2013-2015 Porsche Cayenne diesel forum, review, and buying guide

Introduction

This FAQ shows details of standard equipment and options, and reviews for the new Porsche Cayenne diesel.

The Porsche Cayenne diesel is new for 2013 but neither the engine or car are "new". This body style was all new for 2011 and this engine/transmission is also used in the VW Touareg and Audi Q7 (with which the Cayenne shares a basic chassis), and the Audi A4, A6, and A8. Fuel economy should be in the mid-20s after the engine is broken in, depending on load and driving style. The official EPA mpg is 20/29 city/highway which is better than the Q7 TDI and Touareg TDI with the same engine.

So why buy the Cayenne over the VW Touareg or Audi Q7? The Porsche has the highest trim levels and available options. The Porsche also has different suspension and steering tuning and has the highest fuel economy rating. The Audi Q7 has 3 row seating but is heavier. The Touareg is cheaper but even at the highest trim level, can't be optioned like the Cayenne. Their options also come in packages vs. a la carte. Other diesel SUV available in North America are the BMW xDrive35d (X5 diesel), Mercedes ML 350 Bluetec, or GL 350 Bluetec.

Here's a short review of my time with the Cayenne diesel

Porsche Cayenne major options explained

Base Porsche Cayenne diesel: Every Cayenne diesel has partial leather 8 way power front seats, AWD, stability and yaw control, 8 speed automatic transmission w/manual shift capability (tiptronic), 6 piston monoblock front brake calipers and 4 piston rears, dual zone climate control, auto headlights, LED taillights, reverse camera, power rear liftgate, and of course the diesel badge.

Below is my video walkaround. Many of the features shown are optional and are explained in more detail below.


Memory seat package or Adaptive Sport seats: Base seats (left, first picture) have seat tilt, height, and back adjustment. Memory seats look the same (middle) but add 3 position memory, seat bottom length adjustment, 4 way lumber, and electric steering column adjustment. Adaptive Sport seats (right) are also shown in the video and add side and kidney bolsters that can each be adjusted. 3 stage heat and/or ventilation is available with any seat option. The adaptive sport seat option also adds thicker bolsters on the rear seats (below right is a comparison of the rear seats). The rear seats have optional seat heating.

Leather interior: this adds leather to the upper and lower dashboard, glovebox, and upper doors, visible in the video. There is an additional leather package described on Porsche's website that covers misc. front trim. The optional Alcantara headliner is synthetic suede and covers the side pillars, sunvisors, and the roof liner all the way to the rear.

Adaptive cruise control: This uses radar sensors to monitor the distance of the cars in front.  It can slow down the car all the way to a full stop.  You can adjust the following distance between a few levels which vary according to speed. It will not apply full braking force (like in emergency situations) or detect parked cars/objects in the road. Only active above 19 mph. The multifunction display shows the cruise settings.

CDR, CDR Plus, and Bose: CDR is the base radio. It features a 7" color touchscreen w/ 10 speakers and 100 watt head unit. CDR Plus has 11 speakers and 325W and adds a USB port that can accept iPod adapters or USB sticks. Bose has 14 speakers (including subwoofer), 9 channel, and a 585W amp. It also allows audio DVD.

PCM: Porsche Communication Management is the navigation system. It uses the CDR display and adds navigation. See the video for a demo.

Lane change assist: This uses radar to detect moving vehicles in your blind spot between 20-156 mph. The indicator is in the side view mirror, see the video for more details. When turned on, the light turns on if there's another vehicle in your blind spot and blinks if you use the turn signal and it senses a vehicle in your blind spot. I was skeptical but it works. It even picked up a motorcycle. The lights can be adjusted to 3 brightness levels or the system turned off. It can monitor up to 2 lanes to the left and right depending on the road and other vehicle. Note: - the sensor uses K band radar in the rear bumpers and can cause a pop or K band radar detector false alarm.  The V1 Valentine seems to have this problem the worst but it has a pop radar disable function. You cannot use it with a trailer and it knows if you're towing and will turn itself off after displaying a warning message.

Porsche entry and drive: this is keyless entry and start. If the key is in range, touching the door handles unlocks the car. It also adds an engine start button. When leaving you just have to touch a button on the door handle.

Regular or Panoramic sunroof: the regular sunroof is an average sunroof that can tilt/retract. The pano sunroof is about 4 times larger. The front panel can tilt/retract. The rear panel is fixed. It also adds an electric sunshade. NOTE: if you get the panoramic sunroof some roof bars will not fit because the front panel opens above the rear panel. Max roof bar load is 165 lbs.

