Porsche Taycan 4S review: if your pockets are deep enough, it's a superb EV

Porsche Taycan 4S
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Two minute review

The Porsche Taycan is the first fully electric car from the German auto maker, and it's a sign of things to come as the automotive world shifts from combustion engine power to electricity.

Sitting between the 911 and the Panamera in terms of size, the Porsche Taycan is more akin to the latter due to the presence of four doors, rather than the two-door design of the former.

It's certainly not cheap. The Taycan has a similar price to its most well-known four-door, all-electric saloon competition, the Tesla Model S, while it's slightly cheaper than the Audi e-tron GT, which is based on the same platform as the Taycan. 

It finds itself with esteemed company in the electric car world, then, but the Porsche Taycan delivers an impressive showing.

It is supremely powerful, with the capability to propel you from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds if you opt for the 4S (and even faster if you go higher up the range), with great handling and a smooth, comfortable ride which can eat up the miles making it a solid tourer.

There's plenty of tech, too, with two touch screen displays alongside a digital instrument cluster which has a heap of customization options. Range isn't too bad, either, with 240+ miles possible from a single charge.

The 4S is not without a few quirks, however. The rear camera provides an unnervingly narrow perspective, while the hidden heated steering wheel button is easily hit when you don’t mean to. The lack of any physical buttons or dials may also frustrate some drivers who aren't keen on an all-touch input system.

Luckily, the on-wheel controls alleviate some of the issue, while Porsche's own voice assistant works nicely, allowing you to speak various commands to change settings and enter driving destinations.

If your pockets are deep enough, and your desire for a fully electric car is strong enough, the Porsche Taycan 4S offers a superb experience, from design, through to power, through to tech.

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Porsche Taycan 4S price and availability

  • Taycan price starts at $79,000 / £72,850 (around AU$105,000)
  • We drove a Taycan 4S (with options): £104,941 (around $145,000 / AU$187,000)
  • Price puts it up against the Tesla Model S and Audi e-tron GT

The Porsche Taycan price starts at $79,000 / £72,850 (around AU$105,000), however we drove the Taycan 4S, which sits towards the middle of the range, starting at $103,800 / £84,030 (around AU$140,000). 

Once a number of options had been added, the final price had grown to £104,941 (around $145,000 / AU$187,000)

There are also Turbo and Turbo S models which increase the price even more, and each model is available as the sports saloon body we drove, or as a 'Cross Turismo' which has a slightly more wagon-like style and some mild off-road credentials.

As for availability, the Taycan is readily available in most major markets including the US, UK and Australia.

Porsche Taycan 4S design

  • Powerful, sporty look catches the eye but doesn't scream EV
  • Comfortable, driving focused interior, although not overly premium
We drove

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Porsche Taycan 4S
: 490bhp / 360kW
Battery: 93.4kWh
Top Speed: 155 mph
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Range: up to 283 miles
Price: £104,941 

The Porsche Taycan 4S is wide and long, its powerful aesthetic accentuated by its big haunches. It looks suitably sporty, even for a four-door. 

The door handles sit flush to the bodywork, adding to the streamlined aesthetic. That is, until you click unlock and they pop out around 45 degrees, allowing you to get inside.

Our Taycan 4S came equipped with 20-inch Sport Aero Wheels, which are a multi-spoke affair, although the inner part of the spokes are filled in. This isn't particularly noticeable from a distance, but up close they did look a little peculiar.

We saw a number of other Taycans on the road and at charging stations. None had the same wheels, and all looked better for it. There are seven wheel options to choose from when you configure the 4S, so you do at least have the option to change things up.

The sweeping rear of the car looks almost like a hatchback, but on closer inspection you'll notice that it is in fact a saloon, with the boot lid not extending across the entire back of the car.

You do get a decent amount of boot space (but you’ll get more if you opt for a Cross Tourismo model), and it's relatively easy to load and unload - although larger items can be a little tricker thanks to the size of the opening.

