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2020 Porsche Taycan first drive review: Breakthrough – Roadshow

Has there been a more anticipated Porsche in modern history? More desirable? Sure, I think most folks would rather take home a Porsche 918 than a Taycan, but all the buzz and chatter about that car and its relative position within the then-Holy Trinity of hypercars doesn’t begin to approach the anticipation that’s been brewing…

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2020 Porsche Taycan first drive review: Breakthrough     – Roadshow

Has there been a more anticipated Porsche in modern history? More desirable? Sure, I think most folks would rather take home a Porsche 918 than a Taycan, but all the buzz and chatter about that car and its relative position within the then-Holy Trinity of hypercars doesn’t begin to approach the anticipation that’s been brewing since the Taycan was still a sultry prototype called the Mission E.
The volume of that buzz has only been increasing as the EV performance wars have intensified, battlefields spreading to engulf Laguna Seca on one side of the world and, on the other, the spiritual home of performance pissing contests: the Nurburgring.
It’s been a fun if extended ride to get here, but it’s time to move on past all that speculation because I’ve finally had a day behind the wheel of a fully production-spec Taycan. That’s not enough time to do a full review and readily compare all its merits with those of competition like Tesla’s Model S. However, it is enough time for me to confidently say that the Taycan Turbo is very, very good — but not without a few significant flaws.

Platform
As is the fashion today, the Porsche Taycan is built around a skateboard-style battery pack built into what makes up the floor of the chassis. However, the Taycan is distinctive for a pair of what Porsche calls “foot garages.” These two cutouts within the battery allow for lower rear seats, providing enough headroom for a 6-foot guy like me to squeeze into the back, albeit with no headroom to spare.

The Taycan Turbo and Turbo S also rely on a pair of motors, one at the front and one at the rear, again a common layout shared with cars like the Tesla Model S. However, Porsche augments this with a two-speed transmission at the rear, the car noticeably upshifting under acceleration, usually somewhere around 50 mph. This shift, Porsche’s engineers say, allows short gearing to accelerate hard off the line, while also providing greater torque on the highway, an area where many EVs struggle.

How much acceleration? It’s 2.6 seconds from 0 to 60 mph for the Taycan Turbo S, the non-S getting it done in a still-spine-cracking 3.0 seconds. Interestingly, though, that’s about the only time you’ll tell the difference between the two, as both the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S rely on the same motors and 93-kilowatt-hour battery. It’s just the circuitry in between that differs, enabling the Turbo S to “overboost” to 750 horsepower in launch control. The Turbo puts down 670 hp in that condition. The rest of the time, both cars make do with a mere 616 hp.
Bridges aren’t just visual metaphors, you know.
Porsche
The test route
My drive in the Porsche Taycan Turbo began in what must surely be the most active hotbed for EV adoption in the world: Norway. Government incentives here make it incredibly difficult to buy anything nonelectric. And so, as I made my way out of Oslo early on a chilly Monday morning, I spotted at least one of nearly every production EV on the market today, including multiple Audi E-Trons, Jaguar I-Paces and both a Chevrolet Bolt and its European cousin, the Opel Ampera-e.
None look as good as the Taycan. No, Porsche’s first production EV isn’t as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as the Mission E concept was, but this car made its way to production with admirably few tweaks to its shapely lines. It readily turns heads, even in the sedate shade of gray that my morning ride wore.
My route took me south out of Oslo, heading along the coast and making my way to Gothenburg, Sweden, another hotbed of EV innovation thanks to the headquarters of both Volvo and Polestar. I stayed mostly on the E6 highway for the run down, ducking off occasionally to get a taste of rural Scandinavian scenery and, more importantly, to turn the steering wheel more than 5 degrees in either direction.
On the highway, the Taycan is a high-powered dream.
Porsche
The ride
On the highway the Taycan is a lovely tourer. On either the 20-inch wheels, standard on the Turbo, or the 21-inchers that come on the Turbo S, the car handled the few bits of road imperfections I was able to find without complaint. Separation joints in concrete and the like flashed seamlessly underneath while road and wind noise was nearly absent. This level of isolation is doubly important in an EV, which lacks the drone of internal combustion to mask any acoustic foibles.
More impressive on the highway, though, is that the Taycan Turbo proved remarkably eager at any speed. Most EVs accelerate quickly between lights around town, but get up to highway speed and suddenly they don’t feel so lively. That’s not the case with Taycan, which surges forward with aplomb given any opportunity. That two-speed transmission, it seems, pays off.
Slowing the thing down, however, is another matter. As I learned from my first ride in the Taycan back in March, Porsche has taken a stand against regenerative braking when you lift off the accelerator. Most EVs will immediately start to harvest momentum as soon as your foot leaves the pedal, but Porsche firmly believes that if you want to slow down you should hit the brake pedal. By default, then, the Taycan coasts.

