Coffee table book, available now
soul-score-banner-taycan

Related Stories

The Porsche Taycan is simply a great car

Never miss a new car review!

I’m going to start this review off with a secret. Promise not to tell anyone? Okay, here it is: the majority of automotive engines out there are merely fine. As in, adequate. Good enough. When that happens, it can at best drag down a car’s soul score, and at worst ruin it. Well, I’m here to tell you that if most engines aren’t that good anyway, then this Porsche Taycan is one of the best cars you can buy.

Welcome to the electric car future where the enthusiast actually wins.

Porsche Taycan

2023 Porsche Taycan Quick Take

Get one:

Everything you need for speed. Breaks away from the 911 look. Can’t think of a better daily (as long as you can charge it). Feels like a Porsche.

Don’t get one:

Priced like a Porsche. Heavy. I reach for things.

Soul Score: 9

Electric or not, this is one of the best cars Porsche makes.

The 2023 Porsche Taycan overview

Porsche Taycan

When we meet up on Sunday mornings and say that things like an i4 are “Not My BMW”, we’re talking about Big Auto taking away our favorite toys. I somehow doubt that anyone will want an electric 718 over the magnificent GT4.

But what if you don’t get a GT4? You’re lookin’ at a turbo four underneath your Cayman, an engine never once coveted for its sound or smoothness. That’s not the only P-car example – the V-6 in a Panamera isn’t something I’d really miss. But Porsche makes another sedan. It’s better looking. It’s cheaper (relatively). Faster. Handles better. It’s even more comfortable.

And…it’s electric. Gasp!

Porsche Taycan

But I’m not going to sit inside this Taycan and tell myself I’m saving the planet. Far from it. I’m going to sit inside and tell myself I’m about to have fun. So I shall.

What we’re driving today is the base Taycan, and like its wagon stablemate, this is simply a good car in terms you and I care about.

Performance Score: 8. Ace of base

Porsche Taycan
The Sport Chrono Package is a must by now.

This is a Porsche, so we get plenty of performance even though there’s no alphabet soup after the name. There’s also plenty of price, but I get ahead of myself. This base, no frills example can be thought of as a Taycan T, if such a thing were to exist. RWD, PASM, Performance Battery Plus, and white paint.

Motor

Porsche Taycan
Take it easy, it’s only a base (evil smile).

Numbers first: 375 horsepower, 263 lb-ft of torque, and 4,568 pounds. The lilliputian-power Porsche?

Hardly. Stomp on the gas and get pressed firmly into the back of the seat. The speedometer counts off chunks of digits at a time in silent running. While not as fast on paper as something like a Kia EV6 GT, it feels faster. Throttle control is excellent, with no wheel spin or drama off the line. There is an overboost feature that pushes horsepower to 469, but that only happens when you engage launch control.

Porsche Taycan

This Taycan was also missing the Electric Sport Sound feature: “Porsche Electric Sport Sound enhances the vehicle’s own sound and makes it sound even more emotional – both outside and inside the vehicle.”

Automatic eye roll. Save $500 and leave it off – the Jetson’s sound this car makes as it is offers plenty of emotion without resorting to tricks. If it’s not going to sound like a Blackwing, might as well enjoy the silence or blast some tunes.

Transmission

Porsche Taycan
I question the placement.

Since it’s Porsche’s first electric car, doing what everyone else does (read: less complex), just wasn’t in the cards. Upon its arrival, the Taycan came with a two-speed gearbox, while every other EV on the planet had one. Still feels like one though. Don’t think CVT. More like a General Electric turbofan engine.

Porsche Taycan

As you’d expect, it’s seamless in operation. About the only complaint I can level at it is the fact that the “shifter” is hidden behind the steering wheel and resembles some sort of overgrown toggle switch. Attention, car designers: either make the shifter something fun to grip, or ditch it entirely, just don’t make it harder to use.

Steering and chassis

Porsche Taycan
With PASM, the car will lower itself to prepare for combat.