There is more cargo space on offer here, though. The Taycan is an electric vehicle (EV), and thus doesn't have an internal combustion engine taking up space at the front. It means you get additional space here, and the 'frunk' (aka front trunk) is large enough for an overnight bag or two.

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

On top of the lid, a spoiler resides flush to the body, automatically deploying itself at higher speeds to improve downforce and stability.

Slide into the low seating position and you’ll find yourself in a comfortable space within a cabin which provides plenty of room for those in the front.

The sports seats hold you nicely, and they're heated for when the mercury decides to drop outside. The cloth-covered steering wheel provides a tactile, sporty feel, but may not be to everyone's liking, especially if your hands get a little clammy. 

There are on-wheel controls for the infotainment system and cluster display, but there's also a hidden button. It's for the heated steering wheel function, and it's tucked away on the rear side between the two spokes at the bottom of the wheel.

You can't see it from the driver's seat, and we found ourselves engaging it accidentally on a number of occasions. Over time you learn where this button is and consciously avoid laying fingers on this part of the wheel, but there was certainly a learning curve for us.

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

In terms of interior styling, the Taycan 4S is more function over form. It's not the most premium of spaces we've been in, but that adds to the sporty aesthetic and the mood lighting is one thing which we did find pleasing - the illumination around the dual cup holders was a nice touch, for example. 

Just ahead of the cup holders, between the front seats, the Taycan badge is splashed on a raised piece of trim. Initially we thought this was a button due to its look, but it is just decorative.That's not an issue, but it would have been nice to use this space to provide some form of control.

The interior grew on us over time, however, as it became clear the Taycan is more about the driving experience than sitting in the lap of luxury.

The dash has a relatively simple appearance, but it’s broken up by a digital clock with an analogue second hand that sits alone atop the dash. It looks a little odd initially, but quickly fades into the background. 

It is a useful addition every now and then, but the time is also displayed on both the main display and instrument cluster. For those planning on taking the Taycan to the track, however, this part-analogue offering will likely be more welcome. 

Gaze upwards and you'll find the Taycan 4S has an attractive panoramic glass roof, which gives rear-seat passengers a great view. There are three seats available in the back, but the middle one is extremely narrow and not suitable for adult occupants.

The two outer seats can accommodate adults more comfortably, but taller passengers will find their head may graze the roof as it sweeps down to meet the tail of the car.

The back of the central seat folds down to an armrest, with cup holders in it. Storage in the back is limited, though, with tiny door pockets and a small space below the air vents between the front seats which can hold a phone.

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Porsche Taycan 4S drive, range and charging

  • 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph
  • Quoted 283 miles of range, we got 240 miles comfortably

As mentioned above, the Porsche Taycan 4S focuses a lot of its attention on the driving experience. Don't let this four-door fool you, it packs a powerful punch.

Its electric motors can produce 490bhp (360kW) which shifts the 4S from 0-62 mph in just 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. With the floor of the car housing the batteries, and the low, streamlined design, it remains superbly grounded which in turn provides great handling.

There's plenty of pick-up in the default drive mode, which Porsche calls 'Normal', however if you want to go for that 3.8 second time you’ll want to explore 'Sport' and 'Sport Plus'. These modes change ride height and suspension, and open up more power under the accelerator.

We found that day-to-day, 'Normal' provided more than enough power and the Sport modes felt better suited for the track than highway cruising. It provides effortless power, and when you're up to cruising speed the Taycan 4S is a quiet, relaxing place to be.

There is a fourth mode, too, dubbed 'Range'. This limits the Taycan 4S' speed to 60 mph and reduces acceleration in a bid to get as much range from the battery as possible. 

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

A nice touch is the ability to adjust the ride height at the touch of a button. This is particularly helpful on uneven roads or when you're faced with large bumps. 