Most EVs will immediately start to harvest momentum as soon as your foot leaves the pedal, but Porsche firmly believes that if you want to slow down you should hit the brake pedal.  

Regen can be boosted somewhat via a button on steering wheel, but even on its maximum amount you’ll still be moving a foot over to the brake pedal far more frequently than on just about any other EV on the market. I’m an avid fan of one-pedal EV driving and so I found this limitation frustrating (why not give drivers more regen if they want?), but there’s a bigger issue: how that brake pedal feels.
The braking feel in the Taycan is, in short, not particularly good. The pedal has a long, soft throw that’s not what I’d call sporty. It’s also not what I’d expect from a car wearing giant carbon-ceramic stoppers like those on the Taycan Turbo S. An entire generation of hybrids with awful brake feel are testament that the process of tuning the brakes in a complicated regenerative system is not easy. However, cars like the Acura NSX show that such systems can feel and work perfectly. The feel of the system in the Taycan needs work, which is disappointing given how often you’ll need to use it.
The car’s steering, too, has a bit of a distant feel, but that’s not to say the car doesn’t respond when pressed. That steering is quick and the car is far more responsive through the corners than its 5,132-pound curb weight would suggest (5,121 pounds for the Taycan Turbo S). But the laws of physics are indeed the law, and trying to hustle through quick complexes of corners results in the kind of reluctance you can only attribute to a car that weighs 600 pounds more than a Panamera Turbo. That said, opportunities for challenging the handling of the Taycan were admittedly few on my drive, so I’ll reserve judgment until I’m able to get more seat time on roads with a little more character.
Yes, there are buttons, but you’ll have to look hard to find ’em.
Porsche
In-cabin experience
When the current-generation Panamera launched, it ushered in a new generation of in-cabin interface that began the process of shrugging off Porsche’s button-heavy ways to embrace a new, capacitive-touch future. The interior in the Taycan takes that trend another big step forward, virtually abolishing all buttons.
The primary, Porsche Communication Management display sits front and center in the dashboard, presenting a widescreen interface that’s more comprehensive but not radically different from what we’ve seen on the Panamera and elsewhere. The more radical change is found below. Here lies another touchscreen, this one split in two halves. The top portion is dedicated to climate controls, with pop-up menus to toggle things like the heated and ventilated seats and to aim the dashboard vents (which, annoyingly, cannot be moved without diving into a submenu).
The lower half of that screen has a few areas for frequently used controls, like volume adjustment and opening the trunk, along with a large surface that effectively works like a touchpad, allowing you to highlight different areas on the main PCM screen above. This portion feels like wasted space, but then there’s plenty to go around.

The Porsche virtual assistant triggered itself no fewer than seven times over the course of a 5-hour drive. That’d be fine, except I only said, “Hey, Porsche” once.   

