Titanium vs. Stainless Steel Exhaust: What’s the Difference?



Stainless Steel


When it comes to performance modifications for your vehicle, modifying the exhaust system ranks at or near the top of the list.  By opening up that exhaust flow, you’re able to gain performance, but perhaps even more importantly, gain the ability to conduct a symphony with your right foot.  The exhaust sound can be just as important as the performance itself.  We’ve previously talked about cat-back, turboback, and axle-back exhausts, and also explained the different types of downpipes.  Now, let’s get into exhaust materials.  Specifically, titanium vs stainless steel exhaust systems.

Titanium vs Stainless Steel Exhaust – Sound

We can’t talk about exhaust systems without talking about how they sound.  After all, it’s one of the most important aspects most of us consider when purchasing an aftermarket exhaust system.  Regardless of any additional benefits, if it sounds bad, most will pass on it.  Several titanium cat-backs can produce a certain ‘tinny’ exhaust note.  Luckily for us, both the titanium and stainless versions of the COBB exhaust systems sound great!  How, great?  You be the judge.

Below are sound check videos for a 2015+ Subaru STI equipped with a COBB Turboback exhaust.  One with titanium and one with a stainless steel cat-back installed.

COBB Titanium Cat-Back Sound Check

COBB Stainless Steel Cat-Back Sound Check

Titanium vs Stainless Steel Exhaust – Weight

The weight of the exhaust system is another important factor to consider.  Most aftermarket exhaust systems are developed with a larger diameter and thicker material over the stock unit.  This means more material.  And, that typically means more weight.  This increased weight is a small trade-off for the other benefits but is a trade-off none the less.  But, what if you could have all of the benefits and the exhaust actually be significantly lighter?  A titanium cat-back offers just that.

The COBB Titanium Exhaust is right at 24 pounds assembled.  This is less than half of the Stainless Steel counterpart!

We know from our “How to Make Your Car Faster” post that weight reduction is the easiest and most inexpensive way to make any car faster.  By dropping weight, you can improve your car’s acceleration without making any additional horsepower.

Consider some calculations to get an expected quarter-mile time to illustrate the impact of weight reduction.  We’ll use the equation ET = 6.269 (weight/hp)^1/3 (This is a widely used equation created by Roger Hunnington to estimate quarter-mile times).  Let’s use our 15+ Subaru STI from above as our example vehicle.

It weighs about 3500 pounds and has 305 horsepower at the flywheel.  Using the equation, we can expect it to take 13.816 seconds to get through the quarter-mile.  Using the same equation but dropping the weight down to 3400 pounds, that same 305 crank horsepower gets us to the finish line in only 13.683 seconds!  That’s over a tenth of a second (which is huge in drag racing) only by dropping 100 pounds!  If you kept that 100 pounds of weight it would take an additional 14 horsepower on our example vehicle to match that same time through the quarter-mile!

Titanium vs Stainless Steel Exhaust – Appearance



Nothing says “RACECAH!” quite like pie-cut titanium.  The COBB Titanium Cat-Back Exhaust is unmatched in build quality, style, and performance. Utilizing Grade 4 titanium tubing, this cat-back offers high corrosion resistance and protection from impacts. Back purging ensures quality welds that will not fail due to contamination. The entire system uses slip-fit connections, allowing for a wide range of adjustment. Blued titanium tips add a distinct touch and offer adjustability.  And yes, even the mufflers are made from titanium!

Stainless Steel


The COBB Stainless Steel cat-back is also a fantastic looking unit.  It is made from 304 stainless steel throughout the exhaust construction. All components are meticulously TIG welded for outstanding appearance and strength. Four custom exhaust tips fill the factory bumper cut-outs perfectly, protruding just enough to show off the COBB logos etched into the top of each polished tip. Perfect fitment is achieved with the Subaru factory downpipe or the COBB 3″ SS Downpipe. The COBB 3″ SS Cat-back Exhaust for the 2015+ Subaru WRX/STI is a triumph in design and execution. Install the COBB 3″ SS Cat-back Exhaust on your modified Subaru WRX/STI and experience performance like no other.


4 responses to “Titanium vs. Stainless Steel Exhaust: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Hi I’m interested in purchasing an exhaust for a 21 sti and was wondering if there are future plans to add a resonator to the titanium system or is it only available on the stainless?

  2. Hi,How much horsepower and torque increase should I expect from your 3 inch ss catback exhaust on my stock 2021 wrx.I just ordered this product from your website and can’t wait to receive it.

    • Hey Vinny! While the cat-back itself does not lead to any measurable power gains, it certainly adds to the driving experience with a nice, crisp exhaust note. Hope you enjoy the new exhaust, let us know what you think!


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