Best Exhaust Systems for Subaru WRX

As you already know, an exhaust system is not just a muffler but a complex system with several elements each of which must be carefully selected based on specific parameters of a particular engine.

The exhaust manifold, which connects to the engine, is the starting point for all exhaust systems. The manifold is followed by one or more catalytic converters (catalysts), then goes a corrugated pipe which is followed by a resonator (can be several units, as well), and the muffler itself at the very end.

A List of High-End Exhausts for Subaru WRX

ImageProduct 
Best Sounding Systems For Subaru WRX
Borla 140595 review
Borla 140595
  • Durability
  • Excellent deep aggressive sound
  • Made in the USA
  • Hardware included
  • Legal in all the US states

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Best Invidia Exhaust Systems for Subaru WRX
Invidia HS15STIG3T review
Invidia HS15STIG3T
  • High-quality SUS304 stainless steel
  • CNC-machined flanges
  • Robot TIG welding
  • Double-wall, rolled, Titanium quad tips
  • Flat bottom-shaped muffler design

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Best Budget Exhaust Systems
CNT Racing HD-9712-A review
CNT Racing HD-9712-A
  • No droning
  • Great deep sound
  • Perfect sound
  • Easy installation
  • Boosted performance

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Also Great
Invidia HS15STIG3S review
Invidia HS15STIG3S
  • SS304 Stainless Steel piping
  • Reduced crack/break risk
  • Reduced rasp and vibration
  • Optimized sound and exhaust flow
  • Perfect fit and uniform durability

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Best Exhaust Systems for Subaru WRX
SRS-AXB-SUB1114-4" review
SRS-AXB-SUB1114-4"
  • Perfect sound quality
  • Throaty and deep acceleration sound
  • Silent when driving in the highway
  • All T-304 stainless steel design
  • Mandrel-bent tubing

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Best Exhaust Kit for Subaru WRX
Rev9 CB-014 review
Rev9 CB-014
  • T-201 stainless steel construction
  • Deep, rich performance sound
  • Minimal flow restriction
  • Easy installation (around 15 minutes)
  • Installation hardware included

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Best Value
REMARK RO-TSVA-D review
REMARK RO-TSVA-D
  • High-quality hand welding
  • Optimal weight reduction
  • Direct bolt-on easy installation
  • Louder than other deletes on the market
  • Intense cold starts

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Perfect fit for the OEM mid-pipe at the "Y"
Nameless Performance RSPD034 review
Nameless Performance RSPD034
  • Quad Tip exit
  • T-304 stainless steel materials
  • TIG-welded
  • Laser-cut flanges
  • Exhaust hangers welded on the OEM locations for an accurate fit and easy installation

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If you simply need to replace your factory exhaust system with a great new one, we have something to offer below. Check out the list of high-quality affordable exhaust systems to replace the factory one on your Subaru WRX.

Review of Top-Rated Exhaust Systems for Subaru WRX

1. BORLA 140595 – Best Exhaust for Subaru WRX

The Borla’s S-type Cat-Back exhaust system has proved to be one of the best sounding systems for Subaru WRX.

It comes with 2 stainless steel mufflers to avoid any droning in the freeway and 4 polished steel tips made with patented straight-through and multi-core technology to release hidden horsepower, throttle response, and torque as well as produce a more aggressive sound and higher flow of your Subaru WRX.

Increased exhaust velocity adds power, fuel economy, driving excitement. The distinctive Borla Sound of massive power is respected by car enthusiasts around the world.

Compared to the factory exhaust, the 3″ 140595 for 15-20 WRX / WRX STI is stronger, more durable, and lighter. Each Borla’s system is built from premium T-304 austenitic stainless steel, to provide ultimate performance and durability. The smoothest mandrel bends ensure maximum flow and power, and precision computer-controlled CNC manufacturing ensures an accurate fit.

Plus, it comes with everything you may need for easy installation. Overall, this system is what you’d expect from the world-famous exhaust brand.

