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Porsche gives its epoch-making electric GT some major mechanical mid-life improvements

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Was it WC Fields or George Best who memorably claimed “to have spent half of my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women, but squandered the rest”? Right now I can’t remember - but something that happened on the press launch of the facelifted Porsche Taycan reminded me of it.

It’s not often that a car maker reveals exactly how the budget for any given model facelift has been spent when introducing it to gathered hacks. In the revised Taycan’s case, however, we were indeed told. Exactly a quarter went on extending the car’s electric range, it transpires, and a little over a quarter on extending its performance. Everything else, it seems - from exterior styling, to interior equipment, snazzy new decals and natty alloy wheels - got quite a lot less cash investment.

It may be that all-new model derivatives, like the one Porsche has just added right at the top of the Taycan range, the Turbo GT, come with their own development budget, of course. Even so, it’s amusing to think that, in substitution of the aforementioned notable expenses of that famous libertarian line, we might well count the carbonfibre wings, carbon-ceramic brakes and ultra-sticky Pirelli Trofeo RS tyres of this all-new super-Taycan among things unlikely to boost the range or efficiency of a revised electric car. If you’ve seen photos of the Turbo GT already, though, you’ll no doubt agree that somehow they're very clearly worth having in any case.

Aside from that new, near-1100bhp, ultra-high-performance derivative, however, the Porsche Taycan has certainly received some key mechanical and technical improvements, which we’ll go on to explore here. The 2019 version was codenamed J1 by Porsche; this revised version is referred to as J1.2 - and it can be expected to extend the lifecycle of the car way out towards the end of this decade.

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porsche taycan review 2024 02 panning

Of chief significance among the technical content of the Porsche Taycan’s facelift are a pair of new nickel-manganese-cobalt drive battery packs, now with either 82kWh or 97kWh of usable capacity, depending on which derivative you buy (and whether you option Porsche’s Performance Battery Plus). The packs have new cell chemistry and can discharge and recharge more quickly (the 97kWh one at up to 320kW at a DC rapid charger of sufficient power). 

Allied to this is a new, higher-power and more efficient power inverter, along with a new primary electric drive motor for the rear axle, with differently arranged permanent magnets and more effectively wound stator wiring than the one it replaces, and it can output up to 107bhp more. Single-motor cars are driven by this motor alone, and via a two-speed automatic transmission; twin-motor cars add a second unit on the front axle, driving through a single-speed transmission.

The visual tweaks to the Taycan are quite subtle. If you're wondering which model you're looking at, check the the headlights. The facelift has lost the air vent that ran down like a tear from the headlight. The headlight units now also fill the fold with the bonnet instead of a piece of black plastic doing the same.

Both the batteries and new rear motor are lighter than their predecessors. So, thanks to a lot of wider design detail improvements besides, the electric range of the longest-striding Taycan model (the entry-level Taycan, with optional Performance Battery Plus) rises from 277 miles to 422 miles on the WLTP combined lab test. A pretty darned impressive result for a mid-life facelift, that.

Elsewhere in the model line-up, electric range takes comparable hikes - as does peak power output (which, in the Taycan’s case, is available for short periods of time only, during launch control starts and driver-selected moments of push-to-pass-style motor and battery overboost). The Taycan 4S can now develop as much as 590bhp, the Turbo 872bhp and the Turbo S a whacking 939bhp.

The Taycan range is mostly structured as it was. So there’s a single-motor base model at the foot of the line-up and, above that, incrementally more powerful twin-motor 4S, Turbo and Turbo S models, leading up to the new range-topping Taycan Turbo GT. For bodystyles, you can still choose between regular four-door saloon, five-door Sport Turismo wagon and five-door, high-rise, all-surface Cross Turismo wagon versions (although there’s no single-motor Cross Turismo, but instead a Taycan 4 model in its place). Thanks to the aforementioned upgrades, the 0-62mph sprint for the single-motor Taycan is cut from 5.4sec to 4.8sec, while for the Turbo S it’s trimmed from 2.8sec to 2.4sec.

All versions of the car, right down to the entry-level rear-wheel-drive model, are now air suspended and all get more comfort and convenience features (a reversing camera, heated front seats, a heat pump for the powertrain and a wireless smartphone charger) as standard.


porsche taycan review 2024 07 dash

Access to the Taycan remains a little tight for a luxury GT, through fairly snug apertures for both front and rear passenger doors. Once you’re in, though, there’s room for taller adults up front and slightly smaller ones in the back row. For what is quite a big car, rear legroom and boot space remain disappointing.

The driving position is low for an EV, and despite lacking adjustable lumbar support even the standard seats are very comfortable. Keen drivers will still want to upgrade for more lateral support, however

A new digital instrument for the Taycan combines information about remaining range with current battery temperature and associated peak potential rapid-charging speed. Once you’re plugged in, it also indicates actual charging power draw (from the particular charger) versus maximum potential (for the vehicle) at current battery condition and temperature. It is all such useful intel that you wonder why other cars don't offer similar.

