The Porsche Taycan is, inarguably, a modern automotive wonder. It's physical proof that Porsche's philosophies can be distilled just as well into an electric car as it can into one powered by gasoline; it's a four-door sedan with the looks and performance of a high-performance coupe.
It is, however, also a Porsche — which means it ain't cheap. The Taycan was introduced in Turbo and Turbo S forms, which boast base prices of $152,250 and $186,350 respectively before the $7,500 federal tax credit is factored in. The longer-range, slightly-slower Taycan 4S model that followed seemed like a bargain by comparison, ringing up the register at a starting price of $105,150 — although anyone who wants maximum range and performance will need to add $5,570 to that for the larger battery.
For calendar year 2021, however, there's finally a way for those of us who don't want to drop six figures on a car to park a Taycan in our garages: the base Taycan, announced for the U.S. on January 19th at a base price of $81,250.
Again, that's before the federal tax credit is lopped off the net cost, as well as before any of the myriad state tax breaks and other incentives are added in. If you live in Colorado, for example, you can knock off another $2,500; if you're in California, you can subtract an extra $4,500 from the cost. That means a Los Angelino can snag a base Taycan for less than $70,000 — 30 grand less than a comparable base 911.
If you paid attention to the entire headline above, however, you might be wondering, but there's a catch, right? Sadly, yes. The affordable Taycan we're discussing here is the least-powerful version — and it only comes in rear-wheel-drive.
Effectively, you can think of the powertrain as the Taycan 4S version shorn of its front motor: a rear motor with a two-speed gearbox, connected to a standard 79.2-kWh battery or the optional 93.4 kWh Performance Battery Plus that, for some reason, costs $210 more than the exact same option does on the 4S.
In standard form, the base Taycan makes a maximum of 402 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque; opt for the bigger battery, and the motor dials up to 469 hp and 269 lb-ft. But the extra weight of the bigger motor offsets the added power in the sprint to highway speed; Porsche says both models do the 0-60-mph dash in 5.1 seconds and top out at 143 mph.
Porsche Active Suspension Management, wireless Apple CarPlay, 19-inch wheels, a partial leather interior and three years of fast charging at Electrify America all come standard, even on this base model. And of course, this is Porsche, so you can opt for all sorts of luxury and technology features by ordering á la carte — Porsche InnoDrive back-road performance cruise control, massaging seats, night vision, ceramic coated brakes, rear-axle steering, a Burmeiser stereo, etc.
Of course, EV enthusiasts may notice one piece of key information that's missing here: range. Porsche hasn't revealed how far it thinks the car can go on a charge, let alone the WLTP or EPA estimates. While hacking away weight and complexity from the 4S might suggest it can go farther, keep in mind that that model's Range mode depends on using the front motor for maximum efficiency — something the base car lacks.
And even if it's not as quick nor as road-trip-worthy as the 4S, the base model looks just about identical as every other Taycan — and it's still a Porsche, which means fun comes baked into the package. If you can live with a little less zip and don't need AWD, it seems like a solid way to go EV and go Porsche at a comparatively easy price point.