Specifications

  • Cat-Back exhaust system
  • Exit location – split rear
  • Tailpipe diameter – 2.25″
  • Tip outlet size – 3.5″
  • Intermediate pipe diameter – 3″
  • 2 Turbo stainless steel mufflers
  • 4 polished stainless steel tips
  • Tip size – 3.5″
  • Tip type – dual round rolled angle-cut long
  • Dual split rear exit
  • Material – T-304 stainless steel
  • Weight – 38 lbs
  • Shipping box size – 11″ x 29″ x 45″

Features

  • Durability
  • Excellent deep aggressive sound
  • Made in the USA
  • Hardware included
  • Legal in all the US states

2. Invidia HS15STIG3T – Best for 2016 SubaruWRX Exhaust

If you are looking for a full-sized durable exhaust system, we have something you might like. This one is produced by Invidia. The Q300 exhaust features a flat bottom-shaped muffler design resulting in better aerodynamic performance. Then you also have four stylish double-wall, rolled, Titanium quad tips “dressed” in sleek blue outfits on the edges.

Two mufflers add continuous piping design. Made of Advantex material, they provide an excellent gas flow with optimized back pressure, gaining better HP, torque, and throttle response. The sound of this exhaust system is truly rich and deep, adding racing vibes to your Subaru WRX.

The SUS304 mandrel bent polished stainless steel piping features state of the art CNC-machined flanges as well as machined TIG welding, providing the Invidia Q300 Exhaust with outstanding durability and appearance.

Specifications

  • Pipe size – 3″
  • Tip size – 4.3″
  • Fits 2015-Up Subaru WRX/STI 4 Door

Features

  • High-quality SUS304 stainless steel
  • CNC-machined flanges
  • Robot TIG welding
  • Double-wall, rolled, Titanium quad tips
  • Flat bottom-shaped muffler design
  • Aerodynamic performance
  • Increased HP, torque gains, and throttle response
  • Rich, deep, racing sound

3. CNT Racing HD-9712-A – Best for 2015-17 Subaru WRX/STi

This one has a really nice sleek finish. Check out those blue tips for the perfect fit. Aren’t they looking fresh? The sound of this system is much louder than the factory one (especially on cold starts), however, no droning can be heard when driving on the highway. You can check various videos on YouTube to hear that thrilling sound yourself.

That’s how you know you are looking at the right product. Expect no rusting! Being a simple Axle-Back, this exhaust system is just a gift for a truly low price! The installation process is a snap and takes only around 20 minutes or less. Buy this system if you want to make a hell of a difference to your Subaru WRX!

Specifications

  • 2.5″ Stainless steel Piping
  • Gaskets included
  • Quad 3.5″ Double Wall blue tips

Features

  • Stylish blue tips
  • No droning
  • Great deep sound
  • Perfect sound
  • Easy installation
  • Boosted performance
  • Low price

4. Invidia HS15STIG3S – Best Invidia exhaust for WRX

And here we have another high-quality unit from Invidia. The HS15STIG3S exhaust system is simply a perfect alternative to other power-boosting enhancements. It features a large 4.3″ stainless-steel bell mount to boost your WRX’s power by freeing excess gas. Invidia exhaust systems are designed for primarily dual exhaust vehicles.

Most of their Cat-Back exhausts are available in three tip types which are rolled stainless steel, rolled titanium, and straight titanium tips. And as with all Invidia exhausts, the Invidia HS15STIG3S exhaust system combine high-end quality, design, and performance.

The Invidia HS15STIG3S fully-polished exhaust system is constructed with high-quality mandrel-bent SUS304 stainless steel tubing. Besides, it is also CNC-machined and manufactured using robot-TIG welding for ultimate productivity and reduced emissions.

The Invidia HS15STIG3S muffler is designed with a focus on providing a deep, balanced, and not deadly loud exhaust sound. The Cat-Back design replaces all the piping under your Subaru WRX beyond the catalytic converter.

