These days with turbocharged motors everywhere and direct injection becoming the norm, there are many ways to boost the power on small motors. Turbocharging isn’t anything new, but you could say that it is really starting to be perfected now. With the latest 2.3L offering from Ford making more horsepower and torque than the 4.6L engines of old, it’s clear to see the potential in small, turbo powerplants. And if making just as much power with half the motor wasn’t good enough, these modern turbo engines also leave quite a bit on the table when it comes to modifications.
Exhaust mods are popular with N/A cars and F/I cars alike, but there’s one crucial difference; turbo cars love a free-flowing exhaust. With a full headers-back exhaust on the latest 5.0, you’ll gain some power for sure. But with the same downpipe-back exhaust on the 2.3L turbo, you’re really looking at significant gains. Add a tune to the mix and gains of 30whp and 60ft-lbs are realistic. This kind of quick power is super exciting and it makes you feel like your mod money really is going further.
But what if you want to go even faster? How about around 100whp and 150ft-lbs more? Well, looks like you want a larger turbo upgrade. Since the car is turbo from the factory, this is a fairly straightforward installation and doesn’t require any cutting or permanent modification. We’ve seen some numbers and a power curve that looks very similar to the stock 5.0 when a larger turbo is used on the 2.3L. Naysayers, keep in mind that the 2.3L is 200lbs lighter, better balanced, and more nimble than the 5.0 and this quickly becomes a serious contender for a backroad champion. Not to mention it can run 11’s at the drag strip. Hmmm… this EcoBoost thing really starts to make sense with some modifications.
The dyno graph below shows a car with stock fueling, stock block, stock transmission, and completely stock engine internals. With just a bolt-on turbo kit, you can take away the “GT advantage” and have a car that can be completely reversed back to stock when your lease is up or its time to sell. When additional fueling is added, then you have a monster on your hands and numbers that V8’s won’t see unless they have forced induction.