Tesla Model S P100D vs Porsche Taycan Turbo 2021 Comparison


The electric giants!
And yet another stellar review from Car Sales. They really know how to put these 2 literal powerhouses to the test, in every way imaginable.

And the result? Well, it might just surprise you.

Read on and let Car Sales guide you through this comparison.


Whether you like it or not, electric vehicles are changing the way we buy and drive cars. Here we have the latest cutting edge EV, the Porsche Taycan and what better vehicle to pit it against than the Tesla Model S, which changed the EV game back in 2012.

The Tesla Model S is arguably the most important electric car of our era. Its success forced many mainstream car makers to accelerate their own EV strategies.

So we’re here to find out how far the electric sports sedan has come in almost a decade. And whether the Porsche blows the Tesla right out of the water.

Although its current equivalent is much cheaper, the privately owned 2019 Tesla Model S P100D we’re testing here set its owner back $270,000, including all options and on-road costs.

While the entry level Taycan 4S can be had for $190,000, we’re testing the turbo model, which cost around $270,000 as well. In terms of styling, the Tesla’s design hasn’t fundamentally changed in almost a decade.

But I’ve gotta say it still has plenty of visual appeal, especially this black on black motif.

The Porsche definitely has a more modern look and along with a few 911-inspired curves here and there, especially at the rear end, it also wears the all important gold, black and red Porsche badge.

Alright, let’s start with the interior of the Tesla, whose cabin is dominated by these massive 17-inch portrait style touch screen. It is huge. It’s one of the most detailed infotainment systems ever seen in a car, offering a dazzling array of features, including many related to the car itself and some others, just for fun.

Despite the depth of functionality available, it’s still an intuitive system to use and offers the sort of connectivity that most major car makers still struggle to match. Temperature controls are always on screen, but you have to dial into a menu to adjust the fan speed. But in a post COVID era, the medical grade HEPA filter is a nice touch.

Incidental storage is pretty good, you’ve got the high mounted twin cup holders here, dual USB ports and a 12-volt socket there, and a large central bin here.

However, there are no door pockets, which is a little bit unusual. The steering wheel’s minimal controls work well and the digital instrument panel is clear and concise. It’s not perfect though there are some legacy items from the Mercedes-Benz spare parts bin, such as the stocked and the window controls, and they feel a little bit tacky.

Also, the glass roof is really cool, but it eats into head space, which is a bit annoying for taller drivers. The heated and cooled power adjustable seats are pretty comfy and the upholstery has a premium feel.

There’s no mistaking that this is a large luxury car.

Okay, the Porsche has a very different vibe, and while the cabin layout is more conventional, it still has a very high tech look and feel. The main central infotainment screen isn’t as large nor as detailed as the Tesla’s, and it doesn’t have the depth of connectivity either. But there is an elegance about it, and it’s a lot easier to quickly toggle through the climate controls via this dedicated touch screen.

Incidental storage is pretty good with two large cup holders, twin USB C ports and big door pockets, but like the Tesla, there’s no wireless phone charger.

The sporty steering wheel has more buttons, but you can access different systems more easily. And I gotta say when you get used to it, it’s not an overly complex system, and the sleek 16.8-inch digital instrument display is incredible.

It’s like being on the bridge of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek.

The seats are more luxurious and sportier and also have more power adjustment. Like the Tesla, they are heated and cooled as well.

Despite the smaller central touch screen, the Porsche has more digital real estate overall, and that driver’s display is just stunning, and I’ve gotta say the fact that there’s a passenger touch screen there too is very cool.

Overall, the Porsche’s cabin is better presented and feels more polished.

In saying that, the Tesla’s interior holds up remarkably well, especially given it’s almost a decade behind the brand new Porsche.

Back seat comfort in the Tesla is really good, the seats are super comfy, there’s lots of head and leg room, although the floor is either really high or the seats are really low, ’cause my knees are kind of a little bit raised. Overall amenity, very good, you’ve got fold up cup holders, two USB ports, reading light and this gorgeous panoramic glass roof. However, there is no fold down armrest.

