Mazdaspeed/MPS Optimal Upgrade Path



Every vehicle in the COBB lineup is designed for the enthusiast from the factory.  With that in mind, it’s no surprise there are tons of different aftermarket options for every COBB supported vehicle.  As one of the first mainstream direct injected turbo cars, the Mazdaspeed platform gets a lot of aftermarket love.  There are so many parts available!  So many options make it common to see certain power adders installed that lack necessary supporting modifications.  Ahead will be the sequence of modifications that give your Mazdaspeed the most power per dollar, improve drive-ability, and combine the appropriate supporting modifications to protect against failures.

Gen 1 (2007 – 2009)

Gen 2 (2010 – 2013)

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The COBB Stage 1 Power Package for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Mazdaspeed 3/MPS includes the COBB Rear Motor Mount, a High Flow Filter, and the Accessport.

Rear Motor Mount

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First up is to replace the Rear Motor Mount (RMM).  This isn’t the most obvious best first modification since it doesn’t do anything to improve power but it definitely transforms the feel of the car.  The mount provides better traction, most notably during aggressive launching, where wheel hop is significantly reduced.  Also, since this is the only motor mount on the vehicle arranged perpendicular to the motor’s torque, it being more stiff helps the longevity of the other mounts.

High Flow Filter



COBB High Flow Filters are created with a proprietary woven cotton and metal mesh with a precision molded rubber base.  This design permits very high flow rates, minimizes restrictions, maximizes filtration and provides a long life filter.  If you’re planning on modifying beyond this stage, consider going straight to the Stage 1 + Power Package which comes with the COBB SF Intake and Turbo Inlet Hose (TIH).


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Now that your rear mount is a little more stiff and you’re better able to get the power to the ground, it’s time to make more power!  The Accessport is the best bang for your buck modification.  For $650, your Mazdaspeed will gain about 30hp and 30tq to the wheels over stock!  That amount will be the difference between night and day on a stock vehicle.  But the Accessport has a lot to offer beyond the power gains.  You’ll add the ability to datalog/monitor several parameters the ECU sees in real time, change to other Off The Shelf (OTS) maps as you continue to add modifications, read and clear codes, estimate power, get 0-60 times, and get other cool features like launch control and flat foot shifting.  If you’re ever unsure of what map you should be running, check out the Map Notes for all the details on modification requirements and power gains for each map.

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The Stage 1 + Power Package is for those that want a little more.  It removes all of the pre-turbo restriction with the COBB SF Intake + Airbox and Turbo Inlet Hose.  It also includes upgraded Fuel Pump Internals.

Intake and Airbox

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Next up is the COBB SF Intake and Airbox.  The Intake allows optimal airflow while the Airbox helps prevent hot and turbulent air from being ingested through the intake filter into the MAF housing.  These modifications will allow you to pick up some power, improve the looks under the hood, and make all the turbo noises much more audible.  Both pieces are easily installed and the proper calibration is only a few button presses away on the Accessport.

Turbo Inlet Hose

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This smooth, high temperature silicone hose replaces the clunky plastic OEM piece. The interior features a uniform lining and incorporates a true taper design.  This eliminates any sudden neck-down in diameter found on lesser or stock designs. The end result is a silky-smooth, unrestricted path from the intake to the turbo inlet, adding power and improving engine responsiveness.

High Pressure Fuel Pump

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Either the complete pump or simply the internals can be upgraded to provide adequate fuel pressure.  The High Pressure Fuel Pump Internals provide the added flow necessary to sustain the Stage 1 + power level.  This particular AutoTech unit offers solid engineering and high quality which can achieve flow rates ~50% higher than the original pump by essentially removing pump limitations from the equation. This upgrade is even compatible with COBB OTS maps!

It should be noted that there are OTS maps offered on the Accessport for a completely stock vehicle but we have seen that some vehicles require an upgraded high pressure fuel pump even on the Stage1 power level.  This is especially true for vehicles at an elevation near sea level and/or in extreme cold where air is particularly dense.  If this describes your area, it’s a good idea to complete a high pressure fuel pump upgrade prior to the intake/TIH install.

Check out an earlier post for details on how to determine whether your vehicle has adequate fuel pressure.  Even if it’s not completely necessary at your current power level this upgrade will allow you to continue down the upgrade path without worry of lean conditions that come with inadequate fuel pressure.

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The COBB Stage 2 Power Package adds the downpipe and cat-back exhaust to the equation.  This full turboback system also includes exhaust hangers to limit any unwanted movement of the exhaust.

Turboback Exhaust

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 Now that we’ve got the intake side of things flowing well, it’s time to open up the exhaust.  Not only will a turboback exhaust look good and sound even better, it will allow more free flowing air yielding greater power.  The turboback exhaust consists of the entire exhaust from the turbo to the rear of the vehicle.  The downpipe section (exhaust piece bolted to the turbo) comes in 2 pieces from the factory.  The upgraded COBB downpipe replaces both with a single section.   While there are some products which replace one of these two sections, replacing both pieces of the downpipe offers the most power gains and is required to run the compatible OTS map.  The remaining parts of the exhaust are included in the cat-back section.  The Stage 3 COBB OTS map requires the previously listed modifications as well as the full turboback.

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The COBB Stage 3 Package is the ultimate power bundle.  It adds the Front Mount Intercooler to all of the previous modifications.

Front Mount Intercooler

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Replacing the factory intercooler with a front mount intercooler (FMIC) is the last step for the basic bolt-on upgrades.  The factory top mount intercooler can easily be over worked and overheated due to its smaller size.  Couple the small size with its location directly over a hot engine and it’s no wonder this makes for a good upgrade.  These issues cause intake air temperatures to rise which create a loss in power.  With the COBB Tuning Front Mount Intercooler you can ensure that your engine is receiving the coolest possible air allowing more power to be made.  To take advantage of the lower intake air temperatures provided by the FMIC the proper calibration is only a few button presses away on the Accessport.

The recommendations after this level will vary depending on the goals you have.  Some goals can be reached through different fuels and custom tuning while others will need bigger turbos and additional modifications.  If you’re considering going beyond this list contact a COBB Shop or Protuner near you and they can help achieve your goals!






3 responses to “Mazdaspeed/MPS Optimal Upgrade Path”

  1. Nice write-up! I ended up doing most of this back when I had my speed 3 but in a different order. Now that I have a WRX, it would be great to see a similar upgrade path for that vehicle. I’m already stage 2 but maybe I’m missing something you would recommend for a more complete system. Thanks!

  2. If i have only the following mods: Apv3, rmm, sri, tih, do i need to do hpfp right now or can i wait till i do downpipe, located in Florida if that matters.

    • Hey Ryan, you -should- be okay with the factory HPFP in your current configuration. It is always good practice to keep an eye on rail fuel pressure to make sure it isn’t dropping during pulls. With the installation of an upgraded downpipe and moving to a Stage 2 OTS Map you should definitely upgrade the HPFP.


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