|(Image source: Porsche)|
When Porsche cannonballed into to the EV pool with the announcement of the Taycan in September, the company followed a rational strategy of launching with the top-of-the-line Turbo and Turbo S models, figuring that early adopters would be happy to pay the price tags of those two cars.
A month or so later, Porsche has closed the circle by introducing the base model, the Taycan 4S. The 4S still has a six-figure price tag, but it is much less expensive than either of the Turbos, positioning it closer to the incumbent market leader, Tesla's Model S.
|This Porsche has no fuel filler. (Image source: Porsche)|
The Taycan 4S retains the same arrangement as the Turbo models, with a 300-amp pulse-controller inverter sending power to the motor driving the front wheels through a direct-drive axle and a 600-amp inverter for the motor spinning the rears through a two-speed transaxle.
The 4S however features a smaller 79.2 kilowatt-hour 613-volt lithium-ion Performance Battery pack as standard equipment, while the same 93.4-kWh, 723-volt pack used in the Turbos is available as the optional Performance Battery Plus for the Taycan 4S. The standard pack uses 28 battery modules, each containing 12 cells, while the Performance Battery Plus has 33 of the same modules.
|The battery pack for the Taycan 4S has 60 fewer cells than that of the Turbo and Turbo S. (Image source: Porsche)|
Driving range is a crucial benchmark for EVs, and the Taycan 4S has a range of 253 miles, compared to 288 with the Performance Battery Plus pack. That's on the European test cycle; the EPA has not yet rated the driving range of the Taycan.
Of course, more traditional metrics of performance are important to Porsche drivers, and the Taycan 4S is rated at 429 horsepower (320 kW) in regular driving and 522 hp (390 kW) when performing acceleration runs with launch control enabled. Torque is rated at 472 lb.-ft. With the optional larger battery pack, the specs are 482 hp (360 kW) and 563 hp (420 kW), with 479 lb.-ft torque.
|The Taycan features a two-speed rear transaxle that contributes to the car's combination of speed and efficiency. (Image source: Porsche)|
Either way, 0-60 mph acceleration takes 3.8 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. While the larger battery pack provides more power, it is important to remember that it is heavier too, at 1,389 lbs., comparted to 1,221 lbs. for the standard pack.
While the Turbo S rolls on fashionable 21-inch wheels and the Turbo has 20s, the Taycan 4S employs 19-inch wheels, which could appeal to drivers who appreciate the cushier ride provided by taller sidewalls in place of unyielding aluminum. The smaller wheels also weigh less and have less rotational mass, which is advantageous.
|The Taycan's electric motor. (Image source: Porsche)|
What they won't do is fit over the gigantic 420 mm carbon ceramic front brake rotors of the Turbo S or the 415 mm rotors of the Turbo, or the 10-piston calipers squeezing them. In place of the costly carbon ceramic brakes are conventional cast iron 360-mm front brake rotors with 6-piston calipers.
As an EV, of course the Taycan also employs regenerative braking, with the ability to generate 0.39 g of deceleration without even using the friction brakes.
The wheels on the 4S are also narrower, at 8 in.in the front and 10 in. in the rear, making them an inch narrower respectively than the Turbo's wheels and 1.5 in. narrower than those on the Turbo S. This should help reduce aerodynamic drag, but Porsche says the 4S scores the very same 0.22 coefficient of drag as the other models, so it may be that the slightly different bodywork on the 4S keeps things equal among the variants.
|Airflow beneath the car is key to the Taycan's 0.22 coefficient of drag. (Image source: Porsche)|
While most drivers will surely have to use conventional 240-volt AC charging that is commonly available, the Taycan can also use 800-volt DC charging stations that are part of the Volkswagen Group's Electrify America network. Cars equipped with the standard battery can fast-charge at 225 kW, while the Performance Battery Plus can charge at 270 kW.
More common 400-volt DC chargers work at 50 kW, though Porsche offers a Booster that raises that to 150 kW for faster charging at 400-volt stations.
Customers can order the Taycan 4S immediately, but the car won't reach U.S. dealers until spring 2020. The 4S starts at $103,800, compared to $150,900 for the Turbo and $185,000 for the Turbo S. The 4S with the Performance Battery Plus starts at $110,380.
Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.