Here’s a fun story: In 2004, Elon Musk—his pockets full of PayPal profits—walked into the offices of AC Propulsion in the L.A. suburb of San Dimas with some questions. Among them was whether they’d convert his Porsche 911 Turbo into an electric car. He was willing to pay a pretty penny (reportedly $250,000) for it. But Alan Cocconi, AC’s live-wire founder said sorry, no thanks. So Tom Gage, Cocconi’s (likely bewildered) business partner, referred Musk to a promising EV start-up they both knew of.
And that, kids, is (approximately) where the Tesla saga began. Would Tesla exist today (presently, the second-most valuable car company in the world) if Elon had simply gotten his damn electric 911 from Cocconi?
Sixteen years later, Elon can finally drive an electric Porsche Turbo S, and at a billionaire’s-bargain price of $186,350 (our tester rings up at $205,360, all-in). But it would be dreadful optics, because the Wizard of Watts would be driving the Taycan Turbo S, Stuttgart’s four-door, four-seat counterattack against Tesla’s recurring, gauche habit of crashing the private soirees of Europe’s gasoline-combusting elite.
That said, Stuttgart appears to have been taking careful notes in regard to this Silicon Valley upstart.
The Taycan Turbo S traces the Model S’ (probably unavoidable) broad-brush blueprint: dual motors—one front, another in back—all-wheel drive, a battery floor, Ludicrous performance (that’s Lächerlich in German), a frunk up front, all enveloped in an slick, fuselage skin.
The Taycan’s panoramic, fixed glass roof imitates the Tesla’s copper color when sprinkled with rain (due to the same UV-reflective layer). And traveling Taycans are mainly replenished by a respectable knock-off of Tesla’s Supercharger oases—the fast-expanding Electrify America network.
But in the other category—the ways in which they’re different—they’re starkly different. These days, the Model S’ front motor is basically the Model 3’s permanent-magnet rear motor (part of what defines the latest Raven architecture). Its rear one is the slightly less efficient inductive type—but it offers the neat trick of being de-energizable (switchable on and off) so it can freewheel during light-load cruising, making it more efficient.