When I first bought my speed, I had zero knowledge of the MZR platform, and turbo cars in general. I’ve owned my Mazdaspeed for almost three years now and have learned a lot. Since I bought the car, I’ve met many awesome people and turned it into a fully bolted machine. I’ve learned a lot about my car and what it takes to reach certain goals with it. Building the car has been very rewarding, but meeting new faces along the way has been just as enjoyable. Other people have taught me a lot about my personal goals and where I want to stand with the Mazda community. That being said, I’ve turned myself into the type of person that’s always willing to give advice when it’s needed.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned from talking with other Mazdaspeed owners is that everyone sits at a different power level and has different functions they use their car for. One of the biggest questions I see in the Mazdaspeed community is whether or not someone should consider a custom tune. The answer to that question is yes.
The OTS maps that come preloaded are definitely a decent upgrade over the stock mapping, but you don’t really know what the car can do until you actually make small tweaks. That’s where it makes a big difference. Seeing increased boost levels makes you think your car is much faster, but how much faster is it actually going to be? Most of the Stage II maps allow you to run around 17-18 pounds of boost, which is definitely a decent increase, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not until you get a custom tune that you realize how much more you can get from your Mazdaspeed.
Why you should get a custom tune:
The biggest reason is so your car can be tailored to all of the modifications you’ve done. I like to look at it like a suit. If you bought a suit from a store without having any alterations made, the suit would fit, but it wouldn’t fit well. If you were to get every part of your body measured, then the suit would fit perfectly. That’s the way I look at OTS maps versus custom tunes. The OTS maps will work, but not that well. A custom tune will be tweaked for every modification you’ve done, which means the car will run perfectly with maximum performance.
Additionally, a custom tune will make sure your car doesn’t sacrifice reliability. It will allow you to unlock the true potential of your car without having any huge issues with the motor. There are a handful of tuners that maximize performance without sacrificing reliability. Here are a few popular tuners on the market, in alphabetical order not based on preference.
These are some of the most popular tuners that the Mazdaspeed platform uses. Any of these would be a great choice.
I’d suggest getting a custom tune once you reach a certain point of modding. If you order the CorkSport Turbo Back Exhaust, CorkSport Front Mount Intercooler, and CorkSport Big Intake, then you should definitely get a custom tune to maximize performance. Pick the one that sounds best to you and go for it!
My car has been on a custom tune from Purple Drank Tuning for almost two years now. During the 20k miles I’ve driven in the last two years, my car and turbo has been pushed to the limit for the stock KO4 turbo. I was tuned on E85 running around 23 pounds of boost, and tracking the car at any chance I could. Some people ask how the heck my motor or turbo hasn’t crapped itself out yet. I can honestly say the reason she still runs well and pulls just as hard as when I first starting modding, is because of good maintenance and having a great tuner to make sure the car runs the way it should.