WRX Noob needing advice


Hoping to find some help here and better understanding of upgrading my WRX.

Just got a 2007 WRX, brand new had it about 6 months and trying to get some more miles on it, only got about 4k on it right now. Looking to do some minor adjustments, trying to keep it under warranty and somewhat under control...although being in New York, emissions laws are tough to work with.
So far I've probably wasted a bunch of money on this, but I did purchase the SPT CAI from Subaru and the SPT cat back exhaust. Did these upgrades about a month apart, CAI was first, noticed right away higher RPM's were more powerful. Then with the exhaust, other than the nice sound it makes, seemed like the car was a little smoother, but might just be thrown off from the sound.

Anyway, been reading up a lot of upgrades to get, mostly off of scooby websites, but at a loss on the namebrands that are out there. Being a computer engineer if you ask me who are the best manufacturers of air cooling, I would say Cooler master, Thermaltake, Silex, Zalman, Thermalright...unless you were a systems builder enthusiast you wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about....exactly my situation with the upgrades available....I see Helix, Invidia, Perrin, Turbo XS, HKS and I have no clue who does better or what their claim to fame is.

What I am looking for is some advice on what I should do to my car - I have seen some High Flow Catted Down pipes, not sure if these are worth it or not. One of my muscle car buddies said to get headers....but he said I dunno about your car - If I am going to do this I want to get it right the first time. In getting the High Flow Cat Down pipe - I am still going to get restricted by the Cat between the down pipe and the exhaust right? Obviously there is way more to it than that, but looking for some help trying to plan where to go. I suppose the goal is to get at least 300hp, maybe top out at 350hp eventually. In buffalo all my friends are mostly into muscle cars, or love talking about modding but don't do it and have no first hand experience, so I am on my own about this, only thing I have are 3 mechanics friends who will install this stuff for me, but no idea on the impact of the parts or who/what I should go with.

Would appreciate any help or advice anyone can give.


Staff member
Deal, Kent UK
A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
A Zalman induction kit = that would be interesting silent air intake! :lol:

A high flow cat would only give a modest power increase but special headers and down pipe will help the power gains. Some owners over here get the engine capacity increased with a stroker kit - obviously the engine will need to be dismantled.

I think you should look into remapping, it is possible to keep the emissions within tolerances and open up the top end power band to give a large performance boost. Turbo upgrades are another option open to you - with some turbo upgrades literally a plug in replacement.

Different brands of air intake and exhaust perform fairly similarly, unless the maker is just a bulk bash out the parts as cheaply as possible. The difference is the sound they produce which is subject to individual tastes. HKS are a brand that I personally favour for most Jap cars.

Dont forget that a good quality intercooler will also help raise the performance of the car (but when its stationary and being tested for emissions it will be the same result as with a standar intercooler as there is little air flowing through it!).

I hope this helps at least point you in the right direction for now.