Porsche adds lower-cost 4S to Taycan lineup: how does it compare?

Posted
15 October 2019

The electric revolution is speeding up. It was only a month ago that Porsche revealed the all-electric Taycan, and they’re already back at it with the announcement of lower-cost variant due for launch next year. We look at price, specs, and make the inevitable Model S comparison to see what the Taycan 4S has to offer.

The Taycan 4S is set to arrive in Australia late next year following a US rollout between March and June. While Australia-specific details are scarce at the moment, we know it will definitely come in cheaper than the previously announced Taycan Turbo & Turbo S.

Tricks & Specs

Like those models, the 4S will be offered in two variants, although the distinguishing factor has more to do with battery size than power this time: the ‘Performance’ package delivering 390 kW from a 79.2 kWh battery, while the ‘Performance Plus’ offers a slightly beefier 420 kW from the same 93.4 kWh battery as the Turbo & Turbo S. Range has yet to be confirmed, but expect the lower-capacity variant to come in below the ~400 km figure of the previous models.

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Buyers can also expect a slight haircut on performance specs. Porsche have stated the 4S will deliver 0-60 m/h (96.5 km/h) in 3.8 seconds with a 155 m/h (249 km/h) top speed — certainly no slouch, but not anything too hair-raising. Interestingly, it will also retain the all-wheel drive design of the Turbo & Turbo S despite reduced motor size overall. Porsche previously hinted that lower-range models of the Taycan would be rear-wheel drive, so perhaps this is a sign of more announcements at even lower price points to follow.

The price is right

And it’s that question — price — that is bringing attention to the 4S. Australian pricing has yet to be announced, but US costs have been confirmed at $103,800 USD for the Performance 4S (~153,000 AUD) and $110,380 (~$163,000 AUD) for the Performance Plus. We’ll likely see it sell closer to $200,000 or more thanks to the much-maligned luxury car tax and lack of pro-EV incentives in Australia, but even that would put the Taycan 4S dangerously close to the price of the Model S.

Which is, of course, what every car journalist and EV pundit will be comparing it to. We even published an article along those lines when the Taycan Turbo was revealed, but the fact remains that, aside from on price and status in a limited EV market, these cars aren’t really competing with one another. 

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The Model S sells for around $170,000-to-200,000 in Australia depending on the variant, state of purchase, and optional extras. It’s got the acceleration and range to beat even the highest spec Taycan, but commentators have been quick to point out that it can’t compete on track performance or sustained power output.

Or charge speed — at least when the Taycan can take advantage of its 800 volt architecture. Porsche has revealed the Performance Plus 4S is rated for up to 270 kW charging on 800 V DC fast chargers (which most aren’t) while offering a relatively limited 50 kW on 400 V DC stations with an optional upgrade to 150 kW.

What’s new?

But if we put down our pencils for a minute and just look at the 4S, is there much we haven’t seen? It depends. Drivers and reporters are a long way from getting their hands on this variant — many still haven’t seen the Turbo in person — but Porsche have confirmed some minor cosmetic changes for the new variant.

First is the switch to aerodynamically optimised 19” aero wheels (down from 20” on the Turbo & Turbo S), red brake calipers, and a “front fascia with new geometry, side skirts and rear diffuser in black”. If Porsche’s promotional images are anything to go by, we can expect the 4S to be taller and slightly more blue. It’s anyone’s guess.

The Taycan 4S revealed this week
The Taycan Turbo S revealed in September

Thankfully, most of the features on the original Taycans will be included with the 4S. Regenerative braking can be used to steal some extra range, leather-free interiors are available, as are keyless entry and other quality-of-life features.

4S 4 Sure

So will the 4S mark a turning point for Porsche? Probably not, especially since we still have yet to see the previously announced Taycan models on Australian roads. But this is certainly a positive step for the company as it moves toward electrification. 

The biggest gripe people had with the Turbo & Turbo S (aside from the misleading name) was their price, so significantly slashing it with the 4S has enormous potential to boost Porsche’s sales and their pedigree in the growing EV field — and let’s not forget that there’s still room for a RWD-only variant to come along at an even lower asking price, so stay tuned for more updates as the Taycan lineup continues to grow and evolve.

For home charging stations and accessories, you can contact the JET Charge technicians at info@jetcharge.com.au — and be sure to keep up with the JET Charge blog for more EV news and updates.