I’m not sure the phrase ‘entry-level’ is really appropriate when it comes to the Porsche Taycan 4S. Does 571bhp sound entry-level to you? How about 0-62mph in four seconds?
And yet, such is the way with the new crop of premium electric cars, that even the cheapest version of the Taycan is as fast as a supercar from not so long ago when dispatching the benchmark 62mph sprint. Realistically, you don’t need more power than this. You don’t even need as much power as this.
Our test location for the Taycan 4S was Finnish Lapland, driving on snow-covered roads and an iced-over lake. Not an environment to draw firm conclusions, hence the omission of the word ‘review’ from the title. But once the 4S hooked up (which it would do, thanks to some excellent Goodyear winter tyres), it had no problem pinning me back in my seat and gathering speed at a silly rate.
The twin-motor powertrain is - Porsche says - just as punchy in chilly temperatures like these. Having not driven the 4S on Mediterranean tarmac I can’t confirm for sure, but it certainly feels like a four-second 0-62mph kind of car. It also has plenty of clever tech to make sure the range doesn’t take a battering when it looks like the front of a Christmas card outside.
There’s an optional heat pump (standard in the UK) which keeps the battery at anything up to 28 degrees, and like a lot of other modern EVs, it’s possible to precondition the battery while it’s still plugged in. Naturally, you’re going to want to crank up the heating, but that shouldn’t impact range either, as waste heat from the motors and the battery pack is used to keep the cabin at a balmy temperature.
The front motor unit and the inverter are both lifted from the Taycan Turbo, with their counterparts at the rear axle downsized. That does mean the 4S isn’t as rear-biased, although switched to Sport Plus (a setting you’ll need to get the full overboost power output) and with the ESP set to the off-ish sport mode, it is easy enough to get the back-end moving on snow and ice. Turn the electronic stuff off entirely, or as off as is possible, and big, infantile slides are possible. Given enough commitment, this should be possible to replicate on dry asphalt, should the, err, need ever arise.
Driving more within the limits of the 4S, it feels much the same as the Turbo. There’s the same fast, consistent and well-weighted steering, standard-fit air-sprung Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), plus optional rear-wheel steering and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV).
If you spec a 4S to roughly the same level as the Turbo, the huge price gap between these two cars of over £30,000 narrows to around £20,000. Even then, you’d still be able to bag a 4S plus a not especially old used six-cylinder Porsche Cayman for the price of the Turbo on its own. That’s an appealing two-car garage, don’t you think?
You could also ignore all of those and go for the Model S - the 4S starting price of £83,367 isn’t all that far from what you’d pay for a significantly faster Model S P100D. We get why you’d be tempted - the Model S is an impressive thing. But it is getting on a bit, and you do get what you pay for - the build quality and established dealer back-up of the Porsche are worth it.
It’s not just the quality of the cabin that impresses, but the design too. It’d be immediately identifiable as the work of Porsche even if you ripped the badges off and hid the Sport Chrono clock - there’s a familiarity to the shape. And yet, it’s suitably futuristic thanks to the liberal festooning of screens. Option an extra one for the passenger - which I’m still not certain is necessary - and you’ll have four in the front bit of the cabin. They’re all nicely responsive, too.
As you’ve probably gathered, everything that’s good about the Turbo is here, apart from the range, which - with the 93.5kWh Performance Battery optioned - is even better on the 4S at 287 miles. Unless you’ve more money than sense, the 4S is the one to go for. And for the cherry on top, you won’t be buying a car named after something it doesn’t have…