To the right of the dashboard, in front of the passenger, lies yet another touchscreen, this one a secondary widescreen PCM interface. This $1,130 optional display is purely for passenger use, enabling your co-driver to find and enter destinations, control media and even view a simplified version of the car’s dashboard. It’s a cool idea that’s occasionally useful but also occasionally infuriating. For example, while riding shotgun I attempted to pair my phone with the car so that I could stream some media. The passenger display told me that the car must be stationary before I could do so.
As laughably maddening as that moment was, the most annoying part of the Porsche infotainment experience was the voice assistant, which triggered itself no fewer than seven times over the course of a 5-hour drive. That’d be fine, except I only said, “Hey, Porsche” once. The other half-dozen times the system interrupted a conversation with, “How can I help you?”
The final bit of in-car interface is a dramatic, sweeping, curved gauge cluster that admittedly looks cooler from the passenger seat. From behind the wheel the curved effect is somewhat lost, but that doesn’t make it any less useful. Using a controller on the wheel, the driver can quickly cycle the left, right and center portions of the display through a number of useful pieces of information, or push the numbers to the side in favor of a sweeping navigational display. It’s the rare piece of tech wizardry that looks good and works well.
Ionity is Europe’s equivalent of Electrify America, where the electricity comes fast.
Porsche
Range
As of now, Porsche has not completed EPA testing of the Taycan Turbo nor the Turbo S, but on the European WLTP cycle, a manufacturer favorite thanks to its optimistic results, the Taycan is rated for 450 kilometers or about 280 miles. On the harsher but more realistic EPA cycle, expect a rating of somewhere in the ballpark of 225 miles.
I covered just short of 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) in a Taycan, but along the way we had a mandatory stop at an Ionity charger, where the car I was testing took a quick gulp of some electricity at a rate just shy of its advertised 800-volt maximum. The charge speed was impressive, but also foiled any attempts at really challenging the car’s range.
That said, the average consumption clocked over the total trip came out to 21.8 kWh per 100 kilometers. Divide that into the Taycan’s 92-kWh pack and you come up with a theoretical range of 427 kilometers (265 miles). Given that my drive route consisted of equal parts highway miles and heavy-footed antics, I’d say 450 kilometers is actually realistic under normal conditions.
Mamba green metallic is far from the only Taycan color available, but it’s certainly among the best. 
Tim Stevens/Roadshow
Wrap-up
Now it’s time for the big question: is the Porsche Taycan Turbo worth your $150,900, or the Turbo S worth your $185,000 (plus $1,350 destination)? That’s a tough call, and one that I ultimately won’t be able to answer without more time in the saddle for a full review. That’s time I’m eager to commit, because while the Taycan Turbo looks nicer, drives fresher and has an interior miles better than any Tesla, a starting price that’s $50,000 higher than a Model S Performance is a bitter pill to swallow. This car will have to seriously deliver on the day-to-day to make up that difference.
The giant asterisk to that inevitable Tesla comparison is that these are the two top-shelf Taycans. Future models, coming soon, will be far more affordable. For comparison’s sake, a base Porsche Panamera will cost you $87,200. Meanwhile, the full-fat Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo starts at $191,700.

Setting price aside for now, the Porsche Taycan is remarkably impressive in many ways. It’s quick, it’s fun and it’s also comfortable and quiet. Its technology package, though not without its foibles, is miles ahead of what we’ve seen from Porsche in the past and, in many ways, this is a car I’d rather own than the Panamera. There is room for improvement, but Porsche’s first production EV is a win and yet another sign that an all-electric future is worth getting excited about. 

Editors’ note: Travel costs related to this feature were covered by the manufacturer. This is common in the auto industry, as it’s far more economical to ship journalists to cars than to ship cars to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday vehicle loans from manufacturers in order to provide scored editorial reviews, all scored vehicle reviews are completed on our turf and on our terms.
The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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Computers

Surface Laptop 4, Surface Pro 8 Images Allegedly Leak, Tipped to Launch in January Next Year

Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 8 alleged images have been shared by a tipster on Twitter. The images seem to be from a US FCC filing with the two Microsoft laptops placed next to a ruler for measurements. The tipster also shared model numbers for the two laptops with the Surface Laptop 4 reportedly…

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Surface Laptop 4, Surface Pro 8 Images Allegedly Leak, Tipped to Launch in January Next Year

Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 8 alleged images have been shared by a tipster on Twitter. The images seem to be from a US FCC filing with the two Microsoft laptops placed next to a ruler for measurements. The tipster also shared model numbers for the two laptops with the Surface Laptop 4 reportedly having model number 1950 and the Surface Pro 8 coming with model number 1960. Additionally, a report states that the two laptops will be launched as early as January next year.The two images shared by tipster Cozyplanes on Twitter are said to be of the rumoured Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 and the Surface Pro 8. They look like images taken from an FCC listing and show the back of the Surface Laptop 4 and the front of the Surface Pro 8. There also seems to be an LTE variant of the Surface Pro 8 that is said to carry model number 1961.The leaked image of the Surface Laptop 4 doesn’t really provide any information other than the black colour for the back panel, rounded edges, and a Microsoft logo. Similarly, the alleged leaked image for the Surface Pro 8 shows the front of the laptop with thick bezels as seen previously on Surface Pro laptops, a white back panel, and some grooves around the body.Additionally, a report by Windows Central states that the Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 8 could launch as early as January 2021. The two laptops could feature Intel 11th generation processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics. It adds that the Surface Laptop 4 will come with AMD variants as well. Further, Microsoft may start releasing the Surface Duo in more markets after the Surface devices launch. Lastly, there might be a black variant of the Surface Go 2 that might launch in January, as per the report.Microsoft has not shared any information on the Surface Laptop 4 or the Surface Pro 8. They could come with iterative upgrades compared to the current generation models without any major external hardware changes.Will Apple Silicon Lead to Affordable MacBooks in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. 

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Technology

Xbox Series X restock inventory for Black Friday: Buy from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family. Just this month, Microsoft debuted the Xbox Series X ($500) and its little brother, the Xbox Series S ($300). But just like the equally impressive PS5, they’re more or less…

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Xbox Series X restock inventory for Black Friday: Buy from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target     – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Just this month, Microsoft debuted the Xbox Series X ($500) and its little brother, the Xbox Series S ($300). But just like the equally impressive PS5, they’re more or less impossible to get hold of. That’s too bad, because the Xbox Series X is a mighty gaming beast. Hook it up to your TV and it offers nearly full compatibility with the Xbox One gaming library, smooth 4K gaming and the ability to pause and resume up to four titles at once. But even though the inventory landscape has been bleak so far, there may still be some opportunities to get a console in the coming days. While most retailers haven’t been particularly forthcoming about when they expect to have more units for sale, a few have been more upfront. Walmart, for example, has been keeping customers informed about exactly when it’s dropping new inventory via Twitter. The last inventory drop at Walmart happened on Wednesday (Thanksgiving Eve) and we’re waiting for Walmart’s next announcement on Twitter.Walmart isn’t the only retailer being open about their inventory. Antonline is doing much the same, just with less notice. The retailer is tweeting availability at the time of drop, engaging directly with customers and gamers. An Antonline representative also said, “We have a strict one-per-customer policy and are doing many checks to get these into the hands of real gamers and not scalpers.” Here’s Antonline’s most recent tweet about a drop. As you can see, you’ll probably want to follow the retailer for the tweets to be useful:Best Buy and GameStop are also teasing Xbox availability for Black Friday week, but without any specific details.   Unlike Sony, which conducted an online-only launch for the PS5, Microsoft stocked the shelves both online and in stores. But as you scour the web and brick-and-mortar stores for inventory, temper your expectations: They’re nowhere to be found and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better: Microsoft is now saying that Xbox inventory could be tight through April 2021.  If you still want to try your luck, here’s a list of the major retailers selling the Xbox Series X. Our advice is to seek out the $500 retail price, and avoid those pricey retailer bundles (which include extraneous controllers, accessories and games).

Best Buy was the last retailer standing back in the preorder days of September, but now stands ready for your Xbox Series X purchase as inventory allows. 

Amazon is selling the Xbox Series X and the less expensive Series S from this same product page. 

Walmart does a solid job of noting availability windows for PS5 and Xbox on its Twitter feed. You might also want to visit the retailer’s Xbox landing page for both new consoles. 

GameStop had touted “very limited number of Xbox Series X and S console bundles for purchase” but those are currently sold out.

This is Target’s product page for the Xbox Series X. 

This is where you can purchase the Xbox Series X at Newegg when the retailer has inventory. 

If you want to get the latest on the Xbox Series X, there’s probably nowhere better than Microsoft’s own Xbox Series X home page. Here you’ll find the latest specs, announced game titles, details on the new controller and more. 

Are you already getting desperate? Are you willing to pay a premium of hundreds of dollars over the list price? Listen, we wouldn’t do this and we don’t recommend you do it, either. But if you want to take that path, StockX is a reputable eBay-style site that will let you buy and sell new Xbox and PS5 models — as long as you’re willing to pay upwards of $750. 

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020

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CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

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Phones

Black Friday Fire tablet deals: Savings on the Amazon Fire 7, Fire HD 8, Fire 7, all Fire Kids tablets and more – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family. Black Friday is in full swing and at Amazon that means the full range of the company’s hardware devices are on sale. Case in point: Every Fire…

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Black Friday Fire tablet deals: Savings on the Amazon Fire 7, Fire HD 8, Fire 7, all Fire Kids tablets and more     – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Black Friday is in full swing and at Amazon that means the full range of the company’s hardware devices are on sale. Case in point: Every Fire tablet in the lineup can now be purchased at a deep discount. This effectively brings back the Prime Day deals from October, with some new ones thrown in for good measure for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here’s a full breakdown of the deals, including one that just went live yesterday.The Fire HD 10 (10-inch tablet) is now $80 ($70 off)The Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is now $130 ($70 off)The Fire HD 8 Plus (8-inch tablet) is now $75 ($35 off)The Fire HD 8 is now $55 ($35 off)The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is now $80 ($60 off)The Fire 7 (7-inch tablet) is now $40 ($10 off)  The Fire 7 Kids Edition is now $60 ($40 off)Note that the Fire Kids Editions include a case and a year of Amazon’s Kids Plus subscription service, a $36 value. Many tablets have been unavailable or temporarily out of stock, so if you find that, keep checking back as we update this page regularly.

Black Friday 2020 sales and deals

David Carnoy/CNET

Amazon has come a long way from the first Kindle Fire tablet. The Amazon Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s biggest tablet with a 10-inch screen size and powerful speakers (and it now charges via USB-C). Just like its smaller 8-inch sibling, the Fire HD 8, the tablet is packed with benefits for Prime subscribers, making it easy for members to stream and download movies, TV shows and games. The Fire tablets don’t use a pure version of Android, but instead Amazon’s Android-based Fire operating system, and pull apps from the Amazon App Store. You can still get apps from Google Play, but you’ll have to install the store yourself — meaning gaming enthusiasts have access to all of their favorite mobile games for an excellent gaming tablet experience.

Read more.

César Salza/CNET

The Fire HD 8 was updated earlier this year with a faster processor, USB-C charging, better Wi-Fi performance, 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB) and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the base model. Its HD screen is sharper than the entry-level Fire 7, but it’s not nearly as sharp as iPad displays. The HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and slightly better performance, thanks to 3GB of RAM.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Fire HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and more RAM (3GB instead of 2GB), with performance that improves on the standard Fire HD 8. The tablet should charge just fine on most wireless charging pads.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fair warning: We really think you should pay up for a Fire HD 8, which is a much better, faster tablet than the entry-level Fire 7. But at $40, this non-HD 7-inch model is going to be tempting for a lot of folks. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

This child-friendly version of the Fire HD 8 tablet adds a padded case, parental controls, a two-year warranty and a one-year subscription to Kids Plus (formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited), which normally costs $3 a month and gives you access to a bunch of kid-friendly content. It’s not really suitable for remote learning, but it’s a much more affordable option than giving a young child a full-on iPad.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This has all of the same extras as the HD 8 above, but it’s the childproof version of the smaller, more affordable Amazon Fire 7. You’re getting a 7-inch screen instead of 8, and a less robust processor.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020

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