By on December 11, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

Porsche has taken payments from 30,000 European customers eager to be among the first to drive the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, the Taycan sedan. The number of reservations exceeded the automaker’s expectations, according to CEO Oliver Blume.

It also gives some amount of hope that electric vehicles still have a place in the premium market space. EV sales remain weak and high-end models like Jaguar’s E-Pace and Audi’s e-tron have struggled, though both have suffered supply-related struggles since entering production.

However, thus far affordable electrics have failed to take over the market. Despite the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt outperforming their fancier European counterparts in most regions that aren’t China, Tesla remains the biggest dog in the yard. Model 3 sales remain comparatively strong and people continue purchasing the brand’s pricier electrics at a rate other manufacturers can only envy.

That’s one reason the Taycan earned the title “Tesla Killer” back when Porsche HQ was still calling it the Mission E. All measures of success in the EV world are placed squarely against the mechanical offspring of Elon Musk. Fortunately, Porsche has managed to come out of the gate relatively strong.

Naysayers will likely note that Porsche and Tesla are brands for affluent people and poseurs desperate to look wealthy and swollen with good taste. But they also offer something truly novel (Tesla has farting turn signals!), and the electric revolution has to exist somewhere if it’s to persist at all. If those with extra cash are willing to foot the bill while battery costs come down, all the better. Mainstream manufacturers are feverishly working to bring more interesting electric designs to market, many of which won’t be expensive showpieces or bargain-basement eco-boxes. As those products flood into their respective markets over the coming years, we’ll have a better sense of what the general public is actually interested in. For now, chic sedans that aren’t quite within everyone’s financial reach are holding down the fort.

According to Germany’s Handelsblatt, Taycan reservations required a downpayment of 2,500 euros. Some 10,000 of the 30,000 individuals who dropped cash to hold the model have already placed a firm order to buy a Taycan. Porsche plans to ship another 20,000 units to the United States in 2020. If the company manages to sell them all in a single year, it may become the de facto leader in premium electrification by edging out the Model S — despite having no hope of catching the more affordable Model 3.

Still, we’re still not sure if direct comparisons to Tesla are truly fair. While Porsche is definitely targeting people prone to buying a Model S, the two vehicles have somewhat different objectives. Porsche’s Taycan (522 to 750 hp, depending on trim) is clearly more of a performance sedan with luxury playing second fiddle; the still-fast Model S sees the world the other way round. As Porsche collects deposits, Tesla is also receiving heaps of praise for the number of reservations made on Cybertruck, which is on course for 200,000 holds by the end of this year. Unlike Taycan, Tesla’s pickup has a much lower MSRP and only asks for $100 down (refundable) on reserves.

The true test (or the best we can come up with) will likely be to see whether or not the Taycan can supplant the Model S as the world’s preferred premium electric sedan. We can’t determine that until its been in production for a while, meaning these reservation figures are little more than a good omen.

Image: Porsche AG

[Images: Porsche]

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21 Comments on “Good Omen: Porsche Is Plenty Pleased With Taycan Reservations...”

  • avatar

    “Porsche’s Taycan (522 to 750 hp, depending on trim) is clearly more of a performance sedan with luxury playing second fiddle; the still-fast Model S sees the world the other way round.”

    Really? Because I’ve never found the Tesla S interior to be very upscale or inviting. That of the Taycan, based only on the photos I’ve seen, hits the bullseye on both counts. As does the Panamera, for that matter.

  • avatar

    Speaking of Porsches, I saw my first Cayman in person at ground level, so to speak, in a parking lot. Seen a few on the road, but never before from so up close and personal, never paid much attention to them. And all I saw was that huge Kardashian butt. Didn’t even recognize it as a Porsche at first, had to double check the branding to be sure. I will never be able to see one on the road again without noticing that.

  • avatar

    But they also offer something truly novel (Tesla has farting turn signals!),

    Yes, that’s the novel part. It’s not the 588 horsepower and 920 lb-ft of torque available instantly from 0 RPM for the P100D or 751bhp 774 lb-ft for the Taycan. No, that’s not it at all.

  • avatar

    To me, the Taycan 4S immediately makes the Model S pointless. It comes from a real OEM not under the influence of a stoned, safety-blind douchebag CEO. It’s far more stylish outside and especially inside. And it promises to have better dynamics. If I were rich enough to buy a $100k sedan I would have a reservation in; there’s nothing else at the price point (or above, really) that I’d rather own.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The ‘real OEM’ for EVs is Tesla. For now, everybody else is playing catch up.

      How many people make a vehicle purchase based upon their opinion of the mfr’s CEO? I’ve had 6 H/K cars, and I can’t name a single person in those companies.

