An In-Depth look at the M97 engine (06-08 Cayman S)

An In-Depth look at the M97 engine (06-08 Cayman S)


The M97 engine was an evolution of the 3.4L M96 engine that powered the 911 Carerra in the 996 generation (99-04). Porsche tweaked the engine by adding VarioCam Plus and modified the IMS bearing to a larger single row during the short life in the 987 Cayman S (06-08). This 3.4L engine made 295hp and was ample power to push the Cayman S from 0-60 in 4.8 sec while running through the quarter mile at 13.3 sec @ 106.2 mph. 


Displacement 3387cc (3.4L)
Bore 96mm (3.78in)
Stroke 78mm (3.07in)
Compression Ratio 11.1:1
Max HP 295HP @6250 RPM
Max TQ 215 ft/lb @4400 - 6600 RPM

Four valves per cylinder (two intake, two exhaust) activated by four overhead camshafts with dual profiles and continuous camshaft adjustment (VarioCam Plus)


Variable-length double-chamber manifold, sequential multipoint fuel injection


Integrated Dry Sump


Potential IMS Issues:

The 06-08 Cayman S' still used an IMS design. Although modified from the 996, the bearing still is at risk of failing. The single most important thing you can do to preserve the life of the M97 engine is proper lubrication. We recommend a high quality lubricant like Motul 5W40 8100 X-Cess (100% Synthetic) oil. The guys over at LN Engineering have come up with IMS solutions using ceramic ball bearings and even back it with a warranty! If you plan to keep your Cayman S and drive it like Porsche intended, you should seriously consider this investment. IMS failures are not very common on the 06-08 Cayman relative to the M96 engine in the 996. 

Tracking Your M97?:

Many 987.1 owners enjoy putting their Cayman/Boxster on the track. The high G-forces experienced on the track are prone to causing oil scavenging and aeration. If you plan to track your Cayman/Boxster aggressively or often, we recommend upgrading to an X51 style baffled oil pan. FVD Brombacher offers an affordable solution that also adds a little bit of oil capacity to help keep oil temps down on the track. 

Popular Power Upgrades:

The M97 engine offers a very linear powerband that can be enhanced by a few popular bolt-ons. We've broken the categories out into Intake, Exhaust, and Tuning which provide the best bang for your buck to extract power. Keep in mind, this is a relatively well set-up engine from the factory and being naturally aspirated, the gains might not be as significant as other cars that have larger displacement or forced induction. That being said, there is still a good envelope in which M97 owners can enjoy better power delivery and performance. 


Intakes allow the engine to bring in more air. When mixed with the appropriate amount of fuel, this can create more power. The key to improving the intake on the M97 is enhancing the flow characteristics and air velocity. Two common upgrades are:

EVOMS V-Flow Intake

The EVOMS V-Flow Intake System features an enlarged surface area of the filter and their patented venturi. In combination, this can yield roughly 6-8 more HP from the M97.

There are also some more economical drop-in filters that will proivde a small benefit and increase the induction sound of the M97. 

IPD Competition Plenum

The IPD Competition Plenum includes a 82mm GT3 TB. This paired with headers and tuning can really maximize the air flow of the M97. The increased diameter of the throttle body from 74mm to 82mm coupled with a smooth V split of the air channels enables the M97 to pickup a max of 14HP at higher RPMs. 


Flat 6 Motorsports - Exhaust Catalog

The 987.1 Cayman/Boxster has a few limitations on the exhaust system. The first is the primary catalysts that sit on the header or exhaust manifold flanges. They restrict airflow that leads back to the cat-back section. The second challenge is the cat-back exhaust itself. They 987.1 includes a set of secondary catalysts that are integrated into the muffler housings. These catalysts are passive and there strictly to increase the environmental impact efficiency of the exhaust charge. This rob the Cayman/Boxster of power. The mufflers themselves add baffles and restriction to quiet the exhaust down. It is important to note, that some countries, states and localities have laws restricting the removal of emission control devices. We recommend you do some research if you plan to use aftermarket exhaust components on the street. The 987.1 offers a ton of manufacturer support with headers and cat-back exhaust systems. Some consideration should be made to your legal requirements, sound tolerance, build quality and budget. Flat 6 Motorsports offers the widest range of exhaust parts for the 987.1 Cayman/Boxster.  Popular choices range from Agency Power, Fabspeed, FVD Brombacher, Remus and Soul. One can expect anywhere from a 10-25HP improvement depending on the choice of headers and mufflers. Less restriction will typically lead to higher HP output at high RPMs as the exhaust gasses can move freely out of the engine at a free rate. 


Last but not least is tuning the ECU/DME to enhance timing and air/fuel ratios. We highly recommend tuning if you plan to upgrade the headers but there are even benefits to tuning with any hardware upgrade. Tuning allows for reprogramming many of the tables to enhance performance out of the M97. Tuning can typically yield about 10-15 more HP and ensure the engine is running optimized to any hardware modifications. When it comes to tuning the 987.1 Cayman, no one has tuned more 987.1's than our friends at EVOMS. We offer their suite of tuning solutions for all variants.  

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