Electric Showdown: Porsche Taycan Turbo vs Tesla Model S
No matter your thoughts on Tesla as company or the cars the make, there's no denying the fact that when the brand launched its all electric Model S sedan back in 2012, the car was a game changer.
Amazingly, in the seven years since the Model S has been available there really hasn't risen a true competitor for it although many new electric cars are in the works from most major automakers.
But now that Porsche has finally revealed the specs on pricing on its long awaited and long-teased all-electric 2020 Taycan Turbo, the elder statesman Model S may have its first true rival.
While there will no doubt be plenty of head to head comparisons coming as the Taycan makes its way into the hands of road testers, for now we can look at the specs and pricing of each car to get an idea of how they shake up against each other in terms of performance, value, range and more.
For starters, both the Taycan Turbo and the Model S, are sleek four-door luxury sport sedans with battery electric drivetrains with dual motors and all-wheel drive.
While it has seen changes under the skin, the Model S looks largely the same as when it first released back in 2012, with its profile now becoming well recognized on the road.
The Taycan meanwhile shares a lot of its overall profile with the Porsche Panamera, but with plenty of its own personality. Despite having a clear high tech, futuristic influences it still has the basic look of a Porsche, which might be appreciated by traditionalists or fans of the storied automaker.
The dimensions of the two cars are quite similar, with the Model S riding on a slightly longer wheelbase but with overall lengths and widths that are within fractions of an inch. The Model S however, appears to have a significant advantage in interior space, particularly when it comes to cargo room.
Range & Charging
The Model S and the Taycan Turbo are each offered in a couple of different variants. To start, the Taycan will only be offered in high end, high performance Turbo and Turbo S trims, with cheaper, less powerful versions to come later. For 2020, the Tesla Model S is offered in both "Long Range" and "Performance" variants.
Driving range is one of the first questions to come up when dealing with EVs, and in this is area the Model S looks to have the Porsche solidly beat. The Long Range Model S will go 370 miles on a charge while the Performance version will go 345 miles.
The Taycan Turbo meanwhile hasn't yet had its EPA range figures released, but conversions of the European specs should put the range anywhere between 240 miles and 280 miles, with the faster Turbo S model lagging behind the regular Taycan Turbo.
Another important area where the Tesla pulls ahead at the moment is access to the brand's extensive Supercharger network, although the Porsche does offer a slightly faster overall charging speed when hooked up to an equally capable fast charger unit.
Despite the Tesla Model S being known as one of the quickest accelerating production cars around, overall performance is an area where the Taycan Turbo should have a solid advantage over the Tesla.
Factory acceleration claims still give an edge to the Model S Performance, which has a 0-60 time of 2.4 seconds compared to the Porsche figure of 2.6 seconds for the Taycan Turbo S, but it's in more prolonged performance driving and track situations where the Taycan should pull ahead.
Because for as brutally fast as the Model S can be, its performance begins to fall off as things heat up and the cooling system works to compensate, making it a less than ideal vehicle for track situations.
The Taycan Turbo meanwhile was designed not only to have better overall track performance, but also to stand up to the abuse without being forced into limp mode. We'll certainly be interested to see how the real world track punishment plays out.
Interior & Image
This is another area where the two cars differ, and a lot of the decision will be up to personal preference. Back in 2012 the Tesla Model S interior was considered extremely high tech with its minimalist layout and massive vertically oriented center screen—something which has since appeared on many different types of vehicles.
It will of course be hard to compare the two cabins without sitting in them back to back, it would be reasonable to expect the Taycan's interior to have a more impressive build quality and overall attention to detail when compared to the futuristic if slightly sterile Tesla cabin.
Image is another area that can't be ignored when it comes to these two cars. While Tesla is a relative newcomer to the industry, it's built up a legion of passionate fans and owners who are sometimes known for being a bit too excited about the cult of Tesla, but on the other hand Porsche is also a brand that's enjoys a very loyal and outspoken following even as the company has expanded to being much more than a specialty sports car brand.
While some buyers will simply look at the car itself and what if offers, the brand experience and image is going to be an important factor for many and there's no doubt both Porsche and Tesla know this.
Last but not least we get to price. It's here where there's a rather wide gap between the two cars.
While Tesla's pricing structure seems to change by the week, at the moment a 2020 Tesla Model S Performance goes for just over $100,000 while the Taycan Turbo will start at a little over $150,000 while the Taycan Turbo S will come in at an even richer $186,000.
So while it's clear that the Taycan will be significantly more expensive than the Model S, it will be interesting to see how many former or potential Model S buyers decide to make the jump upmarket.
It's likely the Taycan vs Tesla debate will go on for a long time, and while the pricing difference may keep these two cars from being direct rivals, it will no doubt be exciting to see what other sort of challengers arrive in the ever expanding electric car market.
If these high end electric cars don't impress you about, how about the retro-themed EV dune buggy that Volkswagen has been showing off?