The rear-wheel-drive EV allows Porsche to compete in a lower price bracket.

Until now, the cheapest way into a US-market Porsche EV was the Taycan 4S, which started at $103,800 and offered all-wheel drive and 522 horsepower (390 kilowatts). But a few months ago, we learned that the Chinese would have access to a cheaper, rear-drive variant of the German EV, and we figured we Americans would eventually get a crack at it too. That time has come: The base-model 2021 Porsche Taycan starts at $79,900.

By jettisoning that “4S” badge (and saving $24,900 in the process), the entry Taycan model comes exclusively with rear-wheel drive, thanks to a single, aft-mounted electric motor that makes 402 hp (300 kW) and 254 pound-feet (344 newton-meters) in standard form. Porsche will also offer a Performance Battery Plus option that ups power to 469 hp and 263 lb-ft (350 kW and 357 Nm) by swapping out a 79.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit for one that holds 93.4 kWh.

Gallery: 2021 Porsche Taycan

Charge It!

In either case, the base Porsche Taycan will sprint to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 5.1 seconds – the larger, heavier battery likely hampers off-the-line response, but it comes into its own on the quarter mile, where it cuts 0.2-second from the base setup’s 13.7-second time. Performance Battery Plus is capable of 270-kW charging, compared to 225 kW for the base pack. Both batteries can go from 5 percent to 80 percent charge in 22.5 minutes, although obviously the larger battery will provide more overall range in that time.

Speaking of range, Porsche didn’t release EPA ratings, but according to the NEDC standard, the Chinese-market Taycan can travel 256 miles (412 kilometers) with the base battery or 303 miles (489 kilometers) with the Performance Battery Plus. Applying some rough math derived from the experts at InsideEVs, we think the base Taycan will be EPA-rated at about 200 miles, while higher-capacity battery will have a range of 230 miles, numbers that match the dual-motor 4S. It’s also worth noting that InsideEVs has freeway-tested a Porsche Taycan 4S, achieving nearly 280 miles on a single charge – besting Porsche’s EPA number by 50 miles.

 

Up To Snuff

Paying 80 grand for an EPA range of 200 miles per charge isn’t exactly smart money in a world where the Tesla Model S starts at $69,420 and goes more than 400 miles. But as with other Porsches, the base Taycan provides more to its owner than its spec chart would suggest. For starters, it will get a rather nice interior with Porsche-signature fit and finish, as well as a slinky, low-slung shape that cheats wind with a drag coefficient of 0.24 (matching the Model S). In terms of cabin materials, the more expensive Porsche beats the Tesla by a country mile.

Porsche Active Suspension Management comes standard, although an available air suspension improves aerodynamics (with a Cd of 0.22) and adaptability further. To help compensate for its lower power output, the rear-drive Taycan is lighter by 200 pounds than an equivalent 4S. The Taycan will offer both Porsche Surface-Coated Brakes and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes as an option, though we think that the base stoppers will serve just fine (particularly since they offer a class-leading recuperation rate of 265 kW). That kind of brake regen probably saves lots of wear and heat cycling on the conventional friction brakes.

2021 Porsche Taycan Rear Quarter
2021 Porsche Taycan Rear Badge

Day To Day

Like the rest of the Porsche EV lineup, the base Taycan will come with three years of free Electrify America charging. It will offer a 19.2-kW on-board charger as an option, improving flexibility for owners who regularly have to recharge away from home. Standard features include wireless Apple CarPlay, embedded Apple Music, and over-the-air updates for the Porsche Connect infotainment system.

As on the Porsche 911, new Taycan owners can track the progress of their order – from build to delivery – from their phones. The automaker says the rear-drive 2021 Porsche Taycan will be available in the spring.

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