A Turbo Back Exhaust system on a 991.2 Carrera. Source: Soul Performance Products.
Today’s article is all about Porsche exhaust systems. We’ll be looking at both the factory exhausts and some notable aftermarket options.
Exhausts are an essential feature of a good sports car. A minor detail, some people may think? Not at all. Just like shoes make the man, exhaust systems make the car. The exhaust is what announces to the world that you drive a Porsche. Let us explain.
First and foremost, we have to talk about the “Porsche sound.” Its deep, full, strong, and sporty—the battle cry of a genuine sports car. That rich, velvety growl is a direct result of Porsche’s top-quality exhaust systems. This exhaust note is, quite simply, synonymous with the brand itself.
Porsche puts serious time and effort into crafting the ideal, pitch-perfect exhaust note because they know how integral that sound is to their brand. Flatsixes has even compiled a list of the great Porsche exhaust sounds, along with videos.
But where does this automotive siren song come from?
Seen here is Porsche’s acoustic camera, used to identify sources of sound and visualize the different layers of sound. Source: Porsche.
Porsche approaches their exhaust tone with the ear of a master luthier. Hidden deep within the Weissach R&D Centre is a sound studio where Dr. Bernhard Pfäfflin conducts his auto-acoustical research. (We just made that term up, but it fits, right?) In their sound room, Dr. Pfäfflin and his team record sources of noise without reflections and isolate the sounds coming from the car using their acoustical camera. They mix and produce the sounds digitally—just like a record studio would—and then sculpt the perfect tone for each Porsche they work with. They do all this without increasing weight or hindering the car’s performance in any way.
Dr. Pfäfflin in his office. Source: Porsche
The real trick, as the good doctor emphasized, is to make the cars quieter on the outside and toneful on the inside. The owner of the car will, ideally, be inside the car when it’s moving. The interior sound is what really matters, and that’s what the Porsche sound studio is dedicated to perfecting.
The physics here actually dates back to the 19th-century German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz. Helmholtz devised the mathematical formulae for characterizing how sound waves are interpreted by the human ear as musical notes.
The physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, seen here looking very German. Source: Wikipedia.
Dr. Pfäfflin’s team uses a Helmholtz resonator to unspool threads of sound, identify their multiple frequencies, and weave the perfect acoustical fabric that is unique to each vehicle while also being distinctly “Porsche.”
Porsche Tequipment Sports Exhaust Systems
We can’t begin to talk about Porsche exhausts without at least mentioning their Tequipment line. Tequipment refers to a full range of Porsche model-specific accessories designed to customize a Porsche to each driver’s individual needs and tastes.
The Tequipment Sports Exhaust System is the result of thousands of hours of research at Porsche’s Weissach Development Centre. Automotive acousticians (it’s a real job) carefully calibrate the sound based on various layouts of exhaust systems and silencers. The sound is then examined both in the laboratory (with specialized noise-measuring tracks) and on the road. Engineers decide upon a sound and work backwards to design the specifications of the exhaust system. Perhaps most impressive of all, they achieve all this while adhering to admissions guidelines.
Pictured here is a Porsche Tequipment Sports Exhaust System for a Cayenne. The asking price? A cool $3,777.09. That extra nine cents seems a bit unnecessary, if you ask us. Source: VividRacing.
The end result is the Tequipment Sports Exhaust System, which is comprised of two catalytic converters and a rear silencer. This leads into two parallel tailpipes that generate excellent resonance and produce that sweet, sports car sound.
And here’s a Sports Exhaust System for Cayenne E2 II. It features a modified main muffler and tailpipes with a unique design and high-gloss chrome finish. Source: Porsche.
Maybe the coolest part of all is that the “sports exhaust system” can be activated by the touch of a button. It’s located in the control panel in the center console; we call it “the goosebumps button,” for obvious reasons. You can also call it the “sport sound button” or just “the button” if you want to be dramatic.
Anyway, this button will apply the exhaust flaps, which in turn will redirect the sound of the engine through the interior—like a sports car. The signature sporty sound will roar out. But if you’re the modest type, just hit the button again and switch back to ‘normal’ exhaust mode anytime.
This is perhaps the most distinctive tailpipe of all. Seen here is the Porsche Tequipment Sports Exhaust System for Panamera/4. Source: VividRacing.
