Porsche takes another swipe at Tesla with ‘entry level’ Taycan 4S EV

Hear that, Tesla? That’s the silent sound of Porsche trying to catch up. 

Porsche announced the Taycan as its first all-electric vehicle in September, but since that time, the German automaker has already unveiled two variations on its four-door sports sedan. At the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday, the company debuted a third variant, the “entry level” Taycan 4S, scheduled for release in 2020.

Dat blue tho ...

Dat blue tho …

Image: Porsche

The Taycan 4S has a shorter range than the Taycan Turbo, with an estimated 253 miles per charge compared to up to 280 miles. (Although the 4S can get even more mileage with an extended battery pack, but that comes at an additional cost.) It also has a relatively cheaper starting price: $103,800. For comparison, the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S start at $150,000 and $185,000, respectively. That’s real money, people.

The basic battery in the standard Taycan 4S has a smaller 79.2 kilowatt-hour (kWh) capacity compared to the 93.4-kWh performance batteries found in the other Taycan models. Whereas the Model S, the luxury sedan Tesla’s been making since 2012, has a 100-kWh battery pack. 

Compared to the Model S, Porsche’s Taycan 4S is not only more expensive, it has less range. The “entry level” Model S starts at $79,990 and is rated for 373 miles, clearly outpacing Porsche’s EV. The Model S also has a performance version that ups the price tag to a cool $100,000, keeping it in line with the latest Porsche. 

Since the Taycan’s September debut, Porsche and Tesla have been going at it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even mocked Porsche for naming its all-electric vehicle after an internal-combustion engine feature: a turbocharger that an engineless EV can’t have. The two cars have been tested against each other down to the millisecond. But all the attention on the Porche’s EV line is a clear indicator Tesla has a viable competitor in the Taycan series, and is at least a bit worried. 

Even if die-hard Tesla fans claim their cars are entirely different animals, the 4S pricing is still too close for comfort. Porsche’s reputation for luxury, speed, and quality could lure an undecided, high-rolling EV buyer away from Tesla.

Aesthetically, the cars feel different. A glance inside the 4S shows that it doesn’t look anything like a Tesla. Instead, it looks like a more digitized Porsche cockpit —with an Apple Music app built into the system. You can’t even connect an iPhone to Apple CarPlay on a Tesla.

The Taycan 4S driver experience includes a lot of screens.

The Taycan 4S driver experience includes a lot of screens.

Image: Porsche

The Taycan 4S comes out in January in Europe, with a U.S. release to follow in the spring. As for the other two Taycan models, those should be available before the end of the year. 

You feeling the heat now, Musk?

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