Back seat room in the Porsche, not quite as good as the Tesla. Headroom, leg room, a little tighter, but the raised seat means my knees don’t feel quite as awkward. Amenity levels are excellent, you’ve got the reading light here, fold down armrest with cup holders, twin USB C ports here, and my favourite, touch screen climate control, very nice.

Overall, the Tesla offers better leg room but the Porsche is more comfortable and has more amenity, handing it the win for rear seat accommodation.

Round back, both have decent boot space, complete with hidden compartments, but overall, the Tesla has more luggage space. It’s just a bigger boot. Both EVs have frunks or fronnets, and the best front bonnet goes to the Tesla, it’s just a little bit bigger. The remote opening charge port in the Tesla is easy to access, but the Porsche offers two charge ports, both at the front. The newer Porsche has 800-volt fast charging capability, which is superior to the Tesla, but you need the charging infrastructure to take advantage of it. Something Australia is sorely lacking.

The Tesla is easy to drive and whisper quiet at most road speeds and very much feels like a luxury car. Drop the hammer though and the massive torque instantly available from its twin electric motors, driving all four wheels means you’re always able to launch the car into the mesosphere. And there’s so much thrust available, it’s kind of crazy. Oh man. [chuckle].

In terms of ride comfort, this Tesla doesn’t ride like a limousine. Look, it’s not harsh by any measure, the adaptive air suspension soaking up most lumps and bumps fairly well, but it’s not as cushy as I was expecting.

It has good road holding, thanks to Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres and it turns in nicely. The reasonably sharp steering helping as well.

One thing that the Tesla does really well is semi-autonomous driving, the auto-pilot system is pretty impressive. I guess there’s a lot of controversy surrounding it as well, but from what I’ve experienced, it’s pretty damnned good.

By comparison, as you might expect, the Taycan’ chassis is superior in every way. Like lots of Porsches throughout history, it somehow delivers all at once a plush ride, sharp handling and confidence inspiring levels of high speed cornering stability.

Indeed the Taycan feels like a genuine luxury car when cruising. But with its more advanced air suspension and adaptive damper stiffen up, it’s got genuine race track credibility. The Porsche also outclasses the Tesla in terms of dynamics, steering into corners with more agility, precision and confidence. Simply put, it’s a more engaging vehicle to drive, and at times you feel a little detached from the Tesla.

It’s lighter on its feet and rotates into corners more like a traditional sports car. The steering offers more feedback and the Tesla feels a little dully by comparison. As you’d expect, throttle response in the Porsche is very crisp. And although power levels and thrust are pretty much line ball with the Tesla, it feels a little bit different.

The way it gets its power down. It’s kind of more gritty, more aggressive. I do like it. But what most people will want to know is… which is quickest off the line.

The P100D claims a 2.5 second, 0 to 100 kilometre an hour sprint. While Porsche claims a 3.2 second sprint.

Alright, first up is the Tesla. [chuckle]

It’s always there. Oh, it’s just instant. Bang! So we managed 3.3 seconds in less than ideal conditions in ludicrous plus mode. That’s miles off the claim, but we didn’t have time available to reach optimum battery temperature.

Okay, next up, the Porsche Taycan.

My cheek muscles. [chuckle] It’s a facial massage. Whoa. That feels more aggressive than the Tesla, very different in the way it leaps forward. It took the Porsche 3.4 seconds to hit 100 kilometres an hour, which is a cat’s whisker slower than the claim time. And it doesn’t require 30 minutes of battery warm-up to achieve optimum acceleration.

But as it stands, the Tesla still beats the Porsche by one tenth of a second, in these conditions.

Whichever way you look at it, both these cars will torch pretty much anything else you can buy today in a straight line.

Well, this side of a million dollar hyper car anyway. The Porsche is a more robust product for sure, and it’s executed in a more conventional sense. But the Tesla offers better value for money and in many ways is a more versatile EV.

It’s a roomier car too, and at the end of the day, the Porsche does not blow the Tesla out of the water.

But for all that, I’ll still take the keys to the Porsche because it’s a more polished and a more engaging product.


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