Long-Term Update 6: 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
At last update, it had only been a few weeks since I took over the Cayenne from Angus MacKenzie, so I explored some of the real-world results that Porsche's hybrid powertrain produces. With several thousand more miles under my belt now, it's time to talk about the little things.
Between Thanksgiving and a separate family Christmas party, I put more than 2000 miles on the Cayenne in less than two weeks and I'm now familiar with some of its quirks. Since, like you, I didn't bother to read the manual before jumping behind the wheel, I'm continually finding new features I didn't know existed. My favorite so far is the customizability of the in-dash information display. I've completely reconfigured what data is displayed at all times on the top and bottom of the screen as well as what is and isn't displayed on the map screen, the vehicle information screen, and more. Very handy. When I did break out the manual, I discovered that the "Mono" button syncs the climate control settings across the car. Why they went with "Mono" and not "Sync" like everyone else, I don't know.
While I've found some features I like, I've also discovered a few I'm not so enamored with. The biggest is the Burmester High-End Surround Sound System, a $5690 option. While the sound quality is good, my beef is with the bass tuning. For all its super-high-end programming, the subwoofer is completely out of whack. Certain bass frequencies are, for some reason, amplified while others aren't, leading to overbearing bass on some songs. For example, a song will be playing normally when, suddenly, the bass guitar hits a certain note and that one frequency seems three times louder than any other bass note in the song. It's insanely frustrating to hear and I can't understand why anyone would program the system like this. Worse, you only get bass and treble adjustments, so all you can do is turn the bass way down and listen to tinny-sounding music. Other issues are a bit less infuriating. We cut a Christmas tree the other weekend, only to realize that our car has no roof rails, so in the back of the SUV it went. It's our fault for not ordering the roof rails, but what's frustrating is that I can't go down to my local dealer and have them installed. They're a factory-only option. Apparently, it saves Porsche a few dollars per car.
I'm also a bit less enthusiastic about the hybrid powertrain than I was initially. While I love the "sailing" feature, I've found that the powertrain gets jerky at low speeds when you're on and off the throttle, such as parking lots and gridlocked freeways. We have a lot of those here in L.A. I suspect it's the clutches among the engine, the electric motor, and the transmission being grabby. Luckily, Porsche has a software update out intended to fix this, which I'll have installed soon and report back on.