It's easy to do, too, with a tap of the touch-sensitive icon on the bezel around the digital cluster display temporarily raising the height of the car. 

You can also adjust the suspension height from the settings menu via the central touch screen, where you can choose from four levels; Low, Lowered, Medium and Lift.

Something else you can enable from the settings menu on the main touchscreen is 'Electric Sport Sound', which is what Porsche calls its fake engine noise for the Taycan. 

While some will enjoy the faux combustion engine soundtrack, we found it to be a little embarrassing. 

Knowing you're driving a fully electric vehicle and having synthesized sound emit from the car - audible both internally and externally - feels like a bit of a gimmick. 

It is convincing, though, and for passers by who aren't aware that the Taycan is a fully electric car, they can be fooled into thinking you’re driving a gas-guzzling machine.

So, just how far can you expect to go with the fully-charged 9.4kWh battery inside the Taycan 4S? Porsche claims you'll get up to 283 miles, but in reality you'll never hit the upper figures quoted by manufacturers.

However, the Taycan 4S still puts in a solid performance and during a week of driving in various conditions we were comfortably getting 240 miles from a single charge. That's a pretty reasonable showing, and will get you to most places without the dreaded range anxiety.

If the battery level does begin to drop, the good news is the Taycan 4S supports fast charging. We were able to plug into a fast charger and go from 38% to 90% in 40 minutes, which gained us around 130 miles (roughly 3.25 miles a minute, although the fastest we saw was 4.5 miles per minute).

The Taycan comes with two charging ports, too - one on either side of the car, just by the front wheel arch. One side is an AC port which will mainly be used for at-home charging, while the other is a faster DC port. 

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Both are hidden behind a movable flap, which is set into motion by running your finger along the underside of a small fin that protrudes from the bodywork.

It's relatively easy to operate and a fun party piece, but it does feel a bit exuberant at the same time. There's also the option to open and close the ports on the touchscreen inside the vehicle, which is useful if the car is especially dirty.

Several automakers are also offering charging membership cards, allowing you to tap a charger and top up without having to sign up to different services and apps. 

The Porsche Charge card is one of these examples, and it's currently rolling out auto-recognition, so you don't even need a physical card when you show up at a charger. 

At compatible charging stations, you can just plug the Taycan in and it will start charging. This particular feature has only just started to roll out in the UK, and it worked once for us during our time with the car - but it's a positive sign for the future as it reduces the hassle usually required at charging pumps. 

The other times, we had to tap the Porsche Charging card (instead of our bank card) on the charger.

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Porsche Taycan 4S specs and tech

  • Infotainment system controlled via two touchscreen displays
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay support, but Android Auto has to be wired
  • Plenty of driver assistance features, great sound system and solid sat nav

The Porsche Taycan 4S comes equipped with plenty of tech, as you'd expect for an electric car costing quite a much as this.

Climb into the cabin and you'll notice the dual-screen setup in the center of the dash. The upper touchscreen gives you access to the main infotainment system, including navigation, media and phone.

The lower touchscreen, meanwhile, provides controls for the climate and heated seats. There's a touch pad / drawing area allowing you to navigate the upper screen if you don't want to lean in and tap it. 

There are also links to key functions for the main display, allowing you to quickly skip between nav, media, phone and settings. Pop the Taycan 4S into park, and this lower display shows you battery information, including recharging status when plugged in.

Something else you'll notice here is the main infotainment area is completely devoid of physical buttons and switches. Everything is controlled by touch, which is the direction many in the industry are headed.

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This won't be good news for everyone, though, as there are some drivers who still prefer the tactility of physical controls - which are generally easier to find and operate without having to take your eyes off the road.

The touchscreens are easy to use, however, and we were able to learn the PCM operating system pretty quickly.

The built-in sat nav works well, with clear directions and detailed junction imagery making it clear which lane you need to be in. However, we did find that it leaves things a little late to tell you when to exit a major road, which led to a couple of dashes across lanes - you just need to pay closer attention to the directions, but an earlier instruction would be useful.

