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Why are my Cayman GTS dashboard lights off when the car is in Auto Headlight mode?

  • 2018
  • 718 Cayman GTS
Electrical and Electronic
New Hampshire

It really appears that for our 718 Cayman GTS there are no instrument panel lights when the daytime running lights are on. I have been driving the car with the headlights set to "Auto" and during daylight hours I can see the instrument cluster but only because there is enough ambient light falling on the cluster. When driving in low-light situations but with the automatic headlights not yet turned on, the dashboard is essentially black except for the digital portions (speed/odometer/multi-function display).  I have also confirmed that the instrument panel lights are on only when either the parking lights or low beams are turned on, or if the Auto mode has turned on the headlights. When the lights are on, the actual brightness of the dashboard is adjusted as the car goes in and out of the shadows.

Rhetorical question:  Why would there be no panel lights on a black instrument panel in a black cockpit? Everything in the manual indicates that the car should automatically adjust panel light brightness based on ambient light. It doesn't say anything about not turning them on at all.  I have read arguments that this is to prevent people from thinking their headlights are on when night falls, thereby preventing them from driving without headlights?  My take on this is that these drivers aren't actually using their automatic headlights. If they were, their headlights would be on. Its really as simple as that.  My second take is that this fails logical questioning as the Porsche instrument panel lights are turned on when your parking lights are on, which would then allow a driver to drive without their headlights on and only parking lights.  The dashboard lights would still be on though.

Now I will ask "why have an Auto headlight mode in your/my Porsche if we still need to fiddle with the headlight switch in order to see the dashboard?" To me that makes no sense. Why have a dashboard we can't see to protect us from forgetting to turn on the headlights when the car is going to turn them on automatically anyway? It's a waste and makes no sense.  

That leads me to my final thoughts:  

To me, the very obvious resolution to this problem is to only NOT turn on the dashboard lights when the headlights are actually turned off.  All other modes (Auto/Parking lights/Low Beams) should have dashboard lights, and those dashboard lights should be controllable for brightness using the dashboard knob.  It would be easy for Porsche to update the software to turn off the dash lights if the headlight switch is turned off. That way, if your headlight switch is turned off, you won't see the dash when it gets dark. However, if in any of the other modes, turn on the dash lights and enable the associated control of same. This is very simple. Why hasn't Porsche done this already?  How do we get this update in place?

I am new to the Porsche family so maybe there are other arguments that I have not yet thought of.  To me, though, this is so obvious that I really can't understand how it can be like this.  Please help me out if I'm missing something.


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