Anyone who wants the ultimate driving experience and the best their car has to offer should consider a performance upgrade. This can come in different shapes and sizes and deliver subtle or colossal gains in power numbers. Different parts are added at various stages of the tuning process, and each provides incremental increases in power.
Most drivers and tuners start with the exhaust and intakes for better combustion efficiency and leave the finishing details, like alloys and changes to the body kit, for last. This is in most cases, but you can upgrade any car part you find lacking. Here are the upgrades from DriveRevolve that bring the best acceleration, improved handling, and better styling without costing an arm and leg.
1) Exhaust and Intake Upgrades
Stock exhausts are just a few of the vehicle components that rob you of your car’s true potential. They’re made to a cost that encompasses fess material and narrower tubing. Most are from mild steel and easily damaged. Going with a performance exhaust not only brings better materials (rust-free stainless steel in budget offerings to high-end titanium, Inconel and carbon fiber in more exquisite options) but also improves exhaust flow with wider tubing, a range of exhaust part configurations and better artistry.
Your engine can breathe with better combustion and less strain on engine internals. And these essential performance car parts also shed a few pounds for anyone worried about weight. Moreover, aftermarket exhausts look better, with more attention to detail, especially in the tips.
Different setups, from axle-back, cat-back, and header-back systems, bring in varying bumps in performance, helped on by additions like cat-less midsections, revised header designs, high-flow converters, and muffler and resonator combos to fine-tune the exhaust sound.
Pair exhausts with an air intake system that helps push more air in for combustion while also cooling and cleaning it to a higher degree. These are equipped with more capable filters to filter out potential pollutants, revised air boxes to improve intake flow, and heat shields to keep incoming air at the desired temperature. Some will require minor changes in the engine bay, but the results aftermarket air intakes offer are more than worth it.
Be mindful to replace your intake as soon as possible as it may be the culprits of car leaking oil when parked!
2) ECU Tunes and Remaps
To get the best out of the exhaust and air intake, an ECU remap changes your car’s stock parameters in terms of fuelling profiles, inlet, and outlet valve timing, boosts the pressure in vehicles with forced induction, and more, makes better use of the engine’s upper limits.
Remaps will see your car add a few horses, but the changes in the torque curve see the best results, especially in acceleration from a standstill. The engine is more willing to rev, shows better response to driver input, and can also be tuned for less fuel use, despite the power gains. Go for respected tuners when thinking about an ECU tune.
Even cars that have no added parts will see improvements. This also means that, like parts tuning, ECU remaps are also divided into stages, with more of everything the more you spend. Stage 1 tunes are affordable options and can be applied to any car, diesel or petrol.
3) Upgraded Engine Internals
If you’re wondering where the most power is hidden, it’s the parts directly involved with combustion. Upgrading factory pistons, connecting rods, bearings and crankshafts for more lightweight and better-built variants will see engines suited to higher RPMs without succumbing to typical forces of bending, twisting and rebounding that will make a dog’s meal of factory components.
Go for forged pistons and conrods, optioned in aluminium alloys to get lower mass, and higher engine speeds, paired with performance bearings to offer optimal friction, and a treated and forged crank that will cope will the extra power and in a revised design to improve lubrication and cooling.
To get here though, you’ll already have spent your cash on bigger injectors and a performance camshaft, in addition to higher-rated spark plugs. While not the most affordable, going with new internals can bag you a car with almost double the rated power figures.
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4) Forced Induction
While few naturally-aspirated cars are left on UK streets, adding a turbo will net you an entirely different car. These performance car parts also mean choosing an engine that can take the boost pressure when pumping in more air for combustion. Think like the V10 in the E60 M5 or the capable yet small 1.6 liters in older Mazda Miatas.
To get here, you’ll also need to consider the work put into revised manifolds, headers, and charge pipes, reworked cylinder heads, and strengthened gaskets, as well as lowering the compression ratio for the turbo to work. You get at least a 50 percent increase in horsepower and hypercar acceleration on something like the M5 mentioned above.
Changes in turbo configurations are also done in cars with stock-forced induction setups. This often means either going for a bigger or faster spooling single turbine or adding twin-scroll turbos. The latter prevents turbo lag, with one turbine spinning at low revs and the other kicking in in the midrange.
5) Coilovers and Lowering Springs
Performance isn’t just about power. Better handling and control is another element most avid drivers overlook. Tuning the suspension will get you a car that is more agile in bends, with less body roll and more high-speed stability.
And the best way to achieve this is by opting for lowering springs. These get the car closer to the ground, reducing the center of gravity. Abrupt changes in direction are handled with poise, with more feedback through the increased traction in the wheels and tires and improved steering feel. For most drivers, a set of front and rear lowering springs, getting the car down to as much as 60mm, will be more than enough for better laps around the track or daily bouts on the highway.
Coilovers start where lowering springs end. They’re a more compact and integrated unit, with the shocks and springs calibrated to the specifics of the vehicle. And they’re adjustable for compression and rebound rates, so fine-tuning is a given. You get a suspension setup ready for any road surface or track with a simple dial twist. Look for lowering springs and coilovers from trusted suspension brands. Even basic setups are miles ahead of what your car came with and are affordable too.
6) Alloys and Tyres
Aftermarket wheels not only offer better looks but are a prerequisite for better handling. They’re built to a better standard, often with superior materials, and are lighter in weight, so they help with acceleration as well. Different production processes mean different types of wheels.
Cast alloys are the entry-level options, offering decent strength and durability (so they should hold up against potholes), and come in various designs, widths, and sizes to fit just about any model. These are suited for light racing applications and are affordable.
Move up to forged monobloc or multipiece wheels where absolute strength in handling the extra power is needed with the performance upgrades above. These are made by developing a single piece of aluminum or magnesium with high-pressure dies and then extensive machining to the desired shape.
The process retains more strength in the metal, which shows in cars that are pushed to the max. Wheels will handle the increases in stress much better, without buckling, so no cracks or damage.
Look for specifics like wheel offset that change the wheel geometry about the rest of the car for increased grip from the tires.
This allows more speed in cornering and more contact with the road. More expansive and bigger wheels let you use lower-profile tires, like coilovers and lowering springs, lower the car’s center of gravity and maximize traction with more contact with the road.
7) Body Kit
Your car may not need a complete body kit in carbon fiber, but a couple of additions back and front can improve aerodynamics. Drag is a crucial enemy against acceleration and top speed. And this can be accompanied by a lift that undermines stability. While there are bespoke styling body kits from most car makers, going with aftermarket specialists (most with racing affiliations) means you get parts tailored to your car’s exact dimensions (and performance profile).
More popular items here include front lips and splitters to disperse oncoming air over and under the car in defined amounts and achieve downforce or the air pressure that sticks the vehicle to the road at high speed. These are paired with side skirts to prevent air-creating lift at the sides and rear spoilers for additional rear-axle stability. When buying exhausts, also remember that some exhaust builders offer rear diffusers to minimize the drag of remnant air under the rear of the car.
Prices and materials determine whether the parts are for show, go, or both. Fiberglass and polyurethane body parts are more about styling and won’t have the strength of custom-built carbon fiber. This is stiff, durable, and strong and will last. And it has looks to die for. The only issue with a carbon fiber kit is the cost. But if you’re serious about racing and giving your car the edge, then this is a minor price to pay.
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