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2020 Porsche Taycan vs. Tesla Model S Performance: Rival EVs compared

Finally, some competition.

By Andrew Krok, Roadshow

It's about time. For years, the Tesla Model S has lived as the only full-size luxury electric sedan, happily soaking up all the cash from well-heeled buyers looking to green with a six-figure price tag. Its most powerful variant, the Tesla Model S Performance, boasts some serious performance chops, to boot.

But now, there's another sheriff in town, and its name is Porsche Taycan. Revealed Wednesday, Porsche's first battery-electric vehicle is ready to bring the German automaker's brand of sporting pretensions to a segment ripe for competition. So how does it stack up against its chief competitor? Let's find out. For the purpose of this comparison, we'll be using the Taycan's most powerful variant thus far, the Taycan Turbo S.


Since the Taycan Turbo S and Model S Performance compete against each other, it's no surprise that they're similarly sized. In terms of overall length, the Model S is just 0.3 inches longer, and its width trails the Taycan by just 0.1 inches (although it grows to be 1.8 inches wider when including mirrors). The two cars may have similar lengths, but the Tesla's wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer. The Tesla's track is wider at the rear, but what's most interesting here is that the Taycan's front track (the distance between the center of the front wheels) is wider than the rear track. Interesting.

The Tesla is a full 2.6 inches taller, and its hatchback gives it some serious storage capacity: 26.3 cubic feet of rear cargo space, compared to the Taycan's 12.9. The Porsche wins the frunk battle, though, with 2.9 cubic feet of space compared to the Model S' 2.1. 


Teslas have always touted their range, and the Model S Performance is no exception. Since the EPA has yet to rate the Taycan, we'll be going off Porsche's own WLTP estimates for its range, which is currently 256 miles for the Turbo S variant. That's more than 100 miles shy of Tesla's WLTP-estimated 365-mile range. This is interesting, because Porsche's packing nearly the same battery capacity as the Model S Performance, with 93.4 kWh versus Tesla's 100 kWh. Both cars feature their batteries under the floor to keep the center of gravity low.

While both cars have two electric motors, one on each axle, the motors themselves are slightly different. The Taycan Turbo S uses two permanent-magnet synchronous motors, while the Model S Performance has a permanent-magnet synchronous motor in the rear, but an older induction-type motor up front.


Things are pretty close here, too. The Taycan Turbo S' are capable of overboosting for short periods of time to produce about 751 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to shove the car to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, continuing on to a top speed of about 162 mph. Without the overboost function, the motors produce 617 horsepower and an unspecified amount of torque.

The Model S Performance, on the other hand, produces approximately 762 horsepower and 723 pound-feet of torque from its motors. Sixty mph arrives in a slightly quicker 2.4 seconds, and the top speed is a smidge higher at 163.

The Model S Performance is the more slippery of the two cars, with a drag coefficient of 0.23 versus the Taycan Turbo S' figure of 0.25. The tables turn, however, when taking the "base" Taycan Turbo into account, which bests both cars with a drag coefficient of 0.22.


Tesla is a master of the big-screen game, being the first to debut a positively monstrous 17-inch portrait-style infotainment touchscreen in its vehicles, in addition to a 12-ish-inch screen replacing the gauge cluster. Tesla's own infotainment system lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto , but it does allow for Bluetooth music streaming, in addition to built-in Slacker Radio capability and over-the-air updates.

The Taycan, on the other hand, splits its screens up a bit more. The gauge cluster is a 16.8-inch screen capable of displaying multiple features at once. There's a centrally located 10.9-inch infotainment screen, with a second 8.4-incher for climate controls and handwriting recognition. Apple CarPlay is standard, as is a new digital assistant that answers to "Hey, Porsche." If that's not enough, there's also an optionally available infotainment screen just for the front passenger.

And then there's Autopilot. Tesla's lane-holding highway assist has been kicking around in various iterations for years, with more features being tacked on along the way. Porsche lacks a system with such capability, but then again, who really wants to let their Porsche do the driving?


Here's where Tesla seriously has the upper hand. The current Model S Long Range starts at $79,990 before factoring in local incentives, and climbs to $99,990 for the Performance. With added extras like premium paint colors, 21-inch wheels, the black-and-white interior and the not-yet-released "full self-driving" feature, a fully loaded Model S Performance comes in at $114,900.

The Taycan, meanwhile, is priced at $150,900 for the Turbo and $185,000 for the Turbo S. And that's only if you order them now. At market launch, the prices increase to $153,310 and $187,610, respectively.

Down to brass tacks

On paper, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and the Tesla Model S Performance are pretty darn similar. Yet, it appears a fair bit more performance-oriented than the Model S, thanks to inclusions like standard carbon-ceramic brakes. The Model S, on the other hand, keeps things a little more livable, with more cargo capacity, interior space and range. It all comes down to how you like your steak prepared, really. Will this hypothesis hold up once we get to drive the Taycan? Keep your eyes peeled to Roadshow to find out.


Note: If you think this story need more information or correction, feel free to comment below your opinion and reaction.

Autos News: 2020 Porsche Taycan vs. Tesla Model S Performance: Rival EVs compared
2020 Porsche Taycan vs. Tesla Model S Performance: Rival EVs compared
Finally, some competition.
Autos News
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