It’s a week since I picked up my new Porsche Cayenne S and started using it as a daily driver. Week 1 has been interesting, and not at all bad.
Mine is a 2004 V8 Cayenne S with 117,000 miles. It was owned by a friend for four years, so has been well maintained. Fuel carries prodigious taxes in the UK, so I was expecting most people to ask “what does it do to the gallon?” first. Surprisingly few people have asked what it does on fuel and everyone asks what I paid! Clearly some ownership aspiration for Cayennes out there.
First test for the Cayenne was what would the kids think. I took Ciara (middle, aged 11) with me to collect: she jumped straight into it and wouldn’t come out. Eliza (eldest aged 14) immediately called it “Eliza’s car”, and asked if she could take her test in it. Orla (youngest, aged 8) squealed when I told her it had a DVD player in the back. Cayenne claimed top marks with the kids.
Second test was Mrs Glynn’s reaction. She has her own cars so I am not letting her burn my Cayenne’s petrol for a while, but the verdict from the passenger seat was “I hope it’s not an expensive indulgence” and “what is up with this air conditioning?”.
The air con struggled to keep up with thirty degrees C ambient temps on our first drive in the car. The volume of air coming from the vents on full tilt was deeply unimpressive! I stripped off some panels and found the rather small cabin air intake was over an exhaust manifold – clearly not a great idea. A quick check on the Rennlist Porsche Cayenne forum found others complaining of the same issues.
Playing around with different techniques in this warm weather all week, I’ve found the easy solution is to do a mile or so with the windows open to blow out the warm air inside, set the temp to LO, recirculate when the car is at its hottest and keep it ticking over close to LO using face and floor vents. So far so good.
One other niggling problem is with intermittent reversing sensors, which I will look at some day. I’ve already crunched it into a post: not the best start. Front sensors are handy as it is hard to judge that nose. They don’t like the very narrow drive to my office, but I’m used to the terrified bleeping now.
On the first night the Cayenne was outside the house, some little shagger nicked the centre caps off the wheels. I’m assuming they are now on some lowered VW, but what a pathetic thing to do. I bought two sets of cheap repro caps on ebay and superglued the replacements to the rims. The spares are there for when these get torn off by tyre fitters. One seller also sent me Porsche logo’d valve caps for free, which I’ll offer as a Ferdinand prize some day.
Other issues which I will probably blog separately included DVD settings (sorted) and condensation in one rear light unit. I’ve got an aftermarket towbar, but a genuine Porsche tow hitch – need to find a hitch ball that fits, so I can tow with this.
The radio on my Porsche PCM 2 struggles with weak performance from the standard diversity aerial in marginal reception zones. Radio 2 strength is not great around here and Chris Evans on the school run is quite an intermittent affair. Not a bad thing, some of the time. I only listen to 6 Music (digital station), so haven’t used any of the other audio or nav bits. I’m half tempted by a Dension 500 kit to plug an iPod into, but really all I need is a handsfree phone kit. Maybe I’ll just swap the Parrot 9200 from the Subaru.
Other things that niggle: no place to put keys up front without them rattling, front cupholder insert missing, one rear plastic trim on the centre console is broken. The central air vents have lost their rubberised coating and the vent flaps are all detached internally, but I bought a replacement part from an eBay breaker which I’ll fit some day soon.
Does any of the above matter? No. What matters with any Porsche is how it drives.
If you’ve only ever driven a few miles in a Cayenne and thought “argh, this tank is way too stiff” or “I cannot get on with this gearbox”, welcome to the club. My first miles in the car were spent wondering what I should stick it up for on Pistonheads. One week and 500 miles in, I love it. When you stop thinking about it like a 4×4 and just drive it like a Porsche, it is the most amazing thing.
Turn-in is fantastic. Turn the wheel and the front just goes – no body roll out of the turn, no sloppy steering, no massive understeer. It just flicks in and holds any line you want. I’d love to do a track day in it.
To really keep that engine cooking, drop a gear or two as you brake for corners, then hold a steady throttle and squeeze it on when past the apex. Waiting for the gearbox to wake up once the bend has been despatched is when seconds are lost going nowhere and frustration builds with Tiptronic. Same thing going up hills, as it sticks in D5 or D6 for ages before dropping down. Get on the buttons and whack it into fourth for some fun.
My biggest niggle at the minute is the thing is too quiet! We need to release a few decibels. I’ll post some more in a bit on fuel economy as that has been REALLY interesting.