Base Taycan (RWD) review from a Turbo S owner

manitou202

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I finally got around to updating the software in my 2020 Turbo S this week, and was given a 2021 Taycan RWD as a loaner. The only options are the premium package and the Turbo wheels. I've driven my Turbo S 7500 miles so it was fun to drive a different Taycan spec for the week. Here are some of my observations.

First let me say it's a fantastic car. The base Taycan really is a great buy. A couple of years ago I had an Audi RS5 Sportback with a $90k MSRP, and for the money I would easily take a RWD Taycan over the Audi. In my opinion the Taycan has better looks, better handling, quicker off the line acceleration, way better tech, and is much more comfortable.

So how does the base Taycan compare to my Turbo S?

  • The acceleration is no comparison, but the off the line acceleration in the RWD was decent. The biggest difference was at highway speeds. This would be the biggest reason I would consider upgrading to a 4S. The 4S seems to hit the sweet spot in terms of acceleration. However, the RWD is quicker than most other entry level luxury sport sedans. So it really depends on what vehicle you are coming from.
  • The steering and handling in the Turbo S is more crisp and it feels flatter through the corners. I heard that the lack of a front motor improved control of the front end in the RWD, but it felt less precise in my opinion. It could be the difference in 20" versus 21" wheels (thinner tires with more grip)
  • The air suspension in the Turbo S has better ride quality
  • RWD was noticeably louder on the highway without the insulated glass
  • I have a tight turn into my garage and without the rear axle steering I had to do a two point turn in the RWD
  • I have the Race-Tex steering wheel in my Turbo S. A leather steering wheel almost feels sticky and gross now in comparison
  • The brake regen in the RWD is not as smooth. My guess is this is due to balancing the braking between front disc brakes and a rear motor. It seemed to pulse more under light to moderate braking.
  • The leather interior definitely feels more premium in the Turbo S, but it's hard to justify especially at the RWD price point. I would pass and buy other upgrades.
  • I miss the Sport Chrono
There are other luxury upgrades in my Turbo S, but these were the things I missed or noticed the most during the week. I would not hesitate buying a RWD Taycan if you are in the market. Porsche has nailed the entire lineup.

 

lmmo

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  • The air suspension in the Turbo S has better ride quality
Thanks a lot for the great comparison.

Was the RWD on steel suspension, or are you comparing different setups of air suspensions in both cars?
 
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manitou202

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Thanks a lot for the great comparison.

Was the RWD on steel suspension, or are you comparing different setups of air suspensions in both cars?
The base Taycan comes with steel suspension. I’m not sure if the air suspension is an option. I know the 4S and above come with the air suspension standard. It’s definitely noticeable.
 
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manitou202

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Did "Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport)" made this difference?
I don’t have PDCC on my Turbo S. It’s the only performance upgrade I’m missing. I’m wondering if it’s a combination of ride height (Turbo sits lower), wider tires, and air suspension. I’m not sure if there are other suspension or steering differences.
 


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manitou202

manitou202

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Oh, and if you are worried about appearance, the RWD looks just as good. My 8 year old daughter asked why they let me borrow a “fancier” Porsche. Apparently the black paint and Turbo wheels looked nicer in her mind. Of course my wife loved that comment.
 

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The base Taycan comes with steel suspension. I’m not sure if the air suspension is an option. I know the 4S and above come with the air suspension standard. It’s definitely noticeable.
Air suspension is an option on the RWD.
 

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So how does the base Taycan compare to my Turbo S?
  • The air suspension in the Turbo S has better ride quality
  • I have the Race-Tex steering wheel in my Turbo S. A leather steering wheel almost feels sticky and gross now in comparison
  • The leather interior definitely feels more premium in the Turbo S, but it's hard to justify especially at the RWD price point. I would pass and buy other upgrades.
  • I miss the Sport Chrono
I have a 2021 RWD.

