and pioneering spirit. I like that. The pioneering spirit is a characteristic that also shapes us at Porsche. However, Tesla has taken a different approach in many places. When we set up a new Porsche, we always set the standard for ourselves: the Taycan has to drive like the 911.”

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@porscheholic this industry, like any industry, is like a game of chess. Now that the major players are making their moves I expect Tesla to as well.

Interior is a big issue for me. Tesla's are too boring but this speculative rendering of a 2022 Tesla Model S could turn things around.

2019 Panamera Interior

2022 Tesla Model S Interior
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Tesla has a good vision of electric cars in the future, but I think Porsche will continue to innovate. we'll wait for next year.
Tesla has a good vision of electric cars in the future, but I think Porsche will continue to innovate. we'll wait for next year.
Well established automakers always have the bigger edge but there's still lots of room for newer brands like Tesla to find success.

Further helping Porsche's end is now a broader variety of Ionity fast charging stations as I found out in an autocar article...

Ionity to expand EV fast charger network at Extra services
350kW fast chargers to be installed at eight of Extra's motorway service stations

EV charging network Ionity, backed by BMW, Daimler, Ford and the VW Group, has partnered with Extra MSA Group to expand its network of fast chargers at motorway service stations across the UK.

Up to six 350kW fast chargers will be installed at eight Extra’s motorway service areas, starting this year with the company’s £60m Skelton Lake, Leeds facility on the M1 motorway.

The scheme will later take in Extra's services at Cobham, Cambridge, Beaconsfield, Cullompton, Blackburn, Baldock and Peterborough.

Ionity says its 350kW fast chargers, first deployed in the UK last month in Kent, are capable of charging vehicles in less than 20 minutes, although no mass production EV is yet capable of charging at this speed.

Audi’s new E-tron electric SUV is currently the fastest charging EV on the market, at 150kW. The new Porsche Taycan, launching next year, will be the first production electric car capable of a 350kW charge rate.

The company said: “Due to their 350kW capacity and the strategic positioning of its stations, Ionity's network will make EV travel across the UK and Europe a truly hassle-free experience.”

The network aims to have opened 40 fast charging stations across the UK and 2400 charging points across Europe by the end of 2020.

Recently, Tesla unveiled a new generation of its Supercharger EV charging point, promising charge rates of 1000 miles or range per hour, and 75 miles in five minutes. The highest-speed superchargers will only be compatible with certain versions of the Tesla Model 3.

BP Chargemaster, the UK’s biggest provider of EV infrastructure, is planning to install 400 points capable of ultra-fast 150kW charging (the current maximum speed) across the UK by 2021.
The pricing and specs for the S have changed. Now range is 370 epa rated miles for the base long range, 345 for the performance model. Pricing also starts at $79,990 for the long range and $99,990 for the performance with Ludicrous mode.
A well known EV youtube channel posted a video breaking down where the Taycan should sit among its competition once released and the result was, below Tesla Model S. The main argument being value and I side with him on that point. Also like mentioned, we'll have to wait for the big event in Sept for more details.

I'm not only after value, so don't think i'll jump ship to Tesla.

Snipped some comparison charts from the video are included after the video.

How will the Porsche Taycan stack up to the Model S?


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Interesting on the charts that the Taycan 4S and the Turbo both have the same size battery’s at 408 cells yet the 4S is rated at 429 HP and the Turbo at 600 HP. Is this one of those situations where the 4S software is written to throttle the HP down when in actuality it could be tuned for 600 HP like the Turbo?
No, it's likely a different motor.
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No, it's likely a different motor.
Very true and this makes even more sense as you compare existing 4S and Turbo models.
This Taycan vs Model S infographic makes it very clear which one to go with.

Much like what we've seen with ICE cars in the past, this is no different. You simply pay a premium to get a well sorted car versus some key specs of that well sorted car in a cheaper package. As a result, the demographics of Model S and Taycan buyers will be drastically different.

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This Taycan vs Model S infographic makes it very clear which one to go with.

Much like what we've seen with ICE cars in the past, this is no different. You simply pay a premium to get a well sorted car versus some key specs of that well sorted car in a cheaper package. As a result, the demographics of Model S and Taycan buyers will be drastically different.

View attachment 524
In response to my mention of demographics of both owner types...


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Wondering about everyday practicality? Well its... Porsche Taycan: 0 - Tesla Model S: 1

Porsche Taycan — Power Hungry, Slower To Charge Than Tesla Model S (Most Of The Time)
By Simon Barke
After the unveiling of the new Porsche Taycan yesterday, analysts were quick to call the only electric competitor (the Tesla Model S) “ancient in comparison,” pointing out the “pathbreaking” 800 volt system that “slashes recharging times.” It is true that a higher system voltage can reduce charging times: you can feed more power to the battery without increasing the charge current. But just how good is Porsche’s implementation?

If you want to reduce charging times for electric cars, you can either increase the maximum charge power, or make the car more efficient. Ideally, you do both. Unfortunately, Volkswagen Group has some troubled history with efficient vehicles. It recently settled a lawsuit after it was uncovered that Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen vehicles contained illegal cheat software to exaggerate efficiency on test stands. The Audi e-tron remains one of the least efficient electric cars on the market. The new Porsche does not fare much better. If fact, it fares much worse.

Based on the European WLTP test cycle, the Taycan “Turbo S” requires 111 kWh to recharge its battery, providing a total range of 256 miles. That’s 2.3 miles per kWh, worse than e-tron’s 2.6 miles per kWh. Compare that to the Tesla Model S “Performance” with an WLTP efficiency of 3.3 miles per kWh and you see how efficient large electric sport sedans can be. The Model S is even quicker than the highest end Taycan, while the Taycan “Turbo” is only marginally faster than the Tesla Model 3 “Performance,” a car as efficient as 3.7 miles per kWh. (Fun fact: the Model 3 “Performance” causes 40% less CO2-eq emissions during electricity production than the Taycan “Turbo S.”)
All rights to Simon Barke /CT
Bad efficiency has an adverse effect on charge speeds. As a countermeasure, Porsche implemented an 800 volt system that can handle impressive charging powers of up to 270 kW. The stated “5 to 80% in 22.5 minutes” recharge time can only be explained if the Taycan manages to keep the 270 kW up for at least half the charging cycle. We can use this information to estimate an idealized charging profile under optimal conditions. When you compare this to Tesla’s charging profiles, the advantage of the 800 volt system becomes visible: the Model S can only maintain its maximum rating of 200 kW for the first 20–30% of the charging cycle. The same is true for the Model 3’s 250 kW charge power. (The Tesla profiles are idealized curves from real-world data that was taken during Supercharger V3 beta testing and might have improved slightly since then.)
All rights to Simon Barke /CT
Keep in mind that only a handful of DC fast chargers can provide such high power. In the US, there are ten 250 kW Supercharger V3 stations available or under construction, while all other 690 stations are still limited to 150 kW but may be upgraded in the future. Although the overall charging infrastructure for the Taycan is not as good yet, there are way more stations that support the full charge power. 229 Electrify America locations that are able to provide up to 350 kW are operational today, and 71 more are planned by the end of the year.

When you know the efficiency of a car, you can translate the charge power (kWh) to charge speed (miles of range added per hour of charge). At the same time, you can scale the battery state of charge (%) to vehicle range (miles) when you know the total range. If you do that, you see that the bad efficiency and short range of the Taycan removes its charge power advantage. There is only a small area where the Taycan comes out on top. The Model S is faster during most of the charging cycle. Unsurprisingly, the Model 3 dominates the Taycan entirely.
All rights to Simon Barke /CT
Calculating actual charge times is tricky. Essentially, you have to integrate the inverse of the charge speed (time it takes to add range) over a certain range interval. If the battery is almost full, the time required to add more range increases significantly. For that reason, most manufacturers provide the time it takes to charge the battery to 80% or similar. However, if you want to compare different cars, we need to calculate the time it takes to add range. Let’s say you pull up to the charger with 20 miles of range left. How long does it take you to add 80, 130, 180, or 230 miles?

