The Porsche Taycan has landed and made not just a splash, but tsunamis in the automotive world. The model was unveiled and released in Turbo and Turbo S forms at first, models that boasted tremendous power and stats aimed at dethroning Tesla as the king of AC/DC power. The Turbo models are astonishing and fulfil the brief of being high performance vehicles that sit as flagships of the range; as a result the pricing was a breathtaking as the acceleration. 750 bhp does not come cheap.
To broaden the appeal of the Taycan Porsche unveiled this, the 4S and I was shipped over to the -19 degree icebox that is Kittilä, Finland to experience the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S. The 4S is, of course, down on power compared to the Turbo and Turbo S. As standard 523bhp is available on overboost with a range of 405 kilometres. One option that I suspect will be ordered by all customers is the Performance Battery Plus that increases power to 563bhp and the range to 462 kilometres for around €5,000. 0-100 with either battery is done in 4.0 seconds.
At this point I would love to share my driving impressions with you. I will, but it must be noted that it was horrifically cold, this really was a winter wonderland and there is no tarmac in sight, just icy surfaces and standard winter tires to connect with it. There were no spikes in sight. As a result, any feedback in muted and power statistics are almost irrelevant as traction management is far more important.
That being said, I have driven a handful of cars in similar conditions so am somewhat familiar with how cars typically handle when dancing on ice. The first part of the program was a 90-minute road drive in the darkness of the Finnish winter. First impressions are all about traction and the mighty impressive Goodyear winter tires. Although absent of spikes, traction under gentle braking and acceleration. The Taycan 4S felt balanced and incredibly quick, even on the slippery ice. The 992 steering rack that feature in the Taycan still felt well weighted, of course, there was very little feedback on the ice. Braking was still reasonable although the weight became evident when braking harder and the ABS cutting in.
The main event was the Porsche Experience set on a frozen lake, the ideal place to exploit instant torque from the 800volt batteries powering all four wheels. First up was a tight twisty circuit. The aim if the game was to understand the torque split front to rear and swing the car into delicious drift angles. It is harder than you would imagine, opposite lock doesn’t help and you have to be gentle with the power or the car does what it is meant to do and drags itself into a straight line.
Next on the list of activities is a slalom where the weight and its distribution would be tested. The 4S weighs in at 2,215 kilograms and often had me questioning just how thick the ice on this frozen lake was. It is still some 200 kilograms lighter than the Turbo S model but it is still a substantial mass for anything that is considered ‘sporty’. The slalom test highlights the impressive agility that comes courtesy of the antiroll and stability systems.
The third and final test was the drift circle. Again, this is a test of balance and the torque split and where feedback and feel are key. This is a Porsche and at times the Taycan really did feel comparable to a 911, it is spooky, but there is just a level of disconnect that you would never find in a conventional petrol burning 911. The instant torque is spectacular, the acceleration, even on ice, takes you by surprise despite this being the 4S and not a Turbo or Turbo S. The Taycan in 4S is an extremely capable car. If the greater power is not of paramount importance to potential customers, I would strongly argue that the 4S is the pick of the bunch.
The case for the 4S is further heightened by the significant saving over the Turbo models. In the United Kingdom, the 4S starts at under £90,000, a considerable £50,000 less than a base Turbo S. The 4S is the electric car that offers significant steps forward in the industry at a realistic price point with stats and prestige that make it capable and desirable in equal measure. Let’s hope Porsche can build them quickly enough.