      The Taycan has no Supercharger network to support it, but I’m sure it will be a nice car for shorter trips. It’s got almost 50% less range than a Model S, and it’s $10-30k more expensive, but maybe that doesn’t matter so much in this category.

      • 0 avatar

        You have to take Elon into account because his actions regularly increase the risk that there won’t be a company there in three years to provide warranty support. That could be because his flights of fancy lead the company into selling unprofitable cars, or because it gets sued out of existence as a result of some catastrophic event stemming from his devil-may-care attitude toward safety.

        Elon and his attitude aren’t the only reason we chose a Bolt instead of a Model 3, but they’re a non-trivial part of it.

        • 0 avatar

          “ or because it gets sued out of existence”

          How exactly would that happen? It could be sued such that the IP is owned by VW or BMW or SAIC rather than Musk. But please explain how it gets sued out of existence?

      • 0 avatar

        Something got left out of the article. The Taycan’s EPA range in only 201 compared to the Model S range of 373. If the Maxwell technology makes it into the Plaid S next year, that range could go even higher. We could see a Model S with double the range of a Taycan. There’s already a video on youtube of a Taycan trying to catch a Model S on the Autobahn. It fails. Why? Low on charge and they have to exit.

        I still like the Model 3 performance over the Taycan. The 3 is about 10 inches shorter in length, 2 inches narrower, and one inch shorter wheelbase. But, weight is 1,300 lbs less. The 3 is either the same or .4 (the Turbo S) seconds lower for 0 to 60. Range is over 100 miles greater on the 3. Plus, you could buy 2 or 3 Model 3 Performances (even with the aftermarket carbon ceramic brake upgrade) for the same money as the Porsche. BTW, I priced the Taycan at $220k. Sure, the interior is nicer and there are some other nice features, but just isn’t worth the extra money to me.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, the first proper car in the class. Teslas are definitely no longer status symbols but instead the ‘kit-car’ level thing you buy if you can’t afford the Porsche. Someone drives up in a Model S and the image now is of someone who is a follower, who bought a Model S used.

  • avatar

    It is funny how people who did not accomplish anything meaningful in their life tend to call Musk names. As if anyone cares.

  • avatar

    What’s interesting is comparing the Taycan 4S to BMW M140i xDrive or M340i xDrive. The Taycan costs 3x or 2x the price of those, and what does it really offer compared to those? Even the interior isn’t _that_ much nicer (and ergonomicslly a lot worse), I’d say pretty much only image and possibly it might be slightly quieter (not due to being electric, but due to more noise insulation). And of course the Porsche has a lot more crazy luxury options like leather-covered vent drilles etc. Suspension comfort should be very equal, at least when the BMWs are equipped with active suspension. Performance is very equal, size and space is similar between M140i and Taycan but M140i is a lot more useable, and the M340i is bigger (especially the touring). The BMWs weigh approx 650kg and 720kg less!!

    • 0 avatar

      You have of course totally missed the point. Hit the gas in the BMW and you gotta wait for the transmission to downshift. Then you wait for the turbos to spool up. Then wait for the engine RPMs to rise. And only then to you really start to move. In the Tesla or the Taycan you hit the gas and instantly YOU’RE OFF! In an instant.

      • 0 avatar

        You don’t have to wait for the transmission to downshift, no turbo lag, no need for high revs. Both M140i and M340i have 500Nm (370 lb ft) from well under 2000rpm. As if proper drivers would really need super-instant acceleration response: only lazy morons trying out a party trick once or twice when they have a new toy ‘need’ that. Real drivers know when there will be a need for acceleration in advance anyway, and they will be in the optimum gear.

        For standing starts the BMWs, like most sporty ICE cars, have launch control and even without you can prepare your car for an instant enough acceleration that the AWD system will fully be using up the tire grip. Paper figures for the M140i xDrive and M340i xDrive are 4.4 seconds to 100km/h, and real world numbers I’ve seen are 4.0 and 3.7 seconds. So what shifts and spool-ups are you having to wait for?

        On the other side of the coin electric cars lack engine sound, which is so important to people that they spend thousands on aftermarket exhausts, and lots of time on that stuff. People love engine noise. Electric cars have none of that at all.

        ICE engines with their multi-ratio gearboxes offer great reference points which are enjoyable and useful when driving to give you feel of the speed you’re travelling at etc.

        In the EVs I’ve driven the regen-deceleration is unpredictable: you hit a bump and the car lets off on the regen which is like pulling a rug out from under you.

        Then there’s the whole lacking range issue of the Taycan, range anxiety, charging issues… None of that for the BMWs, though for them the negative is the (perceived?) slight difference in environmental impact. But even in the worst case scenario those massively heavy, huge-battery behemoth Taycan are far from carbon neutral and are only very very slightly better than the BMWs overall if at all.

        I for one would rather drive in a world full of the lighter BMWs (with Euro6 and Euro6d emissions standard engines, so basically harmless to humans in direct pollution) than the super heavy pothole-generating Taycans…

        • 0 avatar

          My car has launch control too. Let’s just say that in everyday driving, it’s not such a hot idea to use it – it’s hard to unring that particular bell.

          The advantage of an electric is that it basically gives you launch control with zero drama. The power’s instant-on, instant-off, and totally effortless.

          You don’t get the tactile feel that you get in a conventional car, of course, and that’s a downside for me. Still, what I sampled was good enough that I’d consider an electric in a few years when I’m done with my current car.

          YMMV, of course.

          • 0 avatar

            No, it’s the Taycan that is dependent on launch control. The ICE BMWs give you full power always (also easily tuned to massively more power), and they’re easy to launch and overall drive in a sporty way without any special modes. It’s the Taycan that only gives its full advertised power in ‘overboost mode’, so you really do have to use launch control to get the same performance as those ‘lowly’ BMWs.

  • avatar

    It’s a Porsche, or as most know it now “not as good as a Tesla.”

    Porsche doesn’t have the engineering chops to compete with Tesla on EV’s- they’re a peddler of rebadged VW CUVs wrapped up in their heritage branding, but they’re boat-anchored to VWAG’s second rate engineering and design while stuck in the same bureaucracy that caused Dieselgate. Tesla’s got a massive head start by owning the EV space, whereas Porsche is about as relevant as BMW.

  • avatar

    “You don’t have to wait for the transmission to downshift, no turbo lag, no need for high revs. Both M140i and M340i have 500Nm (370 lb ft) from well under 2000rpm.”

    That’s not correct. Those BMWs, like other turbo cars (including my Golf R) only develop that power and torque at full throttle and with the turbo spooled up. If you’re pootling along at a small throttle opening and low rpm, your turbo is spooled way down. Giving it full gas serves you a big helping of turbo lag and not a lot forward progress until the engine comes on boost. Mashing the throttle on a naturally aspirated engine gives good response unless you’re way out of the torque curve. Doing the same with an EV gets you the full beans, since their electric drives are designed for full torque delivery from zero rpm.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, turbo cars have lag, but how much? Modern water-to-air intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged engines have almost none at all. Not to the point that it would make any real world performance difference. To suggest that is quite something.

      It’s even more questionable to suggest that it would be important or even in any way relevant that while driven in relaxed freeway mode it should then be able to give absolutely 100% of its available power (which the Porsche doesn’t give you, for that you need for it to allow you to use its ‘overboost’ reserves) in a few nanoseconds. And that a few nanoseconds more for that absolutely full potential power is completely unacceptable.

      When a car is driven fast it is never with only a fraction of a second’s notice. Or if it is then that certainly is not an everyday occurrence or in any way an important thing. At least I know when I’m braking hard into a corner and then about to be at the apex where I can start feeding in the throttle. I know when I’m approaching a freeway on-ramp, those certainly don’t come to me as a complete surprise. I know at least half a second before I feel like putting the pedal to the metal on an autobahn. I always have time to click the car into sport or sport+ mode (which automatically puts it into a lower gear) and click the paddles for a gear or two down.

      And the modern turbo cars I’ve driven, especially modern BMW turbocharged straight sixes, have certainly not been slow even if I haven’t clicked a few gears down before hitting the throttle!! I don’t know what is wrong with your Golf R. Maybe it’s just that it lacks the sophistication so it has more lag, or that it has nowhere near the 500Nm of torque (even without ‘overboost’ mode) or over 660Nm with a simple stage 1 tune that you can get with an M140i… Peak torque is at 1520rpm by the way.

      • 0 avatar

        I want to add that I consider engine responsiveness to be a top priority and therefore prefer naturally aspirated engines. That is for feel and enjoyment though, and performance-wise unfortunately maximising even clumsy boost is faster or at least won’t hinder your performance.

        I have owned an EV and have experienced the effect of electric engine ‘power fill’ on my PHEVs. That instant reaction does have its perks, but it isn’t always quite as instant as you’d think in all EVs, so I’d have to try the Taycan to see how it really behaves. Plus, as mentioned if the alternative has a more power, is probably usually geared more beneficially (I don’t know what the effect of the ICE’s 8 gears and final drive is vs. the Taycan’s 2 gears and higher rev range of the motors), and weighs soooo much less…

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