The differential update in the last issue was both silent and invisible once installed, this month we are going to the other extreme and it comes in the form of an AWE Tuning exhaust system.
AWE Tuning have an incredible reputation for quality when it comes to exhaust systems and the Pennsylvanian outfit have a particular flair for sound engineering. When choosing the right exhaust system for my project there were a couple of factors for me to balance. First and foremost the system had to unlock more power, it had to rival or surpass Porsche build quality and sound quality and fall within budget constraints. Many manufacturers from the UK and abroad build systems for the 987 Cayman, all quoting very similar power gains with similar build quality and comparable price. It seemed that the only thing separating them was the sound emitted, so this became quite an important factor in deciding which way to go.
Punching various brand names into YouTube revealed a wide range of sounds. From raspy shrieks to low and booming resonance, nothing seemed to hit the mark and moved the tone way away from the Porsche flat 6 I had come to love. At this point I had considered sticking with my factory Porsche Sports Exhaust and suffering the power deficit to retain the fantastic exhaust note, that was until I found AWE Tuning’s offering.
Posted all the way back in 2009, AWE Tuning’s YouTube video shows a red 987 hurtling along a US back road with a glorious uncorked flat 6 sound, not unlike Carrera Cup cars I had heard in the past. This got me seriously excited. Upon further investigation I found the system also offers a drone free motorway tone and carried the promise of being as quiet as the stock PSE on startup and idle. Absolutely ideal, this was music to my ears – quite literally.
Luckily for me Regal Autosport is the UK importer for AWE Tuning and have been for over 10 years. A quick email to Regal confirmed they had a touring spec system with black chrome tips in stock and a date was set for the install. The system itself is a work of art; hand built from top to toe at AWE Tuning’s PA facility it feels every inch a luxury, feel-good purchase. Exactly what I was looking for.
The original PSE didn’t want to leave the Cayman without a fight and Regal did a great job of carefully dissecting the original pipework so I could resell the original system. With that out the way they could get to work fitting up the mirror-finished AWE boxes. Each AWE system comes with a huge range of adjustment so the fitment can be tailored to individual taste and after initial warm up and cool down it can be adjusted for perfect centering.
When viewing the system on the shop floor it’s easy to see why the AWE Tuning system differs in sound quality from the other systems out there, by using two straight through resonance chambers with a full size balance pipe the AWE Touring system irons out the pops, bangs and burbles that can occur when an engine is uncorked. The result is a fantastic full-bodied roar under acceleration, it’s the kind of sound that Porsche engineers would have wanted the 987 to make but kill joy bureaucrats would never allow.
Living with the system has been a joy since install, around town and on the motorway it’s actually quieter than the factory PSE with the valves shut. It’s really hard to believe and something I was concerned about when moving away from a valved system to one without. Thankfully I need not have worried; the AWE tuning exhaust system combines a glorious full throttle howl with mild manners elsewhere in the rev range. To say I’m a happy customer would be a serious understatement, every journey is an absolute pleasure to the ears and it gives the car a serious ‘bigger Porsche’ presence.