The all-electric 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S arrives just six months after the debut of the celebrated Taycan Turbo and Turbo S models. The new four-door sedan, which undercuts the premium models by nearly $50,000, shares the same chassis, front motor and suspension as its more powerful siblings, but it arrives with an abbreviated standard features list, slightly less power, and a choice between two battery capacities.
As expected, performance is down somewhat compared to the Turbo and Turbo S model. But as we learned during our recent first drive, most automotive enthusiasts will consider the Taycan 4S model the ideal balance of performance to price in the growing Taycan lineup.
Seating for up to five
In terms of physical stature, the Taycan is slightly smaller than the Porsche Panamera in exterior and interior dimensions. But don’t let that dissuade those who are seeking a comfortable 4-passenger sedan, as the combustion-free Taycan 4S is a nice fit loaded with adults in its standard four-place configuration. Five passenger seating is offered, but adding the middle seat makes the rear row uncomfortably crowded – the cabin will be cramped. Families with small children will likely be better suited by one of Porsche’s crossover offerings, such as the Macan or Cayenne.
Lacking a combustion engine in the nose, utility and carrying capacity is improved by the front-mounted trunk, or “frunk,” which complements the traditional rear trunk. Both are capable of holding traveling bags, and golf clubs fit in the rear, but neither cargo area is spacious enough to accommodate large items (e.g., a bicycle with just one of its wheels removed).
The interior build quality and material choice is excellent in the 4S, and Porsche fits the vehicle with a comprehensive list of standard equipment for its base price of $103,800. However, those seeking full leather interiors, multi-way premium seats, driving assist systems, and larger wheel and tire packages will spend tens of thousands of dollars on the upgrades (keep in mind that most of the premium equipment is standard on the Turbo and Turbo S models).
Dual motors and a choice of battery capacities
Porsche equips the Taycan 4S with dual liquid-cooled permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM). The front motor is the same size as the motor in the Turbo and Turbo S models, but the rear motor is slightly smaller. Mated to the standard 79.2-kWh battery pack, the system is rated at 522 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. When ordered with the optional 93.4-kWh Performance Battery Plus (identical to the capacity of the battery in the Turbo and Turbo S models), the motors are rated at 563 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to a pioneering two-speed gearbox, performance is impressive – Porsche quotes a 0-60 time of just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
Innovative 800-volt electrical system
Fitted with an advanced 800-volt electrical system, and a sophisticated liquid-regulated temperature control system for the battery pack, the Taycan 4S may be charged by the growing network of 270-kW DC fast chargers. Under optimal conditions, the battery may be brought from 5 percent to 80 percent state-of-charge in just over 22 minutes (for those seeking just enough charge to get home, it will add 60 miles of range in just five minutes). The Taycan 4S may also be charged with a home-based, 240-volt, Level 2 charging unit that can bring the Taycan to 100 percent state-of-charge overnight. Real-world driving range, with a full charge on the 93.4-kWh battery, is about 225 miles (the 4S is about 300-400 pounds lighter than the Turbo models, which slightly increases range).
Driving dynamics tuned for the enthusiast
With powerful electric motors that deliver near-instantaneous torque, and a capable all-wheel drive system, the Taycan 4S is a sure-footed sport sedan that is proficient enough to keep even the most discerning driving enthusiast smiling. While acceleration is down (slightly) compared to the Turbo and Turbo S, only a back-to-back drive would leave anyone feeling that the 4S isn’t one of the quickest 4-door sedans on the road. And, credit the unique two-speed gearbox for acceleration that doesn’t fall off with velocity.
Near-perfect steering calibration and unflappable brakes make driving the Taycan 4S an absolute joy. The sedan’s center of gravity is just inches off the pavement, which makes it stable and surefooted. Those seeking even more performance may order the optional rear axle steering, Porsche Composite Ceramic Brakes (PCCB), or upgrade from the 19-inch wheels to the optional 20- or 21-inch alloys.
The pure-EV driving experience is typically near-silent, but Porsche delivers a “futuristic” soundtrack to accompany acceleration (Porsche amplifies the natural sound of the motors). It adds an exciting audible track to the drive experience, yet it may be suppressed for those who prefer their electric vehicle to be whisper quiet.
How does the Taycan 4S compare to the Tesla Model S?
Drive both back-to-back and the differences are obvious. Porsche has focused its efforts on performance and luxury, engineering a sophisticated battery thermal management system to ensure maximum power at all times. Porsche also offers sports-car levels of cornering and braking capabilities are well balanced with its brisk acceleration. The cabin is well-appointed, with rich leather hides, contrasting trim, and arrays of buttons and displays, and the options list is wide-ranging and extensive.
Tesla has focused its efforts on battery and driveline efficiency, which makes the Model S capable of delivering up to 370 miles on a 100-kWh battery. The Tesla passenger cabin is uncluttered, upholstered in non-leather materials, and – with a single massive infotainment display – rather spartan for a vehicle of its price. Performance is impressive, with exhilarating class-leading acceleration, but narrow tires and an unsophisticated suspension limit its appeal to driving enthusiasts.
How much does the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S cost, and when does it go on sale?
The 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S (79-kWh) has a base price of $103,800 (plus a $1,350 delivery fee). The Taycan 4S with the Performance Battery Plus (93-kWh) starts at $109,370 (plus delivery). The sport sedan is on sale now, with first customer deliveries expected in Spring 2020.