Specifications

  • Tip size – 4.3″ (110mm)
  • Piping Size – 3″ (76mm)

Features

  • SS304 Stainless Steel piping
  • Reduced crack/break risk
  • Reduced rasp and vibration
  • Tuned mufflers
  • Optimized sound and exhaust flow
  • Cast flanges
  • Perfect fit and uniform durability
  • Machine welded for a fantastic appearance
  • QUAD straight-cut Titanium colored tips

5. SRS-AXB-SUB1114-4″ – Best Exhaust for 2011-2014 Subaru WRX/STI

SR*S Axleback exhausts are fully made with T-304 stainless steel, CNC-machined flanges, and mandrel bent with a polished finish for the best possible appearance and maximum performance. This particular Japanese-design system is designed specifically for 04-11 Subaru Impreza WRX/STI to provide perfect sound quality and throaty, deep acceleration sound.

Still, it is quiet enough when driving on the highway. All of SR*S’s exhaust systems are built to last for years. And all of them have a smooth and clean sound. SR*S single exhausts models are 2.38″ piping, 2.25″ inlet, and a 4.5″ tip for most models. No welding required – a perfect fit is provided by direct bolt-on, easy installation.

Specifications

  • 2.38″ piping
  • 2.25″ inlet
  • Material – T-304 stainless steel
  • Weight – 18.5 lbs

Features

  • Perfect sound quality
  • Throaty and deep acceleration sound
  • Silent when driving in the highway
  • Crafted specifically for 2011-2014 Subaru WRX/STI
  • All T-304 stainless steel design
  • Mandrel-bent tubing
  • Sleek Japanese design
  • Direct bolt-on easy installation

For every car enthusiast, a vehicle is something that requires constant care and improvement. Standard appearance and lack of tuning are for those who need a car as a mere means of transportation and nothing else. A true automotive aesthete strives to reveal more new aspects of his/her “iron beast”, trying to increase power, improve performance, or add external appeal.


6. Rev9 CB-014 – Best exhaust for WRX

Rev9 CB-014 exhaust system is all about giving you the best in terms of race-proven performance as well as minimal flow restriction. Made of T-201 stainless steel (similar quality as T-304) for long-lasting corrosion protection, the system features double-wall exhaust tips for an elegant racing appearance.

The installation will only take you around 15 minutes because the exhaust kit comes with all the necessary hardware you may need. You can choose from sports muffler or straight pipe for that awesome performance sports exhaust sound!

Features

  • T-201 stainless steel construction
  • Deep, rich performance sound
  • Minimal flow restriction
  • Easy installation (around 15 minutes)

7. REMARK RO-TSVA-D – Best Sounding WRX Exhaust

If you are still thinking about getting a reliable exhaust system and can’t decide on a certain model. Maybe you simply needed to check out this position. The Remark Axle-Back provides a fast, clean, and low-cost 2.5″ 16-gauge, mandrel-bent T-304 stainless steel solution to modify and reduce the weight of your 15-20 WRX/STI today.

The handcrafted system comes with four slant-style 3.5″ quad tips and features high-quality hand welding. You have all the gaskets and bolts for easy (factory OEM-styled exhaust hanger rod construction) and fast bolt-on installation. You have 4 performance hanger bushings as well as license plate frame included.

Besides, there’s also a variety of tip options available on a manufacturer’s website. You will surely feel those intense cold starts with your chest using this exhaust system from Remark. Give your engine vocal cords that it needs!

Specifications

  • 4 3.5″ quad tips
  • 2.5″ 16-gauge, mandrel-bent T-304 stainless steel piping
  • Weight – 18 lbs
  • Sold in pairs
  • Remark performance hanger bushings included (4)
  • Remark license plate frame included
  • All hardware included
  • Slant style tips

Features

  • High-quality hand welding
  • Optimal weight reduction
  • Direct bolt-on easy installation
  • Louder than other deletes on the market
  • Intense cold starts
  • Neat finish and perfect rumble

8. Nameless Performance RSPD034 – Best Subaru WRX STI Exhaust

The Nameless Performance’s AxleBack Exhaust is a factory replacement and a perfect fit for the OEM mid-pipe at the “Y.” You can remove your two baffled factory mufflers and replace them with a pair of these mandrel-bent, TIG-welded, T-304 stainless steel pipes.

