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Thanks, Tesla — Porsche Taycan EV Outperforms Fossil Panamera Sibling

The Porsche Taycan offers much higher performance “bang for the buck” compared to its gas-powered Panamera sedan sibling. This applies across the board — the new Taycan 4s variant provides faster acceleration than the Panamera GTS whilst being 20% less expensive, and the Turbo and Turbo S variants significantly outperform their more expensive Panamera siblings. Surely some mistake by Porsche?

The Porsche Taycan offers much higher performance “bang for the buck” compared to its gas-powered Panamera sedan sibling. This applies across the board — the new Taycan 4s variant provides faster acceleration than the Panamera GTS whilst being 20% less expensive, and the Turbo and Turbo S variants significantly outperform their more expensive Panamera siblings. Surely some mistake by Porsche?

Taycan 4S

Let’s have a look at the price-performance of the matched variants of each model line:

Click on table to enlarge.

Notice the clear linear relationship between price and performance within each model, which is a long-standing policy at Porsche. But the Taycan now seems to upset this hierarchy. Any way you slice it, the Taycan variants are well ahead of the Panameras on price-performance. Is this a mistake?

Notice that the Taycan Turbo (the penultimate Taycan tier) is actually faster accelerating than the Panamera Turbo S, the ultimate tier. The Taycan Turbo S takes it to another level.

And we’re just looking at acceleration by the numbers here. We all know that — in terms of immediate responsiveness — there’s a night and day difference EV powertrains and combustion powertrains. This further increases the performance difference between the two model lines.

Now you could argue that the Panameras offer a bit more rear legroom and 12% more luggage space, so they justify their higher pricing, despite significantly trailing in the performance stakes. And for folks that frequently need that bit of extra space, it may be the deciding factor. But for anyone simply looking for a high-performance Porsche sports sedan as a fun and practical daily driver, the Taycan is unambiguously the superior proposition. And, of course, much higher fueling costs and powertrain maintenance costs make the gasoline Panameras look like an even poorer value.

Why is Porsche Allowing the Taycan to Outcompete the Panamera?

This one’s pretty obvious to most readers here, but worth reiterating. The Taycan has to offer the price-performance proposition that it does in order to keep reasonably close to the market leader in premium EV sports sedans — the Tesla Model S. (The Taycan is in fact about 20% more expensive than the Tesla at an equivalent performance level, and a long way down on driving range).

Since it’s important for Porsche’s first modern-day excursion into the EV space to be at least reasonably successful against the backdrop of Tesla’s lead, the company has to offer this price-performance position. Unfortunately for Porsche, taking this unavoidable step has the side effect of leaving the Panamera hung out to dry, with a now obviously uncompetitive price-performance offering.

Keep an Eye on Volumes

It will be interesting to see what happens to the relative sales of these two model lines over the next couple of years. The Taycan’s 1st year of production at the Zuffenhausen factory was always planned to be 20,000 units, but Porsche has said it is ready to increase that volume if the demand is there. I’d expect the Panamera’s volume (38,443 units globally in 2018, 15% of Porsche’s total sales) to tail off significantly as the Taycan ramps up. Bear in mind that other large luxury sports sedans running on old gasoline technology are suffering the same fate. Porsche is arguably simply biting the EV bullet earlier than its competitors, and on its own terms. It’s better to disrupt yourself in this way than face disruption from the outside on someone else’s terms and timeline.

What do you think? Are there other considerations or attractions of the Panamera I have missed that would justify paying the higher price for it over the Taycan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Article images from OEMs and author’s own work.

 

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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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