Car And Driver’s Test Between The Porsche Taycan And Tesla Model S Proves Porsche Was Right

Car And Driver’s Test Between The Porsche Taycan And Tesla Model S Proves Porsche Was Right
Composite edited by author. (Image: Porsche, Tesla)

The Porsche Taycan Turbo S and the Tesla Model S Performance have finally gone head-to-head in one of the first comprehensive tests of the two cars together. The results show that, while the Tesla is the better EV deal, Porsche seems right about the performance of the Taycan beating its estimates.

As details of the technical capability of Porsche’s first mainstream electric car and its answer to Tesla, the 2020 Porsche Taycan, have trickled out, it’s been one disappointment after another.

On paper, the Taycan Turbo S doesn’t match the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of the top-of-the-range Tesla, and doesn’t come close to the California car’s overall estimated range figure. Porsche claims the Taycan gets from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.6 seconds with up to 750 horsepower, with an EPA-estimated range of just 192 miles (309 km). The Model S Performance boasts a claimed 0 to 60 mph time of 2.4 seconds and an EPA-estimated range of 348 miles (560 km).

Not only does the Taycan Turbo S fall behind on performance, but it also costs more than the Tesla at $US185,000 ($277,104) versus the Model S price starting at $US99,990 ($149,771).

So, not good. But from the beginning, Porsche has claimed the Taycan’s performance, while falling behind Tesla on paper, is extremely close to matching the electric car juggernaut. Porsche’s key argument for the Taycan is that it is engineered to perform with consistent results, where the Tesla’s performance begins to degrade the harder and more frequently you push the car.

Porsche has also claimed the EPA estimates for the Taycan are extremely conservative, claiming the Turbo S’s EPA-estimated 192 mile range should actually be closer to 278 miles (447 km) in the real world.

The good news is that Car And Driver’s first big test pitting the two cars against one another directly appears to reflect Porsche’s claims accurately.

Porsche Taycan [left] versus Tesla Model S Performance (Raven) [right] results from Car And Driver:

  • Rollout, 1 ft: 0.2 sec; 0.2 sec

  • 60 mph (97 km/h): 2.4 sec; 2.5 sec

  • 100 mph (161 km/h): 6.0 sec; 6.4 sec

  • 130 mph (209 km/h): 10.5 sec; 11.9 sec

  • 150 mph: 15.2 sec; 18.5 sec

  • Rolling start, 5–60 mph (97 km/h): 2.9 sec; 2.8 sec

  • Top gear, 30–50 mph (48-80 km/h): 1.1 sec; 1.1 sec

  • Top gear, 50–70 mph (90-113 km/h): 1.6 sec; 1.6 sec

  • ¼-mile: 10.5 sec @ 130 mph (209 km/h); 10.7 sec @ 125 mph

  • Top speed (mfr’s claim): 162 mph (261 km/h); 163 mph (262 km/h)

  • Braking, 70–0 mph (112-0 km/h): 155 ft; 156 ft

  • Braking, 100–0 mph (160-0 km/h): 306 ft; 313 ft

  • Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.99 g; 0.92 g

Car And Driver" loading="lazy" > Graphic: Car And Driver

According to Car And Driver’s stats, the Taycan Turbo S bested the Model S from 0 to 60 mph, 0 to 100 mph, 0 to 130 mph, and 0 to 150 mph, with an increasing margin at each speed interval between the two suggesting the Taycan can really pull away from the Tesla.

Naturally, this means the Turbo S also beat the Tesla in the quarter-mile by 0.2 seconds, and that time includes a shift to second gear in the Taycan’s two-speed transmission.

The results also showed the Taycan launched “harder” at 1.3 g than the Tesla could pull off, but while the Porsche was quicker at braking from 70 mph, the Tesla’s brakes won out stopping from 100 mph.

These numbers seem to backup Porsche’s claim that it engineered a performance car first, electric car second. The article also claims that, “unlike the Tesla, the Porsche will replicate those numbers over and over again,” which is exactly what Porsche has been claiming.

[For] all the discussion of the Model S’s fleetness, it is incredibly fussy to achieve its max-acceleration times. It must be fully charged, and using the Ludicrous Plus mode requires preheating the battery for 45 minutes. After the initial hero run, the Tesla’s times fall off quickly, slowing to the point that we were jotting notes while waiting for the quarter-mile to arrive.

Car And Driver didn’t test each automaker’s claimed top speed, so they only reported the claimed figures where the Tesla wins by 1 mph. I also wasn’t thrilled with C&D’s range test, where they drove each car an average of 75 mph (121 km/h) over 100 miles (161 km) on the same oval track to measure efficiency.

The results appear to show both cars somehow averaged an estimated 70 MPGe, despite the Tesla supposedly having a combined efficiency rating of 104 MPGe, according to the EPA. The projected range in the test for each car was 209 miles (336 km) for the Porsche versus just 222 miles (357 km) for the Tesla. Keep in mind that’s projecting efficiency from just the first 100 miles (161 km/h), consistently travelling at 75 mph (121 km/h). During my own recent drive of the Taycan, a Porsche rep claimed that EVs struggle over 70 mph (113 km/h), as their efficiency begins to dramatically drop off at higher speeds.

The rest of the conditions of the testing, like whether or not HVAC was running and what other systems or factors may have been draining energy from each car, isn’t mentioned in the article. I wouldn’t take these range results as gospel. It’s also worth noting that the Taycan tested was still a prototype model.

The build quality of each car was also a factor in this test, with Car And Driver finding the Model S fit and finish to still be lacking, with notable panel gaps, despite years of complaints and supposed work to fix it at Tesla. They also found the Porsche to be quieter on the road at 70 mph (113 km/h).

In the end, Car And Driver’s test came down to the Model S Performance being the better car, with some interesting conditions. “Judged from the driver’s seat alone, the Taycan is the better car. It meets the high expectations of this storied brand, proves its real-world range, and moves the EV bar on a couple fronts. But price is always a factor; in this case, an insurmountable one,” the Car And Driver article concludes.

I guess if you’ve got the money and want to push your car harder when you have the chance, you should have a clear idea of which EV to settle into. Regardless, it’s close enough to make the Porsche a hard bargain over the Tesla’s steeply cheaper starting price.