How Do You Unlock a 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid?

By David Thomas  on July 18, 2011
After a long day at the office, I rode the elevator to the roof of our parking garage, bag slung over my shoulder, my empty lunch bag on the other, and headed to a brand-new, sparkling white 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid.

If anything was going to soothe me after the 9-to-5, it would be a commute home in the rich interior of this luxury SUV. It also has a really good stereo.

I pulled the key fob out of my pocket — no keyless entry on this $70K ride — and hit the unlock button.

Nothing happened. Hit it again. No luck.

Hey, my 2005 VW Passat takes a few times, too. It’s understandable I guess. Still no luck? The fob’s battery must be dead, right? Nope, the little red light in the key fob is flashing, and I can lock the car with the fob. No trunk, though, so climbing in isn't an option.

Time is passing, and this clearly isn’t going to open. I have to go old-school and use a manual key, which every keyless car has as a backup. But I was surprised at how far I would have to go to use it on the Cayenne.

  • First, you have to pull the little sucker out of the back of the key fob.
  • Then, bend down to find a slat on the bottom of the door handle.

  • Insert the key.
  • This does not unlock the door. It pops off the piece of metal that covers the lock.

  • Remove the tiny key from the piece of metal.
  • Insert it into the lock.
  • Turn it counterclockwise and … it unlocks!

Now, I just have to get the piece of metal back on.

  • Insert the key back into the metal slot.
  • Snap it back on.

This is when the car alarm goes off.

I must have been squeezing the key fob while fumbling with the door and set it off.

Usually, you hit the unlock button on the fob to turn off an alarm … oh boy. Luckily, the garage is pretty empty to hide my embarrassment.

I close my eyes and try the unlock button that led to this whole mess in the first place and … it works. Of course it does.

I discovered the next day while shooting the pictures for this story that if you push down on the metal piece improperly while trying to put it back on, the alarm goes off. But at least the unlock button was in working order.

Update, Aug. 2, 2011: Gary Fong, spokesman for Porsche, contacted us about this story yesterday. He informed us that the Cayenne Hybrid in this post was taken to a dealer to have the key fob inspected. Fong said no defect was found and the key fob worked normally when tested. There also have been no widespread reports about the issue by owners, he said.

The key fob did not work on more than this one occasion during my time with the Cayenne Hybrid. It was not an isolated incident. I was able to unlock it after a few more presses of the button in the other situations. Here it required the manual unlocking process.

The above incident occurred in a crowded downtown Chicago parking garage, and Fong suggested interference may have been an issue. We park every test car in the same garage; from now on, we’ll pay more attention to how easily they can be unlocked.

Porsche Cayenne Porsche

Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David