Backup camera and Park assist: The rear view backup camera is standard. The part assist system is optional and beeps and displays on the CDR. It has both front and rear sensors. See the video for a demo.

Bi-Xenon headlights: The HID are optional and can adjust vertically for leveling. They also turn the beam into corners between 5-80 mph.

Ambient lighting: There's a demo in the video walkaround showing brightness levels but below is an additional thumbnail showing actual brightness levels at night. The footwell lighting isn't too noticeable because it's out of your line of sight but I found the overhead lighting distracting if set to a level where the upper armrest lights were visible. I would avoid this option or turn it off if it came with a package because it will degrade your night vision. It looks cool though.

PASM: This uses magnetically controlled fluid inside the shock absorbers to constantly adjust their dampening in response to your driving and conditions. They can also be put into comfort, normal, or sport modes. The wheel and tire choice also have a big role in how the car rides. Bigger wheels use low profile tires that will ride rougher because their sidewalls are stiffer and shorter.

PCCB: This adds ceramic rotors (instead of cast iron) and yellow brake calipers. Ceramic rotors are much lighter (improves suspension performance and comfort), nearly dust free, and will last the lifetime of the car. However, this option can add over 10% to the cost of the car. If equipped with PCCB, ALWAYS use wheel hangers when removing the wheels. This prevents the wheel from being dropped onto the rotor during service.

Air suspension: (includes PASM): This replaces the steel spring suspension with an air bag suspension to raise or lower the car. It's powered by an air compressor and two reservoirs under the car. A lower car gives handling advantages and less drag while a higher car gives more ground clearance.  If you tow, it's especially helpful because it levels the rear of the car in response to the tongue weight.  A diagram of the same system on a Q7 is shown below. If you jack up the car you have to lock the suspension in a service mode. (see your owners handbook). The height is also seen in the virtual walkaround. The available levels and ride heights from highest to lowest are:

High 2 raises the front/rear 2.28" (58mm)/2.17" (55mm) vs. normal and is only available below 20mph. Above 20 mph the car lowers to high 1.
High 1 which raises the front/rear 1.1" (28mm)/0.98" (25mm). Below 50 mph it's deactivated. High 1 is automatically activated when the off road mode is selected.
Normal which gives ground clearance of 7.48" (190mm)
Low 1 lowers the front/rear 0.87" (22mm)/.98" (25mm) and is automatically activated above 100mph or if the car is driven at 85mph for more than 10 seconds. If it was automatically activated the car is raised to Normal if the speed is below 60 mph for 10 seconds or below 25mph. If it was set manually it'll stay there.
Low 2 lowers the front/rear 1.26" (32mm)/1.38" (35mm) vs. normal. It's automatically used if the car is above 130 mph for more than 40 seconds and deselected if below 105 mph for 60 seconds or below 75mph.
Loading Level can only be used below 3 mph. It lowers the car 2.05" (52mm)/2.17" (55mm) vs. normal.

MFSW (multifunction steering wheel): This adds buttons and dials to the steering wheel. I strongly suggest it because it lets you quickly change the radio volume/channel, use Bluetooth, and cycle the multifunction display. The standard control is a stalk on the steering wheel column.

3.0L turbodiesel TDI engine: The engine makes 240 horsepower/406 lb-ft engine.  0-60 is about 7.2 seconds and range is about 700 miles. Peak torque is reached as low as 1,750 engine rpm which means that thrust is immediately felt. The 8 speed transmission also maximizes fuel economy and power response.  This is a 24 valve single turbo engine V6.  It's very similar to the older Touareg engine (see 1000q: CATA engine FAQ) but his one has only 2 timing chains and is slightly lighter. Combined with the 8 speed transmission, fuel economy was increased by almost 20% vs. the older engine and 6 speed transmission. The transmission is rated for up to 627 lb-ft of torque so there's plenty of room in the transmission for a power chip tune in your Audi Q7 TDI.

The water pump circuit can also close during cold starts to make engine warm up as fast as possible which reduces emissions and increases fuel economy.

