How Do You Unlock a 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid?

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.

By David Thomas | July 18, 2011 | Comments (18)



German over-engineering personified.


Same deal on my 2011 VW CC, had it a day or so and notice there was no key slot for the emergency key and had to go back to the dealer and have them show me the process. Must be a German thing !



You might want to take a quick glance at the definition of personified, and then rewrite your sentence.


Attribute a personal nature or human characteristics to (something nonhuman)

I'll leave it how I wrote it.


This was either done to discourage an "icepick" attack on the lock cylinder, or just for sheer aesthetics.


It's just form over function.. It looks better without the exposed key hole..


Every time I think I want a Porsche, something like this post comes up and makes me hesitate.

Good thing you had that key. What would you do if you didn't have it?


Like honestly, I know German cars have great handling, but everytime I read about the electronic gremlins that these German/European vehicles have... I have to wonder... doesn't it take away from the premium experience of owning a VW/Porsche/*insert any German brand here?


Wondering how your experience would have been in the dead of winter, rainstorm, or if you were being chased by some crazed idiot. Definitely form over function.

At least the Germans have a "process". In the IS-F (my previous car) you just popped off the little plastic piece. No special 'insert here' engineered plastic piece. More of a pry here and don't scratch the paint process.

I looked over my shoulder a few times just to make sure I sold the whole "I'm breaking into my own car" look.

Lexus told me to, "park farther away from the key fob to help battery life".

Happy Motoring,

Juan Barnett


Someone needs to offer replacement lock covers with a hole for the key.


I have a 2011 turbo cayenne and now am in my 3rd key after having the exact same problem but mine was even worse as the key would not start the car once inside. Believe it or not the third one they sent me still doesn't open the car I can post a video for anyone who would like to see this. I love the drive of the car, but have had so many problems with it that it's become very frustrating. Guess thats what you get for buying a first year model of a car.

if you loosing this type of key , you can also call this company and they can make a key from scratch.

My 2011 Nissan Altima (nothing close to a cayenne of course) has keyless entry, but thank God I don't have to go thru all that if my "smart key" stops working

sometimes we become mad scientist on how to make things more secure like in this post. When really in order to inconvenience a potential thief, we make it more difficult for ourselves at times.

Nice trick i am a locksmith for a long time and that the first time i see this cool trick thank you for sharing that whit us.


Just happened to me on my GTS, sitting in a suite at Maddison Square Garden good king what the fook to do right now! Thanks for the info will try it out

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