They come with 3” quad double wall polished tips to boost your vehicle performance, improve the appearance, and make the tone deeper and louder.

Factory fit laser-cut flanges and 2″ dual piping has equivalent flow parameters of a 3″ single straight pipe, providing excellent “breathing” characteristics for high-end HP and an increase in low-end torque (roughly 10hp/11ft lb at the wheels).

Fits 2015-2018 WRX with OEM or OEM fitment (Nameless Performance) mid-pipe, not compatible with the STI (SPT) dealer-installed mid-pipe. This axle-back comes with exhaust hangers and all the necessary hardware for easy installation.

Specifications

  • T304 Stainless Steel
  • Quad Staggered 3″ Double Wall Polished Tips
  • Installation Hardware Included
  • Bolt-in to factory mid-pipe

Features

  • Quad Tip exit
  • T-304 stainless steel materials
  • TIG-welded
  • Laser-cut flanges
  • Exhaust hangers welded on the OEM locations for an accurate fit and easy installation
  • Hardware included

Best WRX Exhausts – Buyer’s Guide

Each unit of the exhaust system is responsible for performing its function while working in conjunction with others.

To make it simple, the collector pipe absorbs all exhaust gases from the engine crankcase into one pipe, the catalyst preliminarily removes them from harmful elements by means of chemical reactions, the resonator equalizes the pressure of exhaust gas flows, cools down their temperature, and muffles them a little, and the muffler finally corrects the sound of the exhaust.

Obviously, if you need a sporty straight-flow exhaust system in your vehicle, then there is a sense to replace each of the parts with their sporty analogs. Thus, the regular collector pipe, catalyst, resonator, and muffler are replaced by their racing straight-flow alternatives or more tech-advanced models.

If you do not want to squeeze out the maximum horsepower from your engine, and just need to add some sound and spectacular bass to the exhaust system, it will be enough to replace the muffler with a straight-flow unit.

If you decide to do the tuning on your own, the following information may be of help.

To make the sound of the exhaust lower and quieter, you need to install a muffler in the system. However, make sure that the muffler does not “choke” the piping during acceleration.

Make the muffler controllable, i.e. two-mode. You can even install a can with a camera system instead of a sports muffler. It will act as the main muffler, making the sound of the exhaust as quiet as possible. When connecting the muffler to the main exhaust line, install a controlled electric flap with a servo drive.

When closed, the flap will cut off the exhaust gas flow and direct it to the muffler. When open, the exhaust will run through with minimal resistance, i.e. to the exhaust outlet to the silencer, i.e. unobstructed.

In general, this version of exhaust tuning on the Subaru muffler is very convenient. You can warm up, ride through sleeping areas or covered parking lots, and pass by traffic control posts with a quiet exhaust, in a “Closed” mode (the flap is closed), without attracting attention.

If you want to accelerate, boost on start, or just give it a little boost on the track or in a company – use an “Open” mode (flap open).

Switching between modes is very simple. To open the flap, just press the “Open” button on the remote control of the electric flap, and you are instantly on the “evil” and sports exhaust. To return to the quiet exhaust, just press the “Close” button on the remote control. Everything is simple and convenient.

As you can see, a controlled muffler is a very comfortable and reliable unit. Maybe you will think about upgrading your Subaru WRX with one. Maybe you will not. Anyway, we are here just to let you know about the idea.

Catalytic Converter

An exhaust system is responsible for ensuring that the exhaust gases, connected in a single stream, leave the vehicle as quickly as possible, without any leakage. The system consists of several elements, one of which is a catalytic converter. The proper serviceability of this unit depends directly on how the exhaust gases will be “sent” to the environment.

The main functions of the catalytic converter are the following:

  • Reducing the amount of carbon monoxide in the exhaust gases;
  • Reduction of hydrocarbons in exhaust gases;
  • Reduction or complete removal of nitrogen oxides from the exhaust gases.

