It’s no secret that Canadians love all-wheel drive.
The added confidence of having four driven wheels during our sloppy winters is worth its weight in crypto. But for those fortunate enough to be able to afford a second car in the ultra-luxury category, the Porsche Taycan is a candidate to rank high on that list, and the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) version makes the electric four-door even more compelling.
Canadian Taycans come standard with all-wheel drive (AWD), but this rear-drive example, done up in an excellent paint colour called Frozen Berry, was borrowed from our friends south of the border where snow isn’t part of the national identity like it is in Canada.
In my perfect two-car garage, I would have some sort of SUV or wagon with all-wheel drive for longer road trips and winter driving, and this RWD Taycan as my “fun car” to drive every day from April to October. For me, this Taycan shines because of its duality as a daily driver and a performance car, and its ability to carry four people and their cargo makes it more practical and well-rounded versus a more traditional two-seater. For many households, an EV makes an ideal second car, and one like the Taycan could make a lot of sense.
The Performance Benefits of RWD
The best and most engaging sports cars are rear-wheel drive because it saves weight (weight is the enemy of performance) versus an all-wheel-drive vehicle, and RWD can offer better handling and more control through corners. And with the rear wheels pushing you through corners, steering feedback from the front wheels often feels crisper and more direct.
The “entry-level” RWD Taycan has a curb weight of 2,071 kg (4,566 lb), while the 4S weighs 2,164 kg (4,771 lb) – a difference of 93 kg (205 lb). While the power-to-weight ratio is actually in the 4S’s favour because its battery is tweaked to have higher output so it accelerates more quickly, that weight difference is significant.
The Taycan here is also outfitted with rear-axle steering, which shrinks its turning circle and improves responsiveness on twisty roads. It changes directions like a much smaller car and displays the type of agility usually reserved for tiny roadsters. Overall, the RWD Taycan feels a bit more light, lively, and fun than the AWD versions I’ve driven.
The Range Benefits of RWD
In more practical terms, it also takes less energy to move two fewer wheels, so being RWD pays dividends when it comes to range. The base AWD Taycan 4S we get in Canada offers a range of 320 km, which is great if you have a place to charge at home, but a bit on the weak side if you don’t have a home charger. The RWD Taycan I drove showed 460 km of range on a 100 per cent charge on a warm summer day, which is excellent in the EV space and a comfortable and convenient range for someone like me who lives in a condo and can’t charge at home. That extra 140 km of range is a game-changer, and my time showed the range estimates to be on the conservative side, so it’s possible to eke even more driving out of the RWD Taycan’s battery.
The Price Benefits of RWD
The RWD Taycan could probably fare decently in the cold seasons with a good set of winter tires, but in a blizzard, all that instantaneous electric torque going to the rear axle will still require an extremely gentle right foot and a little prayer. A lot of people put their fun cars away for the winter anyway, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a second car and are used to storing the fun one during the winter, at least you’ll also save on winter tires and insurance for those months.
In the U.S., the RWD Taycan starts at US$79,900 before taxes and fees, while the AWD 4S version starts at US$103,800. You’re essentially paying less money for more range, which, if you don’t have a home charger, seems like a good deal. And while the AWD Taycan’s battery has a higher output and can accelerate quicker than the RWD version, the entry-level Taycan simply cannot be called slow by any means.
Even though a rear-drive Taycan offers many benefits, something tells me that it still might be too niche for a Canadian audience that loves all-wheel drive. But if there is an automaker out there that can be successful with niche luxury cars, Porsche is it. If a RWD Taycan is something you’d consider, now’s the time to let Porsche know – if there’s enough interest in it, you might get what you wish for.
This article has been amended to correct an incorrect weight figure.