While the Model 3 is arguably the fastest charging electric car available to date, the Taycan “Turbo S” and the Model S “Performance” are actually head to head in terms of charge time — until the 200 mile mark. While the Model S continues to add more range at a high speed, the Taycan falls off rapidly. This is no surprise: after 230 miles of range added, the Porsche’s state of charge reaches 97% and the charge speed comes to a crawl. Tesla’s battery provides the same range at just 67% state of charge and hence can accept more energy much faster.

Notes regarding the assumptions: All figures are based on the European WLTP test cycle and idealized charge powers under optimal conditions. All charge profiles are simplified models. The Taycan’s charge speeds are estimates based on provided charge times. The Model S and Model 3 charge speeds are based on early Supercharger V3 beta tests. Tesla was unable to provide official charge profiles. Porsche did not respond to an inquiry.

If Volkswagen Group wants to stay competitive, it needs to start caring about efficiency. High-voltage systems and sophisticated charge profiles are workarounds that not only result in more expensive cars but also higher emissions. Is there any hope? Yes. It is believed that the upcoming VW ID.3 might actually be a very efficient car. Will the Porsche Taycan be Volkswagen’s final misstep toward a cleaner future?
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concise metrics on battery packs, horsepower/torque, performance, battery range and price


Battery Packs
Tesla Model S100-kWh battery: 311 kW–451 kW power output
Tesla Model 375-kWh battery; n/a power output
Porsche Taycan93-kWh battery, 620 kW power output (Performance Battery Plus)

Horsepower + Torque
Tesla Model SPower: 259 hp front, 503 hp rear; 680 hp combined
Torque: 277 lb-ft front, 525 lb-ft rear; 791 lb-ft combined
Tesla Model 3Power: 197 hp front, 283 hp rear; 450 hp combined
Torque: 471 lb-ft combined
Porsche TaycanPower: 616 hp (w/ temporary overboost: Turbo, 670 hp; Turbo S, 750 hp)
Torque w/ temporary overboost: Turbo, 626 lb-ft; Turbo S, 774 lb-ft)

0–60 MPH1/4-MileTop Speed
Tesla Model S P100D2.3 sec10.5 sec163 mph
Tesla Model 3 Performance3.2 sec11.8 sec162 mph
Porsche Taycan Turbo3.0 sec11.1 sec162 mph
Porsche Taycan Turbo S2.6 sec10.8 sec162 mph

Battery Range
Tesla Model S345 mi (EPA)
Tesla Model S 100D Long Range370 mi (EPA)
Tesla Model 3 AWD310 mi (EPA)
Porsche Taycan Turbo236–279 mi (WLTP, converted from km)
Porsche Taycan Turbo S256 mi (WLTP, converted from km)

Pricing (MSRP)
Tesla Model S P100D$101,190
Tesla Model S Long Range$81,190
Tesla Model 3 AWD Performance$57,190
Porsche Taycan Turbo$152,250
Porsche Taycan Turbo S$186,350
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The Taycan vs Model S battle also continues on Twitter which should get interesting as it might push Elon or Porsche PR guy to push more info.