The process of reducing exhaust gas toxicity will be most effective provided that the fuel-oxygen ratio is stoichiometric. If carbon monoxide is not removed from the exhaust to the maximum extent possible, these CO gases, which has neither color nor odor, will be emitted into the air, resulting in fatal consequences if inhaled for a long time.

FYI, situations, when drivers got poisoned by carbon monoxide in their vehicle with a faulty exhaust system, are still common today.

Another danger that the catalyst is fighting is hydrocarbons which are a major component of smog that has long stopped to be a “landmark” of the Foggy Albion. In turn, nitrogen oxides are not only a component of smog but also have an extremely negative effect on human mucous membranes.

Thus, understanding how the catalyst works, you cannot overestimate its importance. It is the presence of a catalytic converter in the exhaust system that determines the “purity” of the exhaust gases emitted by vehicles.

Most modern vehicles have three catalytic converters in the exhaust system, which allows them to work effectively with each type of harmful substances. In the first case, there is a vehicle recovery catalyst that uses platinum and rhodium to control harmful substances. The second type of catalyst is an oxidation exhaust catalyst that uses platinum and palladium.

The third catalyst is a balanced control system whose task is to control the flow of exhaust gases. The information obtained allows for controlling the fuel injection system. An oxygen sensor informs about the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas so that the engine computer device can control the amount of air supplied to the fuel.

The modern exhaust catalyst can be represented by two main converter designs – “ceramic beads” and “honeycomb.” Most often, manufacturers prefer to use the honeycomb principle, but despite this, the catalytic converter structure looks like this:

  • Support – porous material with high strength values;
  • Outer jacket – provides maximum area for the catalytic material (platinum group metals);
  • Catalytic material – depending on characteristics of the production process, can be platinum, rhodium, and palladium.

In most cases, catalysts for modern vehicles are made of metal or ceramics. Despite the fact that the second option has an affordable price, it has a significant disadvantage – a low strength level. It can be easily damaged both by a bump and by water getting on the hot ceramics.

Alas, constant change of the catalyst can lead to serious financial expenses, thus metal options are more preferable for installation these days.

According to experienced drivers, the catalysts can be quietly divided into three groups depending on their condition – operating, partially operating, completely nonoperating. Regardless of the condition, the life of the catalyst is directly dependent on the mileage of the vehicle. However, in Europe, it must be replaced after every 100.000 miles.

Dual Exhaust

A dual exhaust can be done in several ways, although the causes and consequences of such a decision are reflected in the aesthetics, not in the engine power increase.

The popularity of this unit is due to several reasons:

  • Similar factory feature absence;
  • Desire to make a race car;
  • Desire to keep up with the times and trends of fashion.
  • Comparative tuning cheapness.
  • No performance risks (with the least interference).

Two main ways to split the exhaust:

The most common and popular option involves the installation of special pads that change the visual appearance of the exhaust and are reminiscent of wheel covers in terms of functions. Such units can in no way be considered a violation, so there’s no need to be worried when passing a regular technical inspection.

The more expensive and tangible way is making changes to the exhaust system, bringing out the pipes symmetrically on both sides (one or two on each side), or aligning the split pipe. The logical conclusion that a large exhaust extraction space contributes to the increase in engine power is, in fact, only 1-2% fair.

When choosing the way of exhaust pipe tuning, we advise thinking about which end result will be the most preferable. If the need for changes is great, consider more expenses (time/resources), if the interference is minimal, then both money and risk are much less.

Resonator

Any operating mechanism makes typical noise, and when it’s gasoline internal combustion engines, “sound effects” differ by the raised volume which brings a weight of discomfort both to the driver, and other road users, and also pedestrians.

As is known, a muffler, being a part of the exhaust system, acts as a sound absorber. However, few people know why a resonator, which is also an important component of the unit, is needed.

You can tell by the name that this part is responsible for the resonance of sound streams arising during the engine operation. Simply put, a resonator attenuates the sound vibrations at the moment of exhaust emissions from the combustion chamber. Let’s consider the device and features of the element in more detail.

