The main difficulty in quoting power figures for turbocharged vehicles lies in one word: Boost. This is the main determinant of how much power a turbo vehicle makes. And boost is very very easily manipulated. Simply unplugging the vacuum signal hose to the wastegate will instantly cause the boost to shoot up resulting in loads more power, and of course nice brag-able dyno numbers. “But why don’t you just keep the boost constant and stock?” Well unlike NA cars, turbo performance parts work best playing when together. Meaning that a header alone won’t be as efficient when paired with an intake and a downpipe and vice versa.

And tuning is of the utmost importance to extract maximum power, as well as a healthy knowledge of the stock components limitations, meaning turbo size and internals strength.

And so here it is, the SpeedLab Suabru (or any turbo vehicle) Power Package

1. K&N/Cosworth High Flow Intake

First step in modifying a car is always always the intake. With good reason, it’s often the quickest, easiest and least expensive modification. Now as you know there is a K&N drop in filter available but this article is about power and open intakes will always make more power on a turbo vehicle. Do you need to retune after getting an intake? Despite what you have read in the forums, the answer is NO. Quality intakes such as from K&N and Cosworth works just fine without any tuning, because they recognize the fact that not everyone will be able to tune their car, so their products have to work well by themselves.

2. Hotpipes 3” downpipe

After the intake, the next biggest restriction is the exhaust. And in turbo vehicles, that means aft of the turbo. Now there are myriad of downpipes out there and it’s a dizzying choice and the price range is huge. In the simplest of terms, all downpipes are simple stainless steel tubes than funnel exhaust gases. This is one of those it-all-boils-down-to-brand choices. What we offer is the one of the lowest priced but high quality downpipe you can buy. Remember, a pipe’s a pipe.

3. Hotpipes Turbo headers and Up Pipe

Now we actually offer both equal and unequal length headers. There are over a gazillion pages devoted to the debate which is better. I’ll save you the trouble and sift through all of it and tell you to get the unequal length header if you’re still on the stock turbo, because unequal length headers spool up the stock turbo faster and keeps the rumbling Subaru sound.

We would actually prefer you get both downpipe and headers at the same time for one very good reason. It’s to save on labor costs. Because to install either one of these requires you to take apart the same 3 things, the header, the turbo and the downpipe. You’ll be paying twice for what essentially is the same job if you get them separately.

Notice that I didn’t include a catback exhaust. One of the most compelling reasons is simply that 95% of turbo cars that walk into the shop already have one. As long as the piping is 3” in diameter then you’re good.

4. AEM Boost Solenoid

It took us quite a while to figure this one out. Almost all turbo cars have a stock plastic boost control solenoid which is responsible for regulating the boost. Think of it as your finger pinching a garden hose. Squeeze the nozzle and the pressure builds up inside the hose, release the opposite happens. The stock plastic piece is unable to sustain boost levels beyond 1 bar reliably. The sturdier metal construction of the AEM solenoid can handle up to 2 bar without any hiccups.

5. Cosworth High Flow Intake Manifold

Yes its big, extremely sexy and expensive, but it is so very worth it. But a lot of smart engineering went into this piece, from the chamber volume size to the slightly pinched waist in the middle giving it that sexy shape, all designed to maximize airflow into the cylinders. What surprised us most is the low to midrange drastic increase in throttle response. Lightly stab the throttle and the car responds instantly, its total night and day in response. Plus they have used this sucker to flow 800++ whp. Search the internet, there is not one negative thing said about this piece, aside from that its pricey, but hey high quality means a high price like all things. Have you asked your wife/girlfriend how much is a Hermes Birkin bag lately?

6. Unichip

Well what can we say? The reason why it’s called Unichip is because it is the ONLY UNIVERSAL piggyback computer, meaning the same unit works on virtually any car. With the Unichip, we control everything, fuel, timing, boost, additional injectors, nitrous, you name it. Now I’m sure you have seen various reflash tuning solutions using the OBD2 port. While we have nothing against that, but at the end of the day, you won’t be keeping your car forever, and I would like something to take with me that can STILL work for my next car.

Now for the fun part, power numbers. The following below are examples of what you would expect from a full modded and tuned WRX/STI/FXT

So what’s next?

Front Mount Intercooler

Well glad you asked because the road is far from over. Should you want more power (or are preparing) the next step would be a front mount intercooler system. Once again, there are a gazillion pages pro and con, the issue of lag etc etc etc. To which I have a very simple answer. If front mount intercooler systems are not required or useless, then why does the Subaru World Rally Team use one? They’re only making 300 or so horses. The reason is efficiency. Front mounts are vastly superior to top mounts in all aspects. And in this hot hot country of ours, we humans complain when the temperature rises 1.5 degrees. The typical temperature drop when using a front mount is 30-40 degrees! As for lag, well trust us, if it as extreme as everyone makes it out to be we would tell you.

Oh you will need a retune, unless you do this together with a bigger turbo upgrade. Anything beyond the size of stock turbo requires a front mount upgrade, otherwise it’s just going to be a big waste because you will ever fully maximize that big shiny turbo.

“What about a bigger top mount? You know like I see on the internet?”
This is well good and fine IF you live somewhere where it snows. Remember we don’t.

"What's the difference between yours an a bolt on system I can buy online?"
I would say price. Most front mount systems are in the $1000 range and that doesn't include the shipping, taxes, installation and risk that it might not fit properly, oh we have encountered several "bolt on" kits that need modification to fit our local units. Plus with ours, we can engineer what's right for your car and turbo size. Did I mention we can make it any color or finish you want?

So there you have it, our Turbo Subaru Upgrade Program. This guide actually works for almost all turbo vehicles, whether it be a Silvia, any generation of Evo and the turbo Genesis Coupe.

Happy modding!