Mustang EcoBoost Exhaust GuideLast Updated June 13, 2023 | C.J. Tragakis
For enthusiasts, it’s no secret that the EcoBoost motor can’t be made to sound like the V8 in the GT. However, that doesn’t mean that the exhaust note can’t be improved from its quiet factory output. By leaning into the turbo sounds, blow-off valve hiss, and exotic growl of the EcoBoost motor, you can enhance the overall sound of your car.
With over 300 hp and lb-ft of torque, the EcoBoost deserves to sound like a true sports car. An upgraded exhaust system can also give you more power. In this guide, we’ll go over the different types of exhaust upgrades you can get for your turbo Mustang.
EcoBoost Exhaust Compatibility
Changes made in 2018 mean that the EcoBoost Mustang got an additional 30 lb-ft of torque. However, the hardware is identical, so you can use the same aftermarket exhaust on any 2015-2020+ EcoBoost Mustang. The only thing to note is whether you have active exhaust or non-active. Once you’ve got that sorted, you can start your search to find the best exhaust for your Mustang EcoBoost.
More Sound Output with Axle-Backs
Axle-back kits change the sound output of your EcoBoost Mustang with minimal effects on performance. Their lower price makes them more appealing than cat-backs if you’re less concerned about power gains. New exhaust tips will also add a visual upgrade to your Mustang’s rear end.
You will need to cut your pipes to install an axle-back, which could be a job for a shop if you’re not comfortable. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to check the proper cutting location. Measure twice and cut once. It's always possible to cut more off, but welding pipes back together is a hassle.
The Ecoboost’s factory mufflers are quiet and restrictive, so any aftermarket system will give you more volume. Here are some of our favorites:
The Ford Performance by Borla system isn’t too loud but offers a much deeper tone. You also get a more aggressive rasp and even some crackles and pops. Kits like the AWE Touring and MBRP system are a bit louder, with even more growl and more noise coming from the turbo.
Replace Your Muffler
Like we noted above, your factory mufflers are restrictive. Even just replacing these will help open up your exhaust and create a more robust exhaust note. How robust? Well. That's up to you. Straight-through pipes will create a very loud sound, but deeper roars are also available.
Open Up Your Exhaust with a Cat-Back
Cat-back kits change your sound and make your exhaust flow less restrictive. By opening up your exhaust more, you can see a mild bump in horsepower. With a more free-flowing resonator (or no resonator at all), you get better horsepower and decreased weight.
Cat-backs are also easier to install than axle-backs since they connect at the end of the downpipe using the factory clamp. No cutting or drilling required.
The Ford Performance by Borla Sport cat-back system offers more of a rally-style tone, with an aggressive rumble and plenty of pops. Still, it’s not too loud and exhibits no drone. The MBRP Race exhaust has a very deep tone, and it’s much louder than stock. It still has a nice purr and makes it easier to hear the blow-off valve.
Add a Downpipe for a Turbo-Back Exhaust
Downpipes are at the very front of your exhaust system. If you added an aftermarket downpipe to your EcoBoost’s upgraded cat-back exhaust, you would then have a “turbo-back” exhaust system.
Performance downpipes offer the biggest difference in power for your Mustang’s exhaust system. They’re often combined with a tune as well. This is especially effective in turbocharged motors, like the 2.3 EcoBoost.
Some downpipes, called off-road downpipes, come without catalytic converters. This makes the car only legal for off-road (track) use. However, if you’ll take your EcoBoost to the track, getting better exhaust flow and deleting the restrictive factory catalytic converters will give you an edge. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to trailer your car anytime you’re on public roads.
If you still want street-legal capability, many downpipes come with high-flow catalytic converters instead of deleting them altogether. Be sure to check your local emissions regulations.
If you still have your factory exhaust set-up and want to upgrade everything in one go, look at getting a turbo-back exhaust kit. They include everything from a cat-back kit, but with downpipes as well. This saves some time and money, compared to starting with an axle-back or cat-back kit.
Ditch Your Resonator
A simple resonator delete is the most cost-effective way to make your EcoBoost Mustang louder and more aggressive in tone. Getting rid of your resonator allows for better flow and more turbo noise to come through the pipes. You’ll also save a bit of weight.
For about a quarter of the price of an axle-back, this is a simple way to get a race-inspired sound. The exhaust note won’t be as customized, but for many enthusiasts, is enough to get the sound they want. Though you will have to cut your pipes, downpipes are still a very simple installation.
Complementary Mods for Your EcoBoost’s Exhaust
For many enthusiasts, an exhaust upgrade is just the first step in a performance overhaul. Even more power is possible when you combine that with a tune and cold air intake. Together, these three mods give you an impressive bolt-on set-up.
With a modest budget and a novice level of wrenching experience, you can transform your EcoBoost Mustang into something completely different from factory.