Visibility forwards over the low bonnet is good and gives you that typically Porsche view over the headlight 'tunnels'. The belt line is rather high, however, and the rear bulkhead is very tall, so you're thankful for the various parking cameras.

Secondary controls are mostly carried on touchscreens, with permanent capacitive ‘buttons’ for damper adjustment and stability control positioned around the periphery of the instrument binnacle, while climate controls are carried by a lower, secondary touchscreen display with haptic feedback (so it requires a slightly firmer push of the finger than we'd like in order to register an input).

Boot space in the four-door model is sufficient for a few medium-sized cases but is greater and more flexible in Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo models - although in all three cases, Porsche’s cable storage holdall is large and bulky. There's an 84-litre frunk that can be opened from the key, too.

Multimedia system

The multimedia system in the Taycan is largely the same as in all modern Porsches. It's not the slickest system, with some input lag and some menus that could have been laid out more simply. However, it generally works as you expect it to and has a permanent shortcut bar. The built-in navigation system is quite clear and has up-to-date traffic info but is a little too keen to send you on a rat run to save one or two minutes.

The headline novelty for the updated Taycan is deeper integration of Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. If you have the My Porsche app on your phone, you can create a new menu within CarPlay to control vehicle functions such as the climate control and trip computer. It also shows you things such as weather, playlists and nearby cafes. It’s a neat feature, but given most of those functions are easily accessible either within the normal CarPlay menus or the native interface, it lacks some added value.


porsche taycan review 2024 16 front cornering

We tested the 4S, Turbo and Turbo S derivatives at the car’s press launch in Seville and subsequently performance-tested a single-motor version in the UK. Given even the entry-level version has 429bhp and a quoted 0-62mph time of 4.8sec, none wants for plentiful, accessible power.

In our testing, the rear-drive Taycan with the Performance Battery Plus shaved a further 0.3sec off its quoted acceleration time and carried on to its 146mph top speed with no trouble at all. Curiously, despite having slightly less power than the car it directly replaces (429bhp vs 469bhp), it proved even quicker, reaching 100mph in a second less. This supposed base model will out-accelerate an E63-generation BMW M6 (that's the one from 2005 with the V10) up to 140mph. Buy a quicker model if you want - but there’s no question that anyone would actually need to.

More than its outright performance, I'm impressed by how nice the Taycan is to drive gently. You can turn the one-pedal driving all the way off and glide serenely. The long-travel accelerator pedal is tuned for gentle take-up, which all makes driving the Taycan smoothly very satisfying indeed.

In the case of the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S, the car’s appetite for speed can begin to feel quite savage when fully tapped - but linear and perfectly responsive accelerator pedal calibration means that, even here, you never put on more speed than you intend. 

Porsche has added a push-to-pass button on the car’s steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector knob, which dials up a 10sec hit of additional motor power on cars so equipped (dual-motor, Sport Chrono package, optional bigger battery) - but with so much power under your toe to begin with, it’s something you seldom find a need for on the road.

Use Normal driving mode and there’s no noise to speak of from the Taycan’s powertrain; dial up Sport or Sport Plus and there’s a synthesised electric powertrain noise to add some performance flavour - but you can turn it off individually if you so choose, and it’s one of the most subtle of its kind. The way it helps to telegraph throttle load, as well as the point at which the rear motor changes from first to second gear, is actually quite useful.

Drivability is kept simple. There are no dedicated physical energy regeneration controls, although one of the steering wheel buttons can be mapped to switch regen between off and either auto or 'on'. Even in its strongest mode, it's quite mild – certainly not enough for one-pedal operation – and most of the regen is controlled via the brake pedal.

For this generation Porsche has improved the brake pedal feel, which was a notable weakness on the original car. It is now easy to modulate, certainly feels less mushy and is disconnected under partial but still hard braking. Even so, it continues to lack the reassuring feel of Porsche's piston-engined cars, or some other manufacturers' EVs. Ultimate stopping power is not in doubt, however: on a dry track, our rear-drive test car needed just 44.6m to stop from 70mph, pulling up in a perfectly controlled and undramatic fashion.


porsche taycan review 2024 17 rear cornering

It’s the Taycan’s handling - its deeply impressive blend of immaculate close body control and ride sophistication, allied to beautifully weighted steering and effortlessly level, perfectly poised cornering manners - that continues to distinguish the car even more clearly than its performance. Other comparable EVs just don’t get down the road so supremely well, marshal their weight so cleverly or juggle settled ride comfort with compelling handling smarts so brilliantly.

The Taycan has a very typically Porsche character to its ride and handling. Even the rear-drive model is not as effortlessly adjustable and capital-F 'fun' as a Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, but it never feels anything other than satisfying and engaging. With that said, the PSM sport setting allows quite a lot of rotation before reining things in.

