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Car and Driver got to look at the Taycan Turbo S and the Model S together and see how they compare side to side.

Of the two cars they gave first place to the Model S and second place to the Taycan.

2nd Place: Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Highs: Arresting looks, time-warping acceleration, range is a nonissue.
Lows: Lacking in storage and rear-seat space, all-the-money price.
Verdict: Porsche creates the Porsche of EVs, applies Porsche pricing.

Getting in and out of the Taycan's low-mounted front seats and around the intrusively thick base of the B-pillars is moderately bothersome. But once you're in there, the view forward is the perfect blend of retreating hood and bulging fenders. Thanks to the aggressive roofline, the rearward view is, well, slitty, but the exterior presence it enables is totally worth it.

Driving it only furthers the sports-car sensation. It feels impossibly solid, so approachable and trusty that you find yourself comfortably flirting with its extremely high limits on the first on-ramp. Which is very Porsche, and very high praise for a car that weighs 5246 pounds. Part of the magic is in its great steering, with a tight on-center valley followed by linear effort buildup. And despite our car's 21-inch wheels, Porsche continues to impress in its unwavering commitment to ride quality.

But these are all typical Porsche characteristics, and let's be honest, we fully expected the company to nail them. But does it move forward the EV state of the art?

Both cars are spectacular allies in a world of merging lanes and general traffic congestion. They can effortlessly vacate the space they occupied only an instant before, pouncing on the smallest of gaps. Enabling—no, encouraging—this megalomania are identical 1.1-second 30-to-50-mph and 1.6-second 50-to-70-mph acceleration times, the quickest we've ever measured.

But the Taycan's launch control hits harder than the Model S's, smacking us with 1.3 g's of initial acceleration long enough to befog our noggin. Is this what passing through a time-travel portal feels like? After we retrieved our hand-held radio, sunglasses, and clipboard from the back seat, we eyeballed the data: 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.5 at 130 mph—the latter including a shift from the two-speed transmission that is on the rear axle. Unlike the Tesla, the Porsche will replicate those numbers over and over again. Plus, the Taycan's relative silence and ease of enabling launch control (select Sport Plus mode, hold brake and accelerator, release brake) means that it can be deployed nearly anywhere—at your neighborhood four-way stop, in a parking garage—without causing hysteria.

More surprisingly, the Porsche held its own in our 75-mph range test. While the EPA says there's a 134-mile difference in the range between the two, extrapolating from our 100-mile run, the real-world difference amounts to 10 miles in the Tesla's favor. The Taycan also won the other speed test, with its consistently higher charging rate providing quicker recharging. Tesla's Supercharger network might have more stations, but it also has more users, and Tesla owners have faced long queues just to plug in during peak travel times. At the Electrify America outpost where we charged the Porsche, 15 other plugs went unused the entire time we were there.

There was some disagreement over whether the Taycan's sci-fi electric soundtrack is appropriate or not, but the amplified Star Wars Landspeeder–esque noises are at least based in reality, originating from recordings of the Porsche's electric motors on a dyno. And not that the low and wide Taycan needs any help, but the whir does draw attention, creating visible confusion as bystanders try to identify the vessel zooming by.

And what a vessel it is. Judged from the driver's seat alone, the Taycan is the better car. It meets the high expectations of this storied brand, proves its real-world range, and moves the EV bar on a couple fronts. But price is always a factor; in this case, an insurmountable one.
1st Place: Tesla Model S Performance

Highs: Spacious and airy, still megaquick, one-pedal driving.
Lows: Dull handling, feels its size and weight.
Verdict: Eight years in, the Model S continues to impress.

"Tesla's vision for the future in 2012 is still relevant today," quipped deputy reviews editor Tony Quiroga. That is massively impressive given the Model S's advanced age. Sure, there are reminders that this car is from Tesla's early days, such as the Mercedes-sourced window switches, shift lever, and turn-signal and cruise-control stalks. And eight years in, the build quality is still tainted by egregious fit issues. The uneven gap between the hatch and the rear bodywork, for example, doesn't look as though it's improved one bit.

But the Model S still has a lot going for it. The interior continues to impress, particularly with the $2000 white leatherette in our car. And Tesla accurately predicted—or perhaps caused—the shift in cabin design where infotainment screens would come to define modern cars' interiors. The Model S's rear seat feels far larger than the Taycan's, sitting three back there versus the Porsche's two. Taller side glass makes it feel airier inside, too, and its rear cargo area is double that of the Porsche. Even with a larger battery pack and longer wheelbase, the Model S weighs nearly 250 pounds less than the Taycan, although that's probably part of the reason the Tesla is noisier than the Porsche at 70 mph.

This latest Model S Performance is even more sophisticated and confidence-inspiring than before, thanks to the new air springs and adaptive dampers. Ride quality has certainly improved, and there's substantial adjustability between the three suspension modes. There's not much steering feel, though, and the turn-in from the Tesla's relatively giant steering wheel is far slower and less crisp than the Porsche's. The Model S is more competent than fun, and the harder you push, the less impressive it becomes. Stability control intervenes early—there's no way to dial it back—and the brake pedal went soft during our repeated stops from 70 and 100 mph, producing a warning message.

Tesla pipped Porsche in our rolling-start 5-to-60-mph test by a tenth of a second, but in every other test, the Model S proved slightly slower. Accelerating to 60 mph in a monumentally quick 2.5 seconds, it lurked just 0.1 second behind the Taycan. But the gap widened to more than three seconds by 150 mph. And for all the discussion of the Model S's fleetness, it is incredibly fussy to achieve its max-acceleration times. It must be fully charged, and using the Ludicrous Plus mode requires preheating the battery for 45 minutes. After the initial hero run, the Tesla's times fall off quickly, slowing to the point that we were jotting notes while waiting for the quarter-mile to arrive.

The Model S excels in the city, where Tesla's expertly calibrated one-pedal operation introduces fluidity to stop-and-go driving. Porsche made a conscious decision to forgo one-pedal driving, and we missed it every time we hopped back into the Taycan, where the strongest coasting regen is barely noticeable. You drive Porsche's EV as you would any other automatic Porsche: with two pedals. Unlike those gas models, though, the Taycan's brake pedal is touchy and nonlinear.

Tesla wins this one largely on price, but the Model S's virtues stand on their own, too. Some spreadsheet fiddling suggests that the finishing order wouldn't have changed had we pitted the Tesla against the far slower $105,150 Taycan 4S. Given the Model S Performance comes at a $85,160 discount to the Taycan Turbo S, there's no question which is the better buy.
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