Some companies with less heritage (Tesla) have no problem reinventing the wheel when it comes to electric cars. I mean that in a literal sense – the steering wheel on a Tesla is weird.

But Porsche wants you to feel like you’re in a Porsche, so that deliciously thin-spoke, all black, clean-looking steering wheel is right out of a 911. Like its butt-engined counterpart, the Taycan offers up the very definition of perfect steering feel. It’s progressive in build-up and always gives you the sense that you can turn this 4,500-pound sedan on a dime. The fact that this car is as direct as it is with optional rear-wheel steering amazes me even more. Every time I’ve driven a car where all four wheels turn, it’s felt unsettling, especially at higher speeds.

Porsche Taycan
The response in a Taycan is excellent.

Though the Cross Turismo feels great, this base Taycan is just a bit more fun. It’s nearly 500 pounds lighter, and with rear-wheel drive allows for a more nimble feel as you drive around corners. PASM, or Porsche Active Suspension Management, excels at keeping the body flat through corners. If it leans, I can’t feel it.

Porsche Taycan

Surely, the batteries being on the floor helps, but it goes beyond that. The Taycan makes a Panamera feel uncouth by comparison.

Brakes

Porsche Taycan
A superb braking system hides behind an excellent set of aero wheels.

This might actually be my favorite part. Drive in a typical electric car, let your foot off the throttle, and lurch forward like you just caught the three-wire on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson. Regenerative braking slows the car in an unnatural way, sometimes even too short of the stop light. Roll forward again like you’re a teenager learning stick.

Porsche said no to all that. The Taycan varies its hydraulic braking pressure, Rather than apply regenerative braking force as soon as the driver lifts off the throttle, Porsche’s system allows the car to actually roll like you’re in neutral and coast to a stop. You know…like a car.

Porsche Taycan

The brake pedal itself is firm and perfect, but the entire system is so finely tuned that Porsche expects you to change the pads due to age long before wear. It’s seamless and wonderful.

This is a fun car to drive, a precise car to drive. If you can find a way to plug it in conveniently, I don’t see any reason at all to pick one of Porsche’s gas-powered SUVs over this for daily duty.

Utility Score: 5. Tay-can’t

Porsche Taycan
Pack lightly.

Maybe that headline is too harsh. Though it looks like it should be a hatchback, it is not. The resultant opening for the trunk is narrow, and the trunk not all that deep. If you need 5 Series room, buy a 5 Series. Being electric, the Taycan also features a frunk (BMW still refuses to put them in their electric cars). You’d be fine using this in daily life.

Course, I’d daily an F-TYPE so take that with a grain of salt.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find basic sport seats that are comfortable and supportive. Every time I sit in a Porsche (not you, 911 T), I’m amazed at how little I need to adjust the seat to be cozy. No bottom cushion adjustment, no bolster-squeezing. They look clean too.

Porsche Taycan
Scalloped seats for two make the back a special place, if a bit tight.

The back seat fits two, as there is no bench. Perhaps it’s different for you, but after driving for 22 years, I can tell you I’ve needed a rear bench exactly two times. The semi-bucket seats in place are more supportive and useful – this is what the back of an M3 CS should look like. Tight back there though, but so is a Macan.

Range: 9. Tay-can

Porsche Taycan
Porsche gave you a charge port on both side of the car – brilliant.

The base Taycan has a range of about 250 miles. Scott, the owner of this ride, reports that the range is accurate. This is quite a feat of engineering.

The BMW i5 dropped its energy needle through 50% like a pair of underwear at spring break. Then it slowed to a point where 20% was just its state or charge. Like, forever.

Porsche Taycan
Accurate electric car range. Shocking.

The Taycan’s gauge was much more accurate in that it did not draw attention to itself. I checked the range when we started our test drive, and it lowered in a normal, progressive manner like a gas-powered car. This goes a long way to help quell range anxiety.

I’m anxious enough as it is. I don’t need a car to help.

Features and Comfort: 7. Minimalist

Porsche Taycan
Clean. Or austere, depending on your taste.

