AWE Exhaust Guide for S550 Mustangs

AWE Exhaust Guide for S550 Mustangs

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | C.J. Tragakis

AWE has been well-known in the European car space for most of its history, but in recent years their Track and Touring exhausts have been very popular in the domestic market. Especially with S550 Mustang owners. Whether you drive an EcoBoost or GT, AWE makes it easy to find a setup that has the volume, tone, and performance you want.

This guide will walk you through the unique features of AWE's exhausts and what to look for in your next exhaust upgrade.

AWE's Patented Drone-Canceling Technology

Some of AWE's exhausts feature a patented drone-canceling system called 180 Technology®. Located in the resonator, this system uses specially-tuned ports and chambers to modulate exhaust gases and sound waves. Through tricky timing, the reflected sound waves are used to cancel out those undesirable frequencies that cause exhaust drone.

Each 180 Technology®-equipped resonator is uniquely designed for its specific vehicle. This allows AWE to get the perfect tone from any system.

Here's a video from AWE that shows this technology in action:

All AWE Touring Edition systems have 180 Technology®, unless they're non-resonated. AWE's Track Edition systems do not feature 180 Technology®. More on these two editions below.

AWE Track vs Touring Exhausts

Most AWE exhausts come in both Track and Touring Editions. Both options feature a straight-through design with no baffles, so power gains are consistent between the two.

But let's be honest, you really want to know what they sound like. Check out the video below to hear the difference between the Track and Touring Edition exhausts on the racetrack.

AWE Track Exhausts

Track Edition exhausts are much louder than stock, so if you want a super-aggressive exhaust note, this is the option to pick. The Track Editions feature straight-pipe configurations with no resonator, which is what gives you the extra volume inside and outside the cabin.

There is no 180 Technology® on a Track Edition exhaust. Due to the simpler nature of these systems, you can expect them to cost less than the Touring Editions, too.

AWE Touring Exhausts

Touring Edition exhausts offer the same performance and sound improvements as their Track counterparts, but with a more refined tone. These exhausts come with AWE's drone-canceling 180 Technology®. Power gains are also the same as their Track Edition counterparts since they share the same straight-through design.

What If You Can't Decide?

AWE takes analysis paralysis out of the equation by offering conversion kits for most of their product lineups. That means you can switch from a Track to Touring, or vice versa, whenever you want. So just go with whatever feels best to you at the time. You can always make a change down the road.

Already have an AWE Track or Touring cat-back and want to know if the grass is greener? Get your 2018+ Track-to-Touring conversion kit or Touring-to-Track kit and hear the difference for yourself.

Axle-Back Kits

AWE Touring axle-back kit with black exhaust tips for 2015+ EcoBoost Mustangs

If you've got an EcoBoost Mustang, then an AWE axle-back kit is your only option. You'll get less performance gains from an an axle-back vs a cat-back, but an axle-back will change your Mustang's exhaust tone and volume.

AWE's axle-backs feature 4" double-walled exhaust tips in chrome or black and 2.5" mandrel-bent pipes made of T304 stainless steel. They also have a straight-through design to free up your exhaust flow as much as possible.

Fitment & Installation

AWE's axle-back exhausts fit all S550 EcoBoost model years (2015-2023). They don't fit 2019-2023 models equipped with Active Exhaust, though.

Installation is also fairly straightforward. Some cutting of the factory pipes is required, but after that, it's an easy bolt-on install. If you're not comfortable with cutting, it's a quick and relatively affordable job for an exhaust shop to take care of.

Cat-Back Kits

AWE's cat-back kits provide an upgrade to your Mustang's sound and performance, as long as you've got a V8. Just as the axle-backs are exclusively for the EcoBoost, the cat-backs are for the V8 models.

Comparison of the AWE Track Edition and the Touring Edition cat-back exhaust kits for 2018+ Mustang GTs

AWE also has separate product lines for 2015-2017 Mustang GTs and 2018+ GTs. Regardless of your S550's model year, AWE advertises max gains of 8 hp and 18 ft-lbs of torque from switching to their exhaust system. Both the Track and Touring Editions come with 3" diameter mandrel-bent T304L stainless steel pipes and 4" double-walled tips in chrome or black.

The main differences between the '15-'17 and '18+ systems are the number of exhaust tips ('18+ get dual tips) and workarounds for Active Exhaust, which was an option on 2018+ Mustangs.

What If Your S550 Has Active Exhaust?

AWE's cat-back exhausts weren't originally designed to work with Ford's Active Exhaust option for 2018+ Mustangs. The good news is, AWE has a workaround so you can still install the Track or Touring Edition cat-back you want without setting off the check engine light.

Install AWE's exhaust valve motor bracket along with your chosen cat-back. It'll hold the factory actuators in place and mount to the bottom of your Mustang so you can keep the ECU happy.

AWE's exhaust valve bracket that holds the actuators for the 2018+ Mustang's Active Exhaust system

Track Edition Cat-Backs

AWE's Track Edition cat-back is designed to be one of the highest volume systems out there. You get a loud idle that burbles and grumbles. Once you hit the gas, you get an ultra-aggressive roar through the RPM range. There's even more rasp, plus tons of pops and crackles when you let off the accelerator.

Installation is pretty easy with just basic tools and a little help from a friend required. You can check out the full install process and hear what they sound like by checking out these install videos:

Touring Edition Cat-Backs

Even the AWE Touring system seems to growl at idle instead of purr. There's still a classic muscle car rumble underneath, but the overall sound has a higher pitch once you get on the throttle. It's exotic and super-aggressive. For highway cruising though, the system quiets down and exhibits no drone at all thanks to the inclusion of 180 Technology®.

This is a loud system, even though it's not to the level of the Track Edition. It's great for those that want something that sounds very performance-oriented, but don't want the loudest system around.

Installation is similarly easy compared to the Track Editions. See how to install these cat-backs and hear them in action by watching the videos below:

Which AWE Exhaust Should You Buy for Your S550?

AWE makes it pretty easy to decide between their products. If you drive an EcoBoost, you're limited to the axle-back options. They also keep things pretty simple when it comes to exhaust tip options, with a choice of chrome silver or black for both axle-back and cat-back kits.

Comparison of the black and chrome silver exhaust tip options for AWE's S550 Mustang exhaust systems

The real decisions come into play if you've got a GT. For super-aggressive sound at a lower price, go with AWE's Track Edition exhaust. For drone-free sound with the same performance as the Track Edition, go with the Touring.

And just remember, if you regret your decision later, AWE makes it easy to change your mind with a conversion kit.

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This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.