A resonator is a rather complex part which consists of a large number of layers, each of which has its own function. It looks very similar to the muffler, so it is often called an additional muffler. When looking at the unit in section, the similarity becomes obvious. To put it in more detail:

  • The design of a resonator consists of several chambers separated by a special grid that provides constant narrowing and expansion of gas flows supplied in abrupt jerks. A resonator allows you to level out this pulsation, creating a uniform smooth flow.
  • Due to the displacement of the chambers, the direction of the exhaust gas flow changes, which also allows smoothing out uneven pulsations.
  • The exhaust gas frequency is also dampened by the internal perforation which lowers the exhaust gas sound volume.
  • A resonator operates thanks to a large number of closed cavities connected to the pipeline by multiple holes which cause oscillations of different frequencies changed by friction.

A resonator is located between the muffler and the receiving manifold. However, the location of this element may vary depending on the vehicle model and manufacturer.

Resonators are divided into 2 types depending on engines they are used with:

  • Two-stroke engines. If the vehicle has such an engine, the use of a resonator is mandatory. The absence of the unit will lead to increased gasoline consumption, elimination of unburned fuel, and gas removal. The speed of the vehicle, in this case, will be reduced.
  • Four-stroke engines. In this case, the resonator becomes more of a problem than a solution. If it is removed, it will increase the engine power by 15%.

Resonators are also different in design. There are standard monoblock products, but drivers often prefer composite models these days. The latter consists of two parts: a classic design with a pipe and partitions; a chamber filled with a special noise-absorbing material (typically basalt fiber). Combination resonators are considered more up-to-date and efficient.

Resonators can be short, medium, or long. They also differ in volume. It should be noted that the efficiency of this device directly depends on this indicator. If there is not enough volume, the noise will increase greatly when you accelerate.

Resonators are made of different materials. Inexpensive models are usually made of aluminized steel, by and large, this is ordinary steel on with a thin layer of aluminum. This protects the product from corrosion for a while.

The most durable and quality products are considered to be those made of stainless steel with double walls.

As the exhaust system, including the resonator, is constantly affected by high temperatures, it leads to frequent malfunctions. In order to avoid an unpleasant surprise, it is recommended to periodically diagnose this part of the vehicle and detect possible “symptoms” of malfunctions.

A resonator undoubtedly affects the driver’s comfort level. Besides, it helps to avoid excess fuel consumption and reduced engine power. Ensuring quality work and timely replacement of this element is one of the essential tasks.

FAQ

Will WRX exhaust fit Legacy?

Hardly. Different sizes (Legacy is longer), so most definitely it will not. However, you can try a Cat-Back or an Axle-Back exhaust.

Will WRX exhaust fit Forester XT?

Yes. There are a few models that will fit. You can try to find one here.

Will WRX exhaust fit Impreza?

The Axle-Back will fit just fine, but the Cat-Back will not unless you get unequal length headers and a new Cat Pipe.

Will WRX exhaust fit Forester?

No. The Forester XT exhaust is different than a WRX. But you can always have it modified in your local auto shop.

How to make WRX exhaust pop?

Get a race pipe. Firstly, the AP and a Turbo-Back exhaust. You will need a bigger pipe diameter exhaust. Ditch factory muffler. Increasing horsepower requires many changes inside the engine to cope with stresses created. It’s simpler to stay as factory as possible – just let it breathe better. Or go to your local car workshop and ask them.

What is the loudest WRX exhaust?

Invidia Dual N1 Titanium Tips Catback Exhaust (INV HS15STIGTT). Consider Blitz, Nameless, and P&L exhausts.

Will the 2014 WRX exhaust fit 2015?

Yes.

WRX exhaust vs STi exhaust

Almost no difference. However, some say the STi is better in terms of sound (not power). Less restriction, sounds deeper and louder, extra muffler resonator, etc.

Also, consider reading these articles:

About the author

Clint Harris

Clint Harris

My name is Clint Harris. I am an automotive fan who is fond of the latest tech- and classic muscle car technology. I launched CarWrenching to share open-minded tips, tutorials, and insight.

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