You can search Tequipment exhaust systems for your Porsche here.
Some of the Best Aftermarket Exhausts
If you want to mix things up a bit, there are plenty of great aftermarket exhausts to choose from. While some people prefer that signature Porsche wild-mercury sound, others may prefer the many weird and wonderful options these aftermarket systems have to offer. They have their own distinctive qualities and are definitely worth looking into.
Consider, for example, House Automotive, an independent Porsche service. House specializes in top-quality exhaust upgrades and offers their Performance Package designed for all 997.2 Carrera S and Carrera GTS from 2009 onwards. They partner with SharkWerks, Evolution Motorsport, Dundon Motorsport, and others to provide some of the best aftermarket Porsche exhausts on the market.
The full Performance Package includes:
- A full exhaust upgrade for 997.2 Carrera S and GTS.
- Maxflo mufflers with either polished or black chrome tips. The mufflers save 8 lbs. from the rear of the car and increase both performance and sound.
- X-Pipe primary bypass, which acts as a direct replacement of the factory muffler and saves about 6.4 lbs. while enhancing (according to House) the sports car sound.
- A 14-16 gauge and T304 stainless steel C.N.C. mandrel bent for optimum flow and durability
- Sport headers
- A high-performance, carbon-fiber air intake system with dual-conical filters.
- A full ECU upgrade, to tune your car’s performance to perfection.
- No Check Engine Light (CEL) included. Huh, that’s weird.
They do all this without voiding your warranty, and with a total weight savings of 16.4 lbs. Now that’s service.
Of particular note is that House offers the Soul Performance high-flow catalytic converters. These are ideal for the 911.2 Carrera.
Source: Soul Performance.
These puppies will let you upgrade from the somewhat restrictive factory catalysts to premium converters built around HJS HD 200-cell catalysts. “Generally, on the turbo motors we recommend that our customers upgrade to the Soul Performance high-flow cats” said Greg Hwang from House Auto. They “give more power, and the turbo noises [are] are enhanced,” and allow for better performance overall. These will fit all Porsche 991.2 Carrera vehicles with Porsche Sport Exhaust / PSE (2017-2019) and provide max gains of 14 HP while offering 15 lb-ft of torque.
Fabspeed is a producer of precision-crafted aftermarket parts including a full exhaust system.
For example, if you drive a 2018 911 Turbo, you could check out the IPD Plenum & Y-Pipe Upgrades for Porsche 991.2 Turbo.
This intake will “help force more air into the engine while adding about 100 HP and a great sound,” according to the performance experts from Fabspeed. The damage? Anywhere from $950.95 to $2,245.95. Source: Fabspeed.
This is a high-performance intake plenum that provides considerable power increases by boosting the efficiency and flow of the engine’s air intake system.
For the 911.2 Twin Turbo, you could also check out the Valvetronic Supersport X-Pipe Exhaust System (for 2017 models and later).
The Valvetronic Supersport X-Pipe Exhaust System is purported to produce a better tone than even Porsche’s factory exhaust systems. Just be aware that this transcendental tone will set you back a cool $4,895.95–$5,495.95. Source: Fabspeed.
With duel-exhaust tones and by removing the weighty factory mufflers and catalytic converters, this exhaust system claims (perhaps heretically) to even top the factory exhaust’s luxurious tone. “The exhaust note [of the factory exhaust] is far too sedate to be representative of a proper sports car,” Fabspeed claims. “It was our mission to develop an exhaust system that was capable of retaining a valved system for the ultimate balance between street, and track exhaust tones.” This system is compatible with any 991TT/ 991.2 TT Porsche models.
TechArt sport exhaust systems are available for nearly every Porsche model. They offer a wide variety of sport exhaust systems and silencers to meet different individual sonic tastes. The valve-controlled sport exhaust systems deftly control and adjust the sound according to the driver’s individual preferences. Of particular note are TechArt’s tailpipes, which come in gloss chrome, black chrome, or stainless steel. If you have a 911 Carrera S, Carrera 4S or Targa 4S, or any 911 GTS models, TechArt also provides a sport exhaust system with two central tailpipes.
Depending on the Porsche model, these sport exhaust systems are also compatible with the series tailpipes. They can also be combined with TechArt sport tailpipes, which are made of titanium, carbon or stainless steel.