Experience with Cayenne :I purchased a Porsche Cayenne S 4.5 Tiptronic in May 2013 from Cridford's of Ripley, a reputable Porsche dealer. The car had done approx 31,000 miles and was a 2005 registration vehicle.
I was a bit surprised to see from the service history that the car had had a replacement engine in 2011 after being driven for only 21,000 miles. As the owner of a Porsche 911 I was aware that Porsche engines had a bit of a history of oil leak problems and on some 997s of bore scoring but the Cayenne is a SUV with a V8 engine so I couldn't imagine what had been the reason for a replacement after such a low mileage. Nevertheless the engine had been replaced in 2011 by the Porsche Centre West London and so I was confident that at least I didn't have to worry about engine problems. Sure it only did 15 miles to the gallon but I didn't intend on using it every day so the high cost of filling up the tank was worth it for the amount of car I was buying.
In April 2014 I took the car to a Porsche specialist, Parr, in Crawley for its annual service and was stunned to hear that the engine was faulty. The car at this time had done 35,000 miles so had only driven 14,000 miles on this engine. Surely a mistake but no, PARR performed a bore scope on cylinders 5 and 6 and sure enough the cylinder lining was scored allowing oil to leak between the piston and the bore.
The people from Parr were understanding but advised I had two options, take out the engine and install steel linings in the cylinders or carry on and see if things got worse but keep the oil checked and topped up. They advised this wasn't the first Cayenne they had seen with this problem but normally the damage occurred at around 60,000 miles or over. They advise this was the same problem as the 997 had experienced. To have the engine cylinders lined would have cost a minimum of £10,000 which was not worth it for a car that had a retail price of about the same. I decided to see if things stabilised and carried on driving the car whilst keeping a very close eye on the oil level. The performance of the car didn't seem to be affected however after about 6 months the car started to misfire. A phone call to Parr and the suspicion was that the plugs had got blocked with oil.
At this stage it was clear that the replacement engine must have been faulty so I took the car back to the Porsche Centre West London and asked them to have a look at the engine. After another investigation they confirmed the diagnosis of Parr and advised the engine would need to be either replaced or they could re-line the cylinders. They were firmly of the opinion that as the whole engine had been replaced in 2011, not just a half engine, and as the engine was a Porsche supplied engine then Porsche would take responsibility for correcting the fault. They may not cover the full price as the engine had been driven but the people at the Porsche centre were confident Porsche would cover at least 80% of the price. They just had to get it cleared with Porsche Customer Services in Reading.
Then things went quiet for about two weeks. The Porsche Service Centre were not getting a response from Porsche Customer Service until eventually they were advised that Porsche would take no responsibility for the engine. The reason was that the engine was out of warranty. I don't know who was more surprised by this attitude, me or the Porsche Service Centre representatives. Even he manager of the PSC tried to get the Porsche Customer Services to change his mind but eventually I got a phone call from Customer Services stating in no uncertain terms that Porsche would not contribute anything to the repair of the engine as the car was outside warranty. They showed no interest whatsoever in the fact that they had supplied a substandard engine. The person from Customer Services even admitted that he had no technical knowledge and appeared to be more interested in protecting his financial position than in the quality of the product.
Having nowhere else to go I retrieved the car from Porsche Service Centre and wrote to Matthias Muller, the CEO of Porsche based in Germany. I explained the background as above and asked him to respond to a number of questions relating to the Porsche attitude to the quality of their product. The questions I asked were:
1 Does Porsche consider that an engine that is effectively written off after less than 17,000 miles is acceptable quality?
The problem with cylinder wear in Cayennes around 2005 is well documented on the various motoring forums and could account for the need for a replacement engine at 21,000 miles but the engine installed in 2011 should have been after the problem was identified and resolved. Hence either the engine replacement was substandard or the cylinder coating problem still exists. Please advise which the case is.
Your own maintenance department (in Porsche Centre West London) has advised their opinion that the engine should be repaired as if under warranty but this has been rejected by Customer Services. Please confirm that this is the case and the reason for the rejection. As mentioned above I have a verbal response but in case of a legal claim under tort of negligence against Porsche Service Center I would appreciate a written response. I understand that calls are recorded so evidence of the various conversations will be available.
How many revs is a Porsche engine designed for before engine damage occurs. As your PCS rep. has stated that this is a possible reason for the damage there must be evidence of the limit which should be publicized. Note that the onboard computer should be able to determine whether this level of revs was exceeded in my case.
Your web site under Responsibility in the Company states that "satisfied customers, a wider dealer network and reliable suppliers form the platform for our vision." Porsche are also considered to be the premium German quality auto brand. How do you reconcile this vision with your position that it is acceptable for one of your cars to need two new engines having driven less than 40,000 miles and having been regularly serviced by Porsche specialists?
Within a few days I received an email response from Porsche customer service in Germany to the effect that they had received the letter but had passed it to London Porsche Customer Service. Another three weeks passed with no response so I emailed back the German customer services. Within a couple of days I got a phone call from the same London Porsche Customer Service representative as previous saying, guess what, nothing has changed. No attempt to answer my questions and no attempt to show any interest in the fact that Porsche had supplied a substandard engine.
At the present time I have the car back with Parr to replace the plugs and coils so the car can be driven again but to say that I am disappointed by Porsche is an understatement. The myth of German engineering is as far as I'm concerned well and truly exposed. Porsche are meant to be the top German manufacturer with a pride in their product but my experience has shown that they are not interested in quality but just in how much they can get by selling warranties. And as the letter I sent was to Matthias Muller, the Porsche CEO copied to Bernhard Maier, Member of the executive Board responsible for Sales and Marketing, I can only assume that such an attitude is encouraged from the top down.
I have sympathy for the people at Porsche Centre West London who wanted to do what was right but were overruled by the accountant in Reading. However I felt that this story had to be told as a warning to others that may be considering purchasing a Porsche. If you purchase one of the many Porsches that give good performance then you will have great car. I am really pleased with my 911 and enjoy driving it. But if you get one of the seemingly many Porsches that have quality issues, forget any assistance or understanding from Porsche Customer Services. They are not interested!
DerivativeS 4.5 Tiptronic Fuelpetrol Year of build2005 Owned for2 years Mileage31.000 km