Porsche On Tesla Nürburgring Rivalry And Elon Musk: Thanks For The P.R. But Bring It On

David Tracy

Yesterday 2:05pm
Art: Jason Torchinsky. Photos: David Tracy

Art: Jason Torchinsky. Photos: David Tracy
I just drove the Porsche Taycan, and though I can’t give you a full review until later, I can say what the Porsche Taycan’s P.R. Manager told me at dinner about Tesla’s Nürburgring record attempts and Elon Musk’s Porsche Taycan-related tweets. As he pointed out, Tesla has helped Porsche more than it hurt it.
By now you’re probably all aware that, following Porsche’s claim that its new Taycan electric sports sedan had set the Nürburgring lap record for a four-door electric vehicle, Tesla boss Elon Musk went into competitive mode. The company devoted multiple Model Ss to Germany’s greatest test track to see what they could do. Strangeness ensued. Tesla apparently neglected to book exclusive track time for a record attempt; Musk declared that that the car attempting to set the record was actually a seven-seater featuring a prototype dual rear motor setup called “plaid mode”; a Porsche Taycan drove past the Model S when it apparently broke down during testing; Tesla installed Superchargers at the Nurburgring after reportedly annoying local residents with a loud diesel generator that charged the test car; and ultimately Tesla set a damn impressive unofficial lap time.

This all came after Musk jokingly tweeted at Porsche about the Stuttgart-based brand’s use of “turbo” as a name for a vehicle that doesn’t actually contain a turbocharger.

Since I found myself sitting across from the Porsche Taycan’s P.R. manager, Mayk Wienkötter, last week, I had to ask him about all of this. The first thing I wanted to know was what he thought about Elon’s tweets. “Free P.R. for us,” he told me. “I’m not sure everyone was aware of the Taycan,” he continued, mentioning Musk’s enormous Twitter following.
I also asked whether Porsche planned to respond to Tesla’s recent unofficial lap time, which was set by a pre-production Model S and which undercut the Taycan’s lap by roughly 20 seconds.

Wienkötter said Porsche is a highly competitive brand when it comes to racing, but that it doesn’t plan to make a one-off car just to beat Tesla, as Porsche is focused first and foremost on launching the Taycan. Plus, he said, Porsche wants to make sure its comparing “apples to apples.” The P.R. manager said it’s not clear if the Model S that ran the Nürburgring contained standard production-intent components like suspension parts, brakes, cooling, and tires. Plus, he mentioned that he doesn’t know what sacrifices Tesla had to make to score that lap, with Wienkötter specifically mentioning battery longevity.

With that said, if Tesla does release a production vehicle that outdoes the Taycan’s lap, Porsche will respond, with Wienkötter saying: “We will definitely try to give an answer,” before saying: “If another apple is better than our apple, we will have to find an answer.” The manager didn’t mention exactly how Porsche would go about answering. When I asked if Porsche was planning a dual rear-motor Taycan, Wienkötter answered with a negative.

“Turbo S,” he said, “is really the pinnacle of the model,” he said before stating outright that there is no dual motor or high-performance variant of the Taycan currently in the plans. Porsche’s project manager for the Taycan’s high voltage systems, Benjamin Passenberg cited space, weight, and cost as three factors working against a dual rear-motor Taycan.

What about the Porsche Taycan Turbo S? According to Porsche, the model that set the Nürburgring lap record was actually a well-equipped Turbo, which offers less peak power than the Turbo S, specifically in launch control mode. Is it possible that the Turbo S could set a new record or even beat the figure that the Tesla set?

After I asked if the Turbo S could be 20 seconds faster than the Turbo, Wienkötter responded said “Doubt it. Twenty seconds is a lot,” and went on to mention that, though there’s still some room for improvement, the Turbo and Turbo S are positioned really closely, and that “the gap you would gain [with a Turbo S over a Turbo] is not that significant.”

So really, it seems like Porsche is cool with Elon’s tweets since it gives their car more exposure, but they’re not cool with getting beaten by Tesla if that Tesla is an actual production car and not a one-off. For now, it seems, Porsche’s focusing on launching the Taycan.

But when Tesla launches plaid mode in the Model S (it’s expected to enter production in about a year), if that car outdoes the Taycan, you can expect a response from Stuttgart, though I have no clue what that response will be. All I know is that the prospect of an electric sports car engineering showdown between Porsche and Tesla is one of the most exciting things I can even imagine.
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