All Wheel Drive Auto: Independent Seattle Subaru Service


Subaru FAQ # 10, I just bought my Subaru, What can I do to get a little more power?


Q. I just bought my Subaru , What can I do to get a little more power?

A. Depending on which model you have purchased the answer is going to be quite different.  If you purchased a turbo model Subaru the possibilities are almost limitless more than I could ever write about most likely .  If instead your new Subaru is an N/A ( Naturally Aspirated) model, your choices are quite the opposite, very limited and may not actually make any more power at all.

This actually comes up a lot more so on the NA models than the Turbo models, as when a new Subaru owner looks for  power increases on the WRX, STI,  2005 and newer GT or XT model Subaru there is an abundance of options, but when looking for power increases for a non Turbo Subaru you seem to be limited to air intake kits, and maybe a header pipe depending on what year Subaru you own.  Regardless of what any “Horse Power Chip” states on their website, its snake oil for a non turbo model Subaru.

Here are some possibilities for you in a N/A Subaru and possible price ranges if you elect to pay someone..

  • Air intake kit $150 to $250.00
  • Header Pipe $500.00 (up to 2005)
  • Delta Camshaft grind $2500.00 to $3500.00
  • Installation of a Turbo engine, turbo wiring harness, ECU, transmission , differential, bigger brakes, suspension modifications etc.   $10,000.00 to $20,000.00

The BRZ does seem to have a few items on the mod list that help a little, but ultimately they still leave one wanting.

There really is no nice way to say it, if you bought a NA Subaru and want more power, sell it and buy a Turbo version instead.  If you want to change the way it drives with suspension and brakes and want the overall better reliability of a non turbo car, than keep it, but know the power you have now is about all she’s going to give ya captain.


If you have made a power modification to an non Turbo Subaru that you feel was well worth the expense please share it below.


5 Responses

  1. I just bought a 2006 NA 2.5i Impreza. Everyone on all the old forums and things keep pointing me to Raptor Superchargers (an Aussie company) for a reliable bolt-on increase in torque and power across the board. They say it won’t blow an STi (or your engine) out of the water or anything, and the price comes down to whether you have some expendable income lying around, but it’s something, and it supposedly won’t require months of tuning to dial in.

    It seems the NA engines have major issues with the MAF meters being disrupted upon removal of the resonance boxes from the air intake system in place of cold-air intakes and such. Issues which aren’t found on forced induction engines.

    I’m new to the Subaru boxer engine and this is all fascinating stuff!

    1. Hi Ben,

      I would not put a supercharger on your Subaru it will be short lived and not as turn key reliable as you think.


  2. I found that running with a top-of-the-line synthetic engine oil and gear lube (AMSOil or Motul) in front and rear transaxles seems to make my manual-shift 2001 Forester quite a bit snappier. Plus, it’s not hard-shifting on cold mornings like it was when I got it.

  3. I have a standard four cylinder 2004 Subaru Outback with standard NGK spark plugs.

    Because of center electrode erosion, I need to make sure the plugs are gapped properly every 15,000 miles or the car runs r e a l l y s l o w. Adjust your gap on the smaller side of the recommended range.

    Once the plugs are regapped or changed for new ones, a little bit of extra torque is felt when accelerating. To me, this little bit makes a huge difference.

    Think twice about getting a lower restriction exhaust system. You may gain better performance at freeway speeds but you lose a little torque when accelerating.

  4. I don’t feel there are any worthwhile upgrades for the NA Subarus. None of the options really do much. Some, like the camshaft, do provide power, but cost a lot.

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