Hybrids & Electrics

Porsche Taycan Turbo S vs. Tesla Model S Performance: Drag Race Rematch

While Tesla’s EVs may literally have ‘performance’ in their names, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S can match them in acceleration. All while being more efficient than the EPA’s tests suggest. However, in addition to giving the Model S more claimed range, Tesla’s recent update also added performance. But is it enough to let it match the Taycan Turbo S? Carwow tried to find out.

What do the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S and Tesla Model S Performance bring?

Metallic gray 2020 Tesla Model S Long Range Plus driving around a mountain road
2020 Tesla Model S Long Range Plus | Car and Driver via Instagram

The 2020 Tesla Model S Performance, with its dual electric motors and all-wheel drive, was already pretty quick. There appears to be a discrepancy in its output, though. Car and Driver reports it develops 778 hp and 841 lb-ft. But Carwow claims its Model S Performance has 825 hp and 959 lb-ft. Regardless, although it weighs 5003 pounds, it can go 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, Car and Driver reports.

But really only once or twice. After 3 runs, Car and Driver’s tester’s 0-60 time climbed to about 6 seconds. That degradation came as its motors and battery pack heated up. Electric motors and batteries don’t do well in extreme temperatures. And without sufficient cool-down time, EV speed suffers.

However, with Tesla’s recent update, heat appears to be less of an issue for the Model S Performance, Car and Driver reports. The new software allows the EV’s components to stay hot for a longer period of time before pulling power. It also adds Cheetah Mode, which drops and stiffens the front suspension to improve rear weight transfer for more grip. As a result, Car and Driver saw a 0-60 time of 2.4 seconds. And although there was some degradation, the Model S Performance’s slowest 0-60 time was 3.8 seconds.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S vs 2020 Tesla Model S
2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S vs 2020 Tesla Model S | Car and Driver via Instagram

The Porsche Taycan Turbo S is 243 pounds heavier than the Model S Performance and less powerful. Carwow appears to quote metric horsepower in its figures, which is common in Europe. But in imperial (US) horsepower, the Taycan Turbo S produces 750 hp and 774 lb-ft.

Porsche Taycan Turbo battery system
Porsche Taycan Turbo battery system | Porsche

Nevertheless, it can do 0-60 in 2.4 seconds, Car and Driver reports. In fact, the Taycan Turbo S was fast enough that Porsche had to update its own estimates, Autoweek reports.

Carwow’s set-up

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Because a pure 0-60 comparison isn’t necessarily real-world accurate, Carwow’s tests involved ¼-mile drag races. First from a standing start, and later in 2 rolling races from 30 and 70 mph, respectively. Rolling races are especially useful as they eliminate any launch control benefits.

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The ¼-mile times for the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and Cheetah-Mode-equipped Tesla Model S Performance are also fairly close. Car and Driver reports the former can run the ¼-mile in 10.5 seconds. The latter, meanwhile, can do it in 10.6 seconds. And even after taking degradation into account, the Porsche Taycan remains ahead of the Model S, Car and Driver reports.

But what happens when the paper yardsticks are replaced with real ones?

Did the Tesla Model S Performance beat the Porsche Taycan Turbo S?

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Carwow didn’t just run one of each kind of race. Host Mat Watson raced the Tesla Model S Performance against the Porsche Taycan Turbo S in 2 standing starts, 2 30-mph rolling races, and 2 70-mph rolling races. But the Taycan Turbo S won every single one.

Admittedly, the races did demonstrate that Cheetah Mode does make a difference. The first standing-start ¼-mile race ended with a larger gap than the second one, where Cheetah Mode was enabled. Plus, the Model S Performance did pull more strongly than the Taycan at lower speeds.

But in the end, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S retained its EV speed title.

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