Catback Versus Turbo Back Exhaust for a WRX

Date Posted:15 June 2017 

Image of a WRX with installed performance exhaust system, Image by Pro Speed Racing


One of the most common questions that we get a lot here at "Prospeed Racing" is whether to go for a Catback or a full turbo back system when upgrading a vehicle's exhaust system. The question is particularly common among proud owners of the Subaru WRX as most auto enthusiasts consider upgrading the exhaust system as all but mandatory on the said vehicle.
The Short answer? It depends and one is not necessarily superior to the other. It all depends on the results that you are looking to achieve on your vehicle. To determine, which type of performance exhaust system is suitable to your needs, you would do well to learn what you can about how each system works.

What is a Catback exhaust system?

The Catback exhaust is one of the most common performance exhaust upgrades on the market, replacing the entire exhaust pipes from catalytic converter all the way to the muffler. It is a straightforward and cost-effective upgrade ideal for frequently-driven vehicles. Most aftermarket exhaust systems for the WRX come as a bolt-on kit which makes it one of the simplest improvements that you can do on your vehicle.

How does a turbo back exhaust work on a car?

A turbo back exhaust system is a much more expensive and comprehensive set up as you will be replacing almost all of the parts that make up the exhaust system on your WRX. Such components include:

  • Headers
  • Downpipes
  • Catalytic Converters
  • Intermediate Pipes
  • Mufflers
  • Exhaust tips

Considering all of the components that you will need to replace, it is easy to see how turbo back exhaust systems can cost several times more than a Catback setup. Still, if your goal is to make your WRX race-worthy then full turbo back is the way to go as it will help your engine generate more horsepower compared to a Catback system.
Some related questions

What is an Axleback exhaust?

One of the earliest and most affordable designs for auto exhaust systems that focus on simplicity and ease of production. Axleback Exhausts are made up of even fewer components  - the tip, muffler and a small pipe that flows from the mid or intermediate pipe. As a result, it has poor performance compared to a Catback exhaust and usually only found on cheaper lower-end vehicles which are none the least concerned about performance.

What is a downpipe on a car?

A series of pipes that link the 02 unit on the turbo with the catalytic converter. In most cases, you will only find downpipes on turbocharged vehicles as they are an integral part of its forced induction system


Would you like to get started with some of the best deals on aftermarket performance exhaust systems? Perhaps you have a few more questions of your own? We would love to help!  Phone us today on 02 4340 4463.