by: Gator Bite
Description: [pic=right]http://michael.souza.home.comcast.net/CaymanClub/speedART/IMG_2919b.jpg[/pic]You should see some of the looks I get when I tell people that I've changed the exhaust system on my two year old Porsche seven times since I bought it. I get responses like, "Isn't that under warranty?" or, "Wow... For such an expensive car you'd think they'd put a quality exhaust system in there." When I tell them that there was nothing wrong with my original system, I start to lose them. "So if there's nothing wrong with it, why did you change it?" That's when I realize that these folks simply won't understand. But you will. If you wouldn't, you probably wouldn't be here reading this review. True sports car enthusiasts understand how the right exhaust system can literally transform a car. Take a fantastic foundation like a Porsche and you transform an already great sports car into an incredibly visceral, spine tingling, hair raising super car. You find yourself rolling down your windows and turning off the stereo just so you can hear more of that beautiful flat 6 wail.... You want to learn to heel/toe downshift just because it sounds so damn cool. Ahhhh..... Welcome to chapter 3 of the Gator Bite Exhaust Test Chronicles. This time we'll be taking a close look at the Export version of the speedART Catback Exhaust System. Why I picked the speedART system:One of the most common questions I get when I test a product is why I chose it. I first became interested in this system at the 2008 Croctoberfest gathering in Atlanta. I had organized and managed the exhaust test comparison. As we were testing and recording different systems, a speedART equipped car rolled through. I couldn't help but notice that it sounded much different than any other system we tested. It had a smooth, tight sound that preserved the original Cayman voice. I'd heard of speedART before but I didn't know much about them. I knew that I wasn't alone and that the name was not well known within the Cayman community. I started to research the German made product and began to uncover many unique characteristics that piqued my interest.If you've spent any time around Porsches, the speedART System will look oddly familiar to you. It looks just like the factory exhaust systems that were installed on 986 Boxsters (1997-2004). It looks like them because it's actually made inside the same shell and with some of the same components. That's a good thing because the shell from that OE part is corrugated T-304 stainless steel. T-304 stainless is fantastic stuff that lasts a long time when used in exhaust applications (it will probably outlast the rest of the car). A corrugated shell achieves superior strength with less material, which translates to weight savings and noise/resonance control. Reduced resonation of the walls also reduces the risk of cracking welds.
1. The fact that installation requires minor modification to the bumper support will worry some folks (see my installation how to, hidden above). I had no problem with the modification and I don't mind cutting a $17 part, so for me this is no big deal but I want to make potential buyers aware of it.2. This system is fantastic. It delivers less drone than any system I've experienced, but it is not totally drone free. The resonance is however VERY controllable and a very minor (if any) adjustments to driving style will eliminate it completely (this will vary with every driving style of course). The engine can be moderately loaded (~ 0-60%) in the drone range (2,200 - 2,800 RPM) before the resonance becomes loud enough to be annoying. Personally, I think the way this system controls drone is more of a strength than a drawback, but it's important for any potential buyer to understand that this system can bring some drone to the party. Interestingly, this system emits a mellow howl during deceleration, in a very narrow range (2,400-2,200). It's not terribly loud, but it's different and takes a little getting used to. It's not loud enough to make you change your driving style, it's just there. After a few weeks, you don't even notice it anymore (or at least I don't). It's important to understand that this drone is a fraction of what most other systems deliver, but it's strange in the fact that it happens off throttle. The others usually happen on throttle. 3. The last drawback sort of breaks my heart because it pertains to one of my favorite parts of the system, the tips. I love the tips. I think they're beautiful and perfectly Porsche in appearance. So what's the drawback? It's really a two part drawback. They're a single wall design. Exhaust gasses are in direct contact with the other side of the tip's outer skin, which means they get very hot. I cover my car and I have to make sure that I let the system cool down before attempting to do so. A momentary contact with a tip right after driving will instantly melt a Noah fabric car cover. That extreme heat also means that the tips will develop that gold stainless steel patina faster than double walled tips would, which brings me to part two. Because the tips are welded to the muffler housing, buffing them is not an easy task. They're nicely spaced allowing you to easily get around and in between them with a rag, so cleaning them with a good liquid metal polish is no problem. But if you melt something to a tip like I did, something that needs more than metal polish, buffing the tips will be tricky.If the speedART genie came to me and said, "Vee can grant you vone vish. Vhich of zeese ssree vould you like changed?" (notice the genie's German accent...), I'd ask him to insulate the inside of the tips. Drawbacks number 1 & 2 are really non existent to me. I believe that #3 is the biggest barrier to me labelling this system 'near perfect'. Summary:There are so many exhaust options for the Porsche 987 that they could literally spin your head. Picking the right system can be a tricky task. There are product offerings all over the volume spectrum, the price spectrum and the power spectrum. Every Porsche owner will have a different set of priorities and goals. It's important to understand those goals when picking the right system. On the aggressive side the decision is difficult because there are many good systems to choose from. On the mild side, the offerings are so limited that the decision is easier. If you're looking for a mildly aggressive system that delivers great power, high quality, nice sound and excellent value, look no further. The speedART is unique and compelling. It sounds so tight, so smooth and preserves the original Porsche voice so nicely. It falls into a quiet submission when driven easily and comes to life very nicely when the 987's power is released. It sounds great without being offensive. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this system for use on a daily driver or for someone that attends sound controlled track events. I always thought that choosing a mild sounding exhaust system meant that one had to sacrifice potential power. Likewise I believed that in order to gain maximum power you needed to sacrifice drive-ability and comfort. The speedART system has proven me wrong. This system packs a powerful punch, right up there with the best of the aggressive systems, yet it delivers that punch without yelling at you. Don't misunderstand me, under wide open throttle this thing sings a relatively loud song, but it's a nice song that politely communicates the exotic nature of the flat six engine without pushing the boundaries of acceptability.If you're looking for power, fit, quality and more of the Cayman's already beautiful voice, I strongly recommend you find a speedART equipped 987 and check it out for yourself. I am very impressed with this system, and I think you will be too.Specifications:
Model Number of Kit Tested: SA.P87.ESD.XXPrice (MSRP): $2,326 (USD)Verified Vehicle Compatibility: All Porsche 987's, 2005-2010 (served by 3 different kits)Test Vehicle Used: 2007 Porsche Cayman S, 23,000 miles, DesnorkedCountry of Origin: GermanyConstruction Material: T-304 Austenitic Stainless SteelWarranty: One year, unlimited mileage.Muffler Design: Straight Through, Multi Chamber, Single Perforated Core Glass PackTip Configuration: Dual 3.75" Round with Perforated Interior CoreDesign Style: Multi Chamber 2 into 1 into Baffled TipsWeight: ~41 lbs (18.5 kg) [7 lbs < stock]Performance Gain: Manufacturer Claim: 11 RWHP. Actual Test Results: 17.9 RWHP / 20.4 BHPInstall Time Required: ~4 hoursInstall Difficulty (1=simple, 10=difficult): 5