Like BMW and Audi, Porsche suffers from that “all cars must be the same” inside. It’s great if you’re a base car and you look like a million bucks, but less so if you’ve spent $200,000 on a Taycan Turbo S.

Black and mellow

Porsche Taycan

This might be a basic Taycan, but that still means $20,000 in options.

Lower your body in the all-black leather interior, and find screens. Lots of them. You get a screen as a dashboard. There’s one in the center, and..one in front of the passenger seat? Clearly the designer of this car must not be married, because displaying the actual speed we’re traveling right in front of my wife constantly feels like a recipe for disaster.

Porsche Taycan
So supportive, and fit my thicy thighs.

Especially in this thing – no engine note to give away just how fast we’re going (fast). I digress, I’m sure she’d be fine. No couch for me tonight.

Porsche Taycan
Even the best digital climate controls pale in comparison to real buttons and dials.

Elsewhere, you can tell it’s Porsche loaner spec. The familiar Sport Chrono Package adds that silly stopwatch on top of the dash board like a little zit. Spend $5,960 on the Premium Package to obtain lux basics like ambient lighting, power folding mirrors, and storage (?). You know you can go nuts with these things, so if youre going to option a Porsche with a limited budget, get the important things. Performance is king.

Porsche Taycan
This passenger screen can provide all sorts of information.
Porsche Taycan
Details are subtle – minimal too.
Porsche Taycan
I still believe BMW does it best here.

I like ’em curvy

Porsche Taycan

This car is so much better looking than its Panamera counterpart. Part of that comes from the technology – the hood is so low and scalloped that it creates an F-16-like view out the front glass. But there’s also those hips, and the way it resembles a 911 without copying it to a fault like the Panamera.

Porsche Taycan
The front-end breaks away from the 911 looks a bit.
Porsche Taycan
Aero wheels that actually look good.

Other nice touches include aero wheels that have the EV trick of covering the brakes for efficiency, yet still manage to look like wheels you’d want to own. I still hate the unpainted cladding on this car – it looks incomplete. At least the sedan gets body-color arches, because the wagon looks like a Subaru Outback.

The 2023 Porsche Taycan is the sedan Porsche has always owed us

Porsche Taycan

I’m partial to sedans. I suppose I always have been. Aside from some years with a Nissan Z, every car I’ve owned has had a back seat, and been sedan-based.

As much as I love the GT4, a two-seater isn’t going to fit my life right now – I’m not going to get a special car that my daughter can’t ride in with me. A 911…sorry, it’s GT3 or bust. And the Panamera is now dead. That leaves this car. You have to adjust your thinking with it – maybe a Porsche has a flat-six, maybe a turbo V-8. Or maybe it’s battery powered. Come on guys, it’s just another motor. And it never draws attention to itself.

We’re not saving the whales in this car. You’re not saving it in a Tesla either, so you might as well continue to enjoy your automotive hobby. Porsche is once again so far ahead of everyone else that I can’t imagine owning an electric car not named Taycan at this point.

Porsche Taycan

But what about moving beyond just electric cars. Would I pick an M5 over this? Sigh. It’s a cop out, but I’m just not sure. Objectively, this is a better car.

When it comes to soul? Can I type out that this is still a better car?

Bring on the electric cars, as long as Porsche makes them all.

2023 Porsche Taycan

2023 Porsche Taycan Specifications

Vehicle Type: Electric, rear-wheel drive, four-door, four-passenger sedan

PRICE

Base: $86,700
As tested: $116,140

POWERTRAIN

AC Permanent Synchronous Motors
350 kW/469 hp (overboost)
263 lb-ft

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 114.2 in
Length: 195.4 in
Width: 77.5 in
Height: 54.9 in
Curb Weight: 4,568 lbs

RANGE

250 miles

Want MWS to review your car?

If you live in the tri-state area and want me to check it out, send me an email! 

Support Machines With Souls

Commissions may be received for product links on this site. Help out if you can.

I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

One thought on “The Porsche Taycan is simply a great car

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *