How The VW Diesel Emissions Scandal Affects Porsche Owners

Posted on
Scott McCracken
#exhaust-system #recall
Emissions smog coming from a tailpipe

Volkswagen – parent company of both Audi and Porsche – admitted to using a "defeat device" on some of its diesel engines in order to get around tight US emissions standards.

This is a big deal for a number of reasons, but two that quickly come to mind are 1) the automaker had the cojones to advertise these cars as "clean diesels" and 2) because of the success of that campaign they owned 70% of the US passenger-car diesel market[1].

How They Did It

The Environmental Protection Agency added some strict emissions standards in 2008 that left automakers with one choice – sacrifice power and performance in the name of emissions. From

"To meet the new regulations, many car companies started adding tanks of a urea-based solution – known as AdBlue – to their vehicles. Thanks the magic of chemistry, the ammonia in AdBlue helps the catalytic converter take nasty gasses like nitrous oxide (NOx) and convert them into nitrogen and water."

VW skipped the urea-based solution (AdBlue) in their Cayenne diesel, but managed to maintain fuel economy and power. It felt like a miracle. As we know now, it wasn't.

"_Software running in the car’s engine control module (ECM) monitors the car’s steering wheel position, speed, duration of engine operation and barometric pressure. This “defeat device” then uses those factors to determine when the car is being driven normally (aka “drive mode”) and when it was being inspected for emissions output (aka “cheat mode”).

While in “cheat mode,” the software activates equipment to reduce the car’s emissions levels. As soon as testing is over, it’s back to dirty driving._"

The end result was a car that tested for 40x less NOx emissions than it was actually putting out in the real-world.

Which Vehicles Have Defeat Devices?

Only one Porsche model has the defeat device, here's the whole list.

  • 2013–2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel 3.0L V-6
  • 2009–2015 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L TDI
  • 2010–2015 Volkswagen Golf 2.0L TDI
  • 2010–2015 Audi A3 2.0L TDI
  • 2012–2015 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0L TDI
  • 2012–2015 Volkswagen Passat 2.0L TDI
  • 2009–2015 Audi Q7 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2009–2016 Volkswagen Touareg 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi A6 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi A7 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi A8/A8L 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi Q5 3.0L V-6 TDI

Settlement Information for 3-Liter Porsche Diesels

The settlements were split into incentive packages for 2-liter and 3-liter diesel owners.

On December 21, 2016, VW reached a settlement with 83,000 owners and lessees of 3.0-liter diesel models.

"Under the proposed 3-liter diesel agreement, Volkswagen will be allowed to recall more than 75 percent of the illegal vehicles to fix them and bring them into compliance with emissions laws. The settlement agreement could mean another $1 billion loss for VW, adding to the $15 billion to be paid for illegal 2-liter vehicles.

Then in early February of 2017, additional settlement details were released.

While Cayenne TDI owners won't have a buy-back option, they will all get a government-approved fix that VW says won't affect performance. But that's not all they're getting:

"Once the repairs are approved, owners and lessees will keep their vehicles and each receive compensation ranging from $8,539 to $17,614. Former owners of the newer cars will each receive $4,269 to $8,807 in compensation."

Even people who don't own a Cayenne Diesel anymore may be eligible for a good chunk of cash. And for people leasing, they'll be getting a check and the option to terminate their lease early.

The registration deadline to be eligible for the buyback in March 31, 2019.

When Will VW Fix My Car?

Owners who are part of the recall will receive a cash payment as compensation. Details on that are pending.

Eventually, the Cayenne Diesel will need to be recalled and fixed to meet EPA regulations. Generation 2 engines will be formally recalled at some point and will most likely receive a software update.

  1. From "Everything You Need to Know about the VW Diesel-Emissions Scandal" by ↩︎

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Porsche generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

Further Reading

A timeline of stories related to this problem. We try to boil these stories down to the most important bits so you can quickly see where things stand. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts for your vehicle over at

  1. Porsche has decided to drop diesel engines from their future models and I have a pretty good idea why.

    CEO Oliver Blume told German media that diesel technology has a place in transportation, but the automaker has went through too much even though Porsche didn't begin using diesel engines until about 10 years ago.

    Instead, Porsche plans to invest billions of dollars into electric and make half their fleet at least partial-EV by 2025.

    keep reading article "Porsche Bails on Diesel Market After Dieselgate Beating"
  2. The government has released new settlement details for 83,000 owners of 3.0-liter TDI diesels, and it varies based on if you're driving a Porsche, Audi, or VW.

    While some Touareg and Q7 owners will be eligible for buyback options, owners and lessees of 2013-2016 vehicles will be getting a fix that VW says won't affect the performance of their cars. But that's not all they're getting:

    "Once the repairs are approved, owners and lessees will keep their vehicles and each receive compensation ranging from $8,539 to $17,614. Former owners of the newer cars will each receive $4,269 to $8,807 in compensation."

    Hot dang, even if you don't even own a Porsche Cayenne TDI anymore you may be eligible for significant financial payout. And if you're leasing one, you'll soon be getting a check and the option to get out of your lease early. There's more details on

    keep reading article "New Settlement Details for 3.0L Cayenne Diesel Owners"
  3. A settlement has been reached for about 83,000 owners of 3-liter TDI vehicles with v6 diesel engines. This will affect any owner of a 2013-2016 Porsche Cayenne diesel.

    There are still some details to be ironed out and the agreement won't be final until it's approved by the court.

    "VW has agreed to recall about 63,000 model year 2013-2016 Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen 3-liter V6 vehicles to fix the emissions systems, dependent on if regulators approve the recall modifications. If the automaker cannot fix the vehicles, a buyback offer will be made and leases will be terminated."

    keep reading article "3-liter Diesel Settlement Reached"

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA