If you know anything about car exhaust system parts, then you might be familiar with downpipes. However, plenty of car owners have never considered this part of a vehicle. Chances are you’re currently driving your car fitted with a factory / OEM downpipe, with numerous bends and airflow restrictions. In most cases, the OEM pipes are bent using a cheap bending process, restricting your car even more. Therefore, installing a downpipe has several benefits and might be one of the best decisions for your car.

A downpipe in a turbocharged car is an essential component to the exhaust system. The downpipe connects to your vehicle’s turbine housing and helps to control emissions by reducing the temperature in the exhaust gas. It also reduces back pressure on your engine so it can run more efficiently. 

Installing a downpipe is popular among car enthusiasts who drive turbocharged vehicles. A downpipe consists of tubing sections that connect the exhaust manifold to the exhaust side of a turbocharger, allowing your engine to breathe out emitted gasses more smoothly. Not only does this give your car a better exhaust sound, but it also increases low-end torque and engine output.

Brands for downpipes

Turbos come with two turbines that are connected. One of them is connected to the exhaust system and spools when the engine emits exhaust gases, which causes the other one to spin as well. The other turbine sucks fresh air in and forces it into the engine, allowing your car to breathe in more oxygen and ultimately perform significantly better. The exhaust system lets the powertrain breathe out all the emitted gases that come from burning fuel in the cylinders. Breathing these gasses out is just as vital as breathing fresh air in. Not having a proper exhaust flow can choke up your car, leading to a significant drop in performance and a lot of back pressure on the engine.

Catalytic converters (also known as CATs) are some of the early pipes that exhaust gasses go through before they eventually get out of the exhaust tip. The role of a catalytic converter is to regulate your vehicle’s emissions so less dangerous gasses with fewer smells come out of your powertrain. On the downside, they restrict air from getting out as freely as possible, making breathing out more challenging for the engine.

You can swap the stock catalytic converter in your car with a downpipe, which is often a wider piping system with less restrictive parts, to let the air flow more efficiently, letting your engine breathe out better.

A downpipe directs the exhaust gases from your vehicle’s turbine housing into your exhaust system. The downpipe bolts right to the turbine housing. It is instrumental in moving the exhaust gases through the system as efficiently as possible.  

The average downpipe has at least one restrictive catalytic converter. These do an excellent job of cleaning exhaust gases as they are produced. The only issue is their restrictive aspect. They cause you to lose power, and likely part of the reason you have a high-end car like a Mercedes is the power that comes with it. You might want to remove the original downpipe that came with your vehicle and replace it with an aftermarket version larger in diameter. You also might remove the catalytic converter, or another way to go is to install a high-flowing converter.

Downpipes are essential elements of an exhaust system that connect the exhaust side of a turbocharger or exhaust manifold with the start of the exhaust system or the vehicle’s catalytic converter. These pipes help pass exhaust gas to the egress of the vehicle’s engine. A Turbocharger is a pump-like element, so it is very necessary to exit or enter the gas or airflow from them with the help of downpipes.

The airflow enters and egresses from the turbo from numerous bends, which restrict the way out of gas flow in or out the turbo, which can cause spool up of turbocharger more rapidly. Downpipes can work with faster spool-up times or better fuel economy and provide more efficient, powerful, and better performance for your car.

A downpipe is put in place because it allows the turbo aspect of the engine to be more effective. The downpipe steers gases away from the turbine, creating more uninterrupted power. When you get out on a straightaway and open up your vehicle, you’ll feel the difference. Aftermarket downpipes usually feature wider capacities, and they are less restrictive than the stock option. This increase in diameter allows for greater space for a faster turbo spin. The increased spin makes a huge difference. It decreases turbo lag and generates more spool. When you make this switch, you’re reducing intake charge and engine temperature. This will bring the increase in engine power you were craving. 

The manufactured downpipe of cars may have many unnecessary bends, creating resistance, and reducing the quality and power of turbochargers. Aftermarket downpipes have possibly fewer bends than factory downpipes, which helps to eliminate the resistance and the restrictions. In addition, aftermarket pipes are technically straight pipes that do not allow any choking point for airflow and provide better car performance.

The factory downpipe can come with several ‘unnecessary’ bends, which one by one creates resistance and decreases the power of your turbo. An after-market downpipe has less bends and thus removes this resistance and the factory restrictions. It’s not a choking point anymore for the performance of your car. In other words; straight pipe it!

Keep in mind that the standard downpipe for sports cars is typically of excellent quality. It’s entirely your prerogative whether you’re satisfied with your exhaust materials or want to modify them further to get that extra boost.

A downpipe will give you the option to lose your catalytic converter or will utilize it more efficiently. This enables the movement of more exhaust gases at a higher speed, allowing your turbo to spin quicker. In addition to the increased responsiveness of your turbo, you can expect an increase of 15-20 horsepower and torque. Hence, a downpipe allows more and easier access of air into your engine. This ensures better airflow and less restrictions, resulting in a smoother engine, more horsepower and the loudest sound possible! However, it is important to choose a downpipe that fits exactly to your vehicle. Only then, the desired increased performances will be achieved.


If you want to get yourself an aftermarket downpipe, you’re going to run into two kinds: cat and catless. Catted means that it comes with a high-flow catalytic converter. Catless downpipes come without one. Catalytic converters clean exhaust gases as they pass through a catalyst. This deals with the smell from the raw exhaust fumes. If you get a catless version, then the vehicle will emit a noticeable odor. That’s because the exhaust gases aren’t being cleaned before the vehicle emits them. On the other hand, catless downpipes don’t have any restrictions for filtering exhaust fumes and offer much better flow. This prevents your engine from overheating, allows for better aspiration, and results in more torque and horsepower.

The honeycomb filter design inside the converter helps these gases come in contact with more areas, which makes it more efficient. The metals of the filter act as a catalyst and react with the emissions and shift harmful exhaust fumes to less dangerous pollutants. The contents inside need to be incredibly hot for the conversion to work efficiently, which is why ceramic is used. Ceramic metal heats fast and stays very hot for a long time. Without the catalytic converters, gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons are quickly emitted into the atmosphere, causing harmful environmental air pollution.

Many states and regions have strict rules regarding catalytic converters in cars. When exhaust fumes come out without going through cat filters, they include significantly higher counts of air-polluting particles.


Do downpipes add horsepower?

Yes. Performance catted downpipes nowadays have been shown to increase horsepower. An aftermarket downpipe with catalytic converters will add 10 to 20 horsepower on average, and that gain is noticeable anytime the turbo spools.

Is it easy to install a downpipe?

Yes. Downpipes are one of the easiest components to install on your car. Depending on whether you’re performing the installation on a jack stand or lift, downpipe installs can take up to one hour. This obviously depends on if you know what you’re doing, following along to a tutorial, or you’re performing a whole muffler delete.

Will a downpipe make my car louder?

Yes. Aftermarket downpipes certainly will make a car louder with a more aggressive exhaust note. Aftermarket ones are louder than stock because they reduce the backpressure that occurs in restrictive exhaust pipes.

Will a downpipe void my warranty?

No worries–Installing an aftermarket downpipe doesn’t void your vehicle’s entire warranty. If you are a United States resident, then you’re protected by the Magnuson Moss Warranty act. So for downpipe installation, you may lose warranty only for your exhaust system, not the whole vehicle.

What is a header on a car?

Some people believe that headers and downpipes are the same, but they’re not. A downpipe and header play similar roles for escaping emissions, but are different installations for different reasons.

Headers are simple bolt-on accessories used to improve an engine’s performance. Headers make it easier for the motor to push exhaust fumes out of the exhaust system. They connect to one or more cylinder heads and evacuate gas exiting out of that cylinder head through your car’s muffler.

How much horsepower do headers give you?

On average, a good set of aftermarket headers give a boost of 10-20 horsepower.

So how does a header compare to a downpipe?

Essentially, downpipes are for turbos only, while the similarly-tasked header is for non-turbocharged vehicles. Technically you can still use headers with a turbo, but it would have to be a custom turbo system that connects to the turbos in the exhaust after installing the header base.

find your perfect Downpipe

Start with your car specs

For a great and fast performance, a downpipe can effectively enter or exit the airflow from the exhaust system. However, it is important to select a favorable downpipe for your vehicle that is perfectly fit and offers great working, and you can get a desirable speed and smooth performance.

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