The Taycan is a very quiet motorway cruiser. We measured 66dBA at 70mph – the same as before the facelift. However, the wheels can thump quite noisily through surface imperfections.

Whereas previously the rear-drive model used coil springs, all updated Taycans ride on adaptive air suspension. That doesn't mean they ever feel like plush barges, however. Quite to the contrary. Even in the softest suspension setting, the Taycan always feels firm but exquisitely well damped, and it does settle down at speed. It rides well, just in a completely different manner from that of a Mercedes EQE.

The interesting addition here is the Taycan’s new Porsche Active Ride system: an interlinked active damping system that uses electrically pressurised hydraulic reservoirs to manipulate each wheel in order to smooth out the ride and likewise even actively influence and change the car’s body posture within just fractions of a second.

It’s an option on most Taycans, adding 30kg itself to the car’s mass. Porsche has tuned it as a comfort-boosting system – you might have read about its ability to incline the car into corners a little like a motorcycle or to pitch the body forwards under acceleration and backwards under braking more like a helicopter in flight in our recent review of the Porsche Panamera (in which it also features).

It certainly sounded gimmicky but its effect is quite subtle in the Taycan so the car’s handling still feels wonderfully natural. The tilting and pitching functions are most pronounced in Normal driving mode and less pronounced in Sport and disabled entirely in Sport Plus, but even at their strongest, I barely noticed them. 

What you can’t fail to notice, however, is a car with superb body control, lovely uncorrupted steering and only a modicum of road noise to mar its otherwise excellent touring manners.


porsche taycan review 2024 01 front tracking

Porsche has hiked Taycan prices by around 8% compared with the pre-facelifted car – a not unreasonable decision based on the performance, range and equipment that have been added.

Residual values on the car are a far cry from what they once were, though, having taken some serious blows over the past couple of years with so many second-hand examples flooding the market and depressing prices. 

I spent half an hour going around Millbrook Proving Ground's high-speed bowl at 100mph in an attempt to flatten the battery for a DC charging test. Efficiency dropped to 2.2mpkWh, which would still make longer Autobahn jaunts very doable.

That’s likely to make personal finance deals pricier than some will be expecting. For those buying with cash, CAP now expects an entry-level, 89kWh Taycan saloon to retain 45% of its original showroom price after three years and 18,000 miles of use, and a Turbo S to retain 43%.

Real-world electric range need concern owners less, however. Our testing on European roads suggested that the more powerful Turbo and Turbo S models should consistently cover 300 miles on a full charge in mixed use, while a 4S might do more like 320 miles when fitted with Porsche's optional Performance Plus battery. (No standard batteries were available to test.)

During UK testing our rear-drive Taycan with the larger battery returned 3.7mpkWh (including performance testing) in dry weather and temperatures in the high teens. This would make for a real-world range of 360 miles – a very impressive result for this type of car.

Porsche’s battery chemistry changes, meanwhile, are claimed to allow the car to maintain higher DC rapid-charging rates for longer periods than the pre-facelifted Taycan could, and at lower temperatures. In practice, Porsche claims, that almost halves the time a 10%-80% charge might take in a 15deg C ambient temperature - assuming you’re at a sufficiently fast charger, of course.

At the time of publication (May 2024), the updated Taycan is, by some margin, the fastest car we ever subjected to a DC rapid charging test, despite suboptimal conditions. We didn't get the chance to run the battery down to below 10%, didn't pre-condition the battery and used a relatively busy charging site. Due to time constraints, couldn't re-run the test. Even so, from 17% to 65% SoC, it held around 280kW, dropping to 240kW at 70%, 100kW at 80% and 59kW at 90%. 20-80% took just 15 minutes. We hope to repeat the test properly at some point, but even so, it shows how far ahead of the pack the Taycan is for rapid charging.


porsche taycan review 2024 20 front static

Back in 2020, when we finally got to road test it, the Porsche Taycan earned a five-star recommendation from us and rightful recognition as the outstanding electric driver’s car of the moment. In 2024, this facelifted version is no longer the game-changer it was back then, having firmly joined the establishment.

But Porsche has certainly made this car better in important respects, while it remains as strong as ever in others. Although the context in which it competes has changed a lot, what makes the Taycan truly special hasn’t changed much at all. It is outstanding to drive, alluring to behold, sophisticated-feeling to travel in and decently usable with it - now especially so thanks to Porsche's range and charging improvements.

Illya Verpraet

Illya Verpraet Road Tester Autocar
Title: Road Tester

As part of Autocar’s road test team, Illya drives everything from superminis to supercars, and writes reviews, comparison tests, as well as the odd feature and news story. 

Much of his time is spent wrangling the data logger and wielding the tape measure to gather the data for Autocar’s eight-page road tests, which are the most rigorous in the business thanks to independent performance, fuel consumption and noise figures.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.