Does a Base 2021 Porsche Taycan Charge Ahead Like the Higher Trims?

While the Taycan offers a lot of performance, as with many other Porsche cars, the EV’s fastest trims get pricey quickly. That’s why, for 2021, the Taycan has a new, cheaper base trim. But what exactly do you give up by sticking with the base model?

How does the base 2021 Porsche Taycan compare on paper to the other trims?

The side 3/4 view of a pink 2021 Porsche Taycan with its door open
2021 Porsche Taycan side 3/4 | Porsche

Up until now, the Porsche Taycan lineup has been exclusively AWD. That’s because the EV has two electric motors: one in front, one in back. However, the 2021 base Taycan has one rear-mounted electric motor, Car and Driver reports.

The single motor means the 2021 Porsche Taycan—the base model has no suffix—is down on power compared to the other trims. Equipped with the standard 79.2-kWh battery pack, the base model makes 321 hp and 250 lb-ft, Roadshow reports. That gets bumped up to 402 hp with launch control activated. And with the optional 93-kWh pack, the base Taycan makes 375 hp—469 hp during launches.

A green 2021 Porsche Taycan 4S in a snow-covered forest
2021 Porsche Taycan 4S | Porsche

However, the next trim up, the Porsche Taycan 4S, makes 429 hp and 472 lb-ft with the 79.2-kWh pack with its dual motors. But with the larger pack, the output increases to 482 hp and 479 lb-ft, MotorTrend reports. And that’s before launch control gets involved.

But there is an advantage to having one less motor: less weight. The 2021 Porsche Taycan weighs around 200 pounds less than the equivalent 4S, Car and Driver reports. And it still comes standard with active suspension, though air suspension and rear-axle steering are optional, MT reports.

Unfortunately, even with less weight, the 2021 Porsche Taycan can’t overcome the power or traction deficit. Car and Driver estimates the 93-kWh-equipped car can go 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. But the 4S with that battery pack does it in 3.4 seconds.

Is the base 2021 Porsche Taycan still a fun-to-drive luxury EV?

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As fast as the Porsche Taycan can be, that’s not the only party trick it has. It’s known for being a fun-to-drive EV with plenty of fancy tech features. So, does the 2021 base model live up to that?

While it doesn’t have the push-your-stomach-into-your-mouth acceleration, the RWD 2021 Taycan lives up to the Porsche crest, MT and Top Gear report. It turns in quickly, with steering feel, weight, and accuracy on-par with the 911, TG reports. And because it’s a RWD car, you can easily steer it with the accelerator, Autocar reports. In fact, the base Taycan might be more rewarding to drive because it’s less powerful.

The purple-and-white front seats and dashboard of the 2021 Porsche Taycan
2021 Porsche Taycan interior | Porsche

Inside, the 2021 Porsche Taycan doesn’t really lose the luxury touches the higher-end trims possess. There are still plenty of digital displays, including an optional passenger-side one, Car and Driver reports. The seats are comfortable and visibility is excellent, as is the overall material quality, MT reports. Though, like with other Porsches, it’s a fairly easy task to pile on the pricey options.

 Still, even without AWD, the 2021 Porsche Taycan doesn’t give up on its core strengths.

Is it worth considering?

A refreshed blue 2021 Tesla Model S
2021 Tesla Model S refresh | Tesla

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Although the base 2021 Porsche Taycan is the least-expensive model in the lineup, it’s not exactly cheap. It starts at $79,900 before the federal tax credit. But if you add the rear-axle steering, air suspension, and larger battery, that puts it almost at $91,000.

In comparison, the Taycan’s chief rival, the Tesla Model S, starts at $79,990 before tax credits. But that gets you two electric motors and—on paper—a 412-mile range. As of this writing, the EPA hasn’t confirmed the base Taycan’s range. But based on the other models, it likely won’t come close to the 400-mile mark. Plus, Tesla claims the 2021 Model S goes 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds. And it has more standard ADAS features, Car and Driver reports.

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However, as MT points out, the Taycan has several advantages over the Model S. Firstly, the Porsche EV has a noticeably better interior, both from a material and a build-quality perspective. Secondly, although doing so gets expensive, the Taycan is more customizable than the Tesla. Thirdly, as Car and Driver pointed out, in the real world, the Model S’s range is only slightly better than the Taycan’s range. And finally, the Taycan is the better-driving car, Car and Driver reports.

Going with the RWD 2021 Taycan means losing out on some speed and features. But the base car has an appeal all its own.

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