1) Interesting about your experience with air suspension. Can you elaborate?
2) I prefer leather steering wheels since they easier to clean. The leather is smooth and wonderful. It's not going to be perfect in a loaner since it's not getting cleaned the correct way every month like I clean my own. I also NEVER touch it with anything close to dirty hands.
3) I have full leather in my RWD and it's excellent. Every turbo I have driven/seen looks and feels the same. Definitely a must for me even on a RWD.
4) Sport chrono: must have - I agree.
 


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manitou202

manitou202

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I have a 2021 RWD.

1) Interesting about your experience with air suspension. Can you elaborate?
I'm not an expert on suspension, so take my comment with a grain of salt, but it seems like the air suspension has a wider range of performance compared to the steel suspension.

When set to normal mode, the air suspension is really smooth and comfortable. I feel like it's even better than my Audi E-tron. Then change it to the Sport Plus setting and it becomes very aggressive, with excellent handling, but obviously compromising comfort.

The different settings on the steel suspension seem to be more limited. Not as comfortable in the normal mode, and not quite as aggressive in the Sport/Sport Plus mode. So if the air suspension has a range of 1-5 with 1 being the most comfortable and 5 being the most aggressive, the steel suspension seems to be limited to 2-4.
 

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........ My 8 year old daughter asked why they let me borrow a “fancier” Porsche. Apparently the black paint and Turbo wheels looked nicer in her mind. ....
What an obviously intelligent young lady ... she is gonna be one fantastic find for some young man in the future if she keeps that kind of outlook....
 

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I'm not an expert on suspension, so take my comment with a grain of salt, but it seems like the air suspension has a wider range of performance compared to the steel suspension.

When set to normal mode, the air suspension is really smooth and comfortable. I feel like it's even better than my Audi E-tron. Then change it to the Sport Plus setting and it becomes very aggressive, with excellent handling, but obviously compromising comfort.

The different settings on the steel suspension seem to be more limited. Not as comfortable in the normal mode, and not quite as aggressive in the Sport/Sport Plus mode. So if the air suspension has a range of 1-5 with 1 being the most comfortable and 5 being the most aggressive, the steel suspension seems to be limited to 2-4.
Should have clarified - ordered my RWD with air suspension
 

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Great review! Nice to hear that you think that even the base Taycan is clearly worth it over a similarly priced RS5.

I haven't test driven a base car w/ the steel suspension yet but I was so impressed with the ride quality of the 4S I drove (rode better than my Range Rover IMO), that I think i'd be hesitant to not order the air suspension if I decide to go with a RWD sedan.

Great comment by your daughter. I think any Taycan looks amazing as long as its not on the base (RWD and 4s) wheels.
 

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  • The acceleration is no comparison, but the off the line acceleration in the RWD was decent. The biggest difference was at highway speeds. This would be the biggest reason I would consider upgrading to a 4S. The 4S seems to hit the sweet spot in terms of acceleration. However, the RWD is quicker than most other entry level luxury sport sedans. So it really depends on what vehicle you are coming from.
I have been driving an RWD loaner for a couple of weeks and this is EXACTLY how I have also experienced this.

RWD is far from slow, but the 4S is much quicker, especially at speed, hits the exact sweet spot as you mention.
 

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I haven't test driven a base car w/ the steel suspension yet but I was so impressed with the ride quality of the 4S I drove (rode better than my Range Rover IMO), that I think i'd be hesitant to not order the air suspension if I decide to go with a RWD sedan.
Air suspension is a MUST have.
 

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I have driven a RWD without air suspension and it is ok. If you do not need the lift function and you like a little bit stiffer ride, you will be fine also without it.

For comfort reasen, as a fan of „carpet ride feeling“ the air suspension is a must have ;) Also for me.

if you keep the car basic, standard white, standard interior, steel springs, maybe 20“ Turbo wheels, seat heating and few nice to have options, it will also be a great car.

But I do not see the RWD, as many on this forum, as a budget Taycan. The price is hot, no question. But in my opinion, to have maximum fun and satisfaction, the car should be equipped perfect to the own taste and needs. Anyway it is a Turbo, Turbo S, 4S or a RWD.
 

 
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