Directions are mirrored in the cluster display, which sits behind the steering wheel and is customizable. It's divided into three sections, and all three can be changed to display what you want, from navigation, drive mode and sport chrono options through to media, assistance systems, G-force, power meter, maps and more.

Another option to show is battery information, including the battery temperature - something only Porsche currently shows. 

Porsche has calculated that batteries charge at their optimum level when they're 30 degrees celsius, and if you put a charging station as your destination in the nav, the Taycan 4S will ensure it heats (or cools) the battery to that temperature as you arrive at the charger.

There's support for Bluetooth connectivity, too, allowing you to link your smartphone to the Taycan's system and in turn stream music through the excellent Bose sound system in the car, as well as make and receive hands-free calls while on the move.

Voice control is also built in and can be triggered by saying the 'Hey Porsche' activation phrase or by pressing the dedicated button on the steering wheel. Once activated, you can use a number of commands, including entering a destination into the nav, changing the radio station and controlling the AC, heaters and heated seats.

While there is a slight delay while you wait for the assistant to initially wake, it was able to understand our commands and carry them out without fuss. With the lack of physical controls, the voice assistant was a welcome inclusion when it came to changing settings while driving.

You can also opt to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which sees key apps from your phone (such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Spotify, WhatsApp and more) mirrored on the Taycan's main display.

iPhone users can connect to CarPlay wirelessly, too, making it more convenient to use every day. However, if you're just connecting your iPhone to access music, stop! 

The Apple Music and Podcasts apps are embedded into the operating system on the Taycan 4S, allowing you to sign into your accounts and access your libraries without the need to connect your phone.

Meanwhile, Android phone owners need to use a wired connection via a USB cable to link their phone to enable Auto. It's a less elegant solution, but a future update to the PCM system will bring wireless Android Auto to the car - so it’s really just a temporary issue.

Lift up the central armrest and you'll find a wireless phone charger plus two USB-C and single 12v ports. Those in the back aren't forgotten, either, with two more USB-C ports hidden under the front lip of the central seat. 

There's a range of driver assistance options included in the Taycan 4S, too, including lane assist, cruise control and pilot assist, with the latter making long distance driving far less taxing as it guides the Taycan along highways, taking speed and steering into its own hands. All you need to do is keep a hand on the wheel in case you need to make a maneuver.  

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

You also get automatic lights and high beam assist, which work well, but there isn't an official auto wipers setting - but we found the intermittent setting worked like auto.

As you sit low to the ground in the Taycan 4S, and the rear window is on the shallow side, visibility when it comes to moving in tight spots isn't the best. Thankfully, there are 360 degree cameras on the car, giving you a birds-eye view of your surroundings.

There's also a dedicated reversing camera, but it's not overly useful. It has an extremely narrow perspective, which makes spaces look far tighter than they actually are. Once you get used to the camera, it is a little more reassuring, but you'll still be using your wing mirrors frequently.

Should I buy a Porsche Taycan 4S?

Porsche Taycan 4S

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

Your pockets are deep and you want a sporty EV
The Porsche Taycan 4S isn’t cheap, but for those who can afford it you’ll be greeted with a great looking and performing EV with plenty of tech that can hold its own against the Tesla Model S and Audi e-tron GT.

You're a Porsche fan looking for their next car
An all-electric Porsche is unlike any Porsche that has come before it, and that may be a concern for those who have stood by the brand for decades. However, the automotive world is going electric and the Taycan 4S still has the essence of the famous name. 

Don't buy it if...

If you're looking for spacious rear seats
While the four-door Taycan 4S does have enough room in the back for a couple of adults, the space afforded isn't overly generous and your passengers won't want to travel far. Both the Panamera and Cayenne come with plug-in hybrid drivetrains and more space in the back.

First reviewed: June 2021

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.