A Porsche 997 Exhaust is one of the first major modifications that you do to the Porsche Carrera or Turbo vehicle. Coming stock from the factory, the Porsche sports coupe is actually very quiet. The rev of the engine does not give any distinct noise like a Ferrari would. So getting an aftermarket exhaust system on the car will not only improve your performance but also increase your driving enjoyment. The 997 Exhaust for the Turbo and the Carrera are completely different system. Starting with the Carrera from 2005-2008, you have a system similar to the previous 996. The exhaust comes out of the headers, crosses over to the other side via a catalytic converter, and then goes into a muffler which exits out a tip. This is the same on both side so the cat pipes cross over each other. This makes the exhaust system divided up into 4 parts. You have the exhaust headers, catalytic converter pipes, mufflers, and tips. The usual upgrade is to do the mufflers and tips only. When you upgrade the catalytic converter pipes to something that is more free flowing, you take the chance of losing low end torque and giving the car a very loud sound.
On the Porsche 997.2 Carrera exhaust from 2009-2011, this exhaust system is very different. It has a 2 side mufflers, headers, and then a center muffler. The catalytic converters are built into the headers and the center muffler splits the exhaust gases from either bank as it goes into the side mufflers and then out the tips. Popular upgrade for the 997.2 carrera is to replace the center muffler with straight pipes to reduce weight and improve sound. The side mufflers can also be upgraded as well. Agency Power sells a full exhaust system that replaces the center muffler and side mufflers to a less restrictive better sound system.
The 997 Turbo exhaust is a different animal. Because the 997 has twin turbos, getting a free flowing exhaust can yield huge power gains. The headers come out of the engine and connect to the turbochargers. Then out of the exhaust side of the turbos are catalytic converters to a muffler which does a U turn and out tips. On the 997.1 Turbo from 2007-2009, the exhaust is 1 piece. On the 997.2 Turbo and Turbo S, the cats and muffler are 2 pieces so you can independently change the parts and keep the stock muffler or stock cats if you chose. For both cars, most go with a high flow cat free flow style muffer. A turbo car really does not need back pressure. There are 2 types of exhaust systems for the turbo vehicles. The first type is like the OEM where the exhaust comes out of the catalytic converters and then U turns to go out the tips. The other type is a X pipe design where the exhaust gas cross over from 1 bank to the other. This gives a unique sound and helps free up the direction of exhaust flow.
The most important selection of an exhaust is going to be based on experience and hearing other systems. What may be loud to one person can be quiet to another. At Vivid Racing having sold many different systems and personally used them on 997 vehicles, we can help in the selection of an exhaust tailored to your liking.