Stuttgart - German authorities have ordered Porsche to recall 60 000 diesel-engined Macan and Cayenne SUVs across Europe, to correct an illegal 'defeat device'.

The demand was made by Germany's KBA automotive industry authority, which said the software could manipulate the emissions controls for the harmful compound nitrogen oxide. Porsche has confirmed receiving the official documentation.

The vehicles concerned are 6755 Cayenne 4.2 litre V8 TDI models, and 52 831 Macan 3.0 litre V6 TDI derivatives. Both have been certified under the Euro 6 emission standards, the most recent European Union norm.

KBA inspectors found five illegal switch-off devices in the Macan model. These work by ensuring that emissions scrubbing functions properly only in the laboratory, according to Der Spiegel and Bavarian Radio.

In January, Porsche announced that it was working on software updates for the two models, in cooperation with the KBA. The Bild am Sonntag reported at the time that certification for the Macan could be withdrawn.

Last year, the KBA forced the recall of around 21 500 Cayenne V6 diesels, temporarily withdrawing certification. The diesel engines in all the vehicles are made by Audi, as Porsche does not make diesel engines. Both marques are owned by the Volkswagen Group.