The 8 speed tiptronic automatic is made in Japan by Aisin.  The gear ratios are listed below (7th and 8th are double overdrive).  If you wish to find the engine rpm at a given speed, enter the gear and final drive ratio below with your tire size in 1000q: wheel, tire, and gearing calculator

gear 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 final
ratio 4.97 2.84 1.864 1.437 1.21 1 .825 .686 3.273

Porsche Cayenne diesel adblue fluid and particulate filter system: To meet emissions, the car uses Adblue fluid to clean NOx emissions and a particulate filter to clean soot emissions. Adblue fluid is consumed with engine load and should be topped off every 10,000 miles. The diesel particulate filter (DPF) catches soot and burns them out during the filter self clean cycle. For detailed pictures and description of the system and other handy info like Adblue part numbers and handling safety, see 1000q: DPF filter and Adblue fluid FAQ.

There are multiple warnings once the Adblue level is low starting around and once the car is out of Adblue, it will not restart. The engine will still run but it won't restart since it's no longer meeting emissions. The first warning is 1,500 miles before it runs out. Refilling the Adblue can be done by the owner and Adblue fluid or generic diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) can be found at any truck stop or BMW, Mercedes, VW, Audi, or Porsche dealer. There is no Adblue fluid gauge.

Tow rating: All Porsche Cayenne diesel come with trailer hitch prep (7 pin connector).  The towing capacity is 7,716 lbs w/braked trailer and 617 lbs of tongue weight. Here's a picture of the hitch.

Front and rear foglights: Front foglights are self explanatory but I wanted to explain the rear foglights.  Rear foglights are common on European cars and should only be used in low visibility like in thick fog. Do not use them on in clear conditions because they create a safety hazard to cars behind you. It's distracting and degrades other people's night vision. To use the rear foglights, pull the headlight switch out to the second notch. Front foglights are the first notch.

Other misc stuff to know about the Porsche Cayenne diesel

The fuel gauge has a reminder arrow showing you which side the fuel filler is on. There's a small hole on the hinge to rest the cap. If you ever loan the car to someone DON'T have them fill it up for you because they may forget it's a diesel. Don't rely on the color of the fuel pump nozzle to see which is diesel because I've seen green and yellow diesel pump handles. If the car is ever misfueled, do not turn the car on or start the engine. Have the fuel tank drained.
audi q7 tdi fuel

All retail diesel sold in the US, Canada, and Europe is ultra low sulfur diesel ULSD. If you travel to Mexico don't use low sulfur diesel because it will damage the emissions system. You may find ULSD along the border.

The fuel tank opening has a misfueling restrictor that prevents gas pump nozzles from being inserted. Pelican parts sells a BMW part number (16.11.0.440.157) misfueling adapter that will work on your car for nonstandard or truck sized fuel pump nozzles.  It comes with a pair of rubber gloves.  Many thanks to user Dutch van Atlanta for the picture and the tip!

I carry paper towels in the car when handling the diesel fuel pump.  If there's diesel fuel on the handle it will make your hand smell.  Diesel fuel is an oil so it doesn't evaporate as quickly as gasoline (solvent).  I always use a paper towel when fueling gasoline too because I don't like the odors that are on their handles either.

The normal power split F/R is 40/60 but it can change according to conditions up to a maximum of 65% front and 85% rear.

The car uses an oil level sensor. There is no physical oil dipstick but you can add one if you remove the plug and buy one. There's already a tube to accept it. A physical dipstick lets you can check the color and level anytime.

Homelink lets you program 3 remotes.  It does work with rolling code remotes. Refer to your owner's manual and homelink.com for details on programming.

Here's a thumbnail of some parts to know under the engine bay. Some of these are under the plastic covers. While a 3.0L TDI engine was also used in Audi A4, A6, A8, Q7 TDI and VW Touareg TDI since 2009, the 3.0L engine had major mechanical updates and a small power boost in 2012 for European models and 2013 for North American models.

You can't order 4 zone climate control on the diesel for some reason. It has nothing to do with the emissions system because you can order 4 zone climate control on European Cayenne diesels.

There's a puddle light under the side view mirror. For some reason I couldn't get it to work on my test car so there was probably a setting that needed to be changed to make it work. It should turn on when you unlock the car or open the doors.

Using biodiesel in your Porsche Cayenne diesel
The 3.0L diesel engine will run on biodiesel but Porsche-VW-Audi's official limit is a maximum of 5% biodiesel (B5).  The concern is......

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What to cover in the car delivery inspection

The engine oil technical service bulletin

Only use one spec oil because the car is equipped with a DPF.

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