How To Achieve 400 WHP In Your Mazdaspeed

Today I want to share with you a simple blog on just one way of taking your Mazdaspeed to 400WHP. After checking out this blog, If you would like more in-depth information on upgrading your Mazdaspeed with more horsepower then check out 500 WHP post for Mazdaspeed 3.

Let’s Get Started

The MZR DISI engine in the Mazdaspeed platform has been around for just over 10 years now. CorkSport along with the community of racers, shops, and enthusiasts alike have learned quite a bit about these engines. We have learned what they like and what they don’t. How they react to certain mods, how to maintain them, and also some of their weak points. We also learned how to take this platform well over 400 WHP.

We recently hit 684 whp with the CST6 Mazdaspeed Turbo — Check it out here.

Among the many things we have learned, we have developed a great understanding of what is needed to get these engines to make power. More specifically, with the right set of bolt-on parts and tuning one can easily and safely make 400WHP on a stock bottom end of your Mazdaspeed 3 or Mazdaspeed 6. The torque will just need to be kept under control.

It’s not a secret or rocket science on how to achieve this power level in a Mazdaspeed3 or Mazdaspeed6, and it is very much doable.

Stock Red Mazdaspeed3
Stock Mazdaspeed3


There are certainly many variables that can come into play when trying to achieve 400WHP safely, such as the health of your engine, quality of engine tune, octane rating of fuel, engine management software and more. This is by no means an all-inclusive guide and the only way of making this level of power. However, this is a tried and tested method of making high power safely and reliably. We come from years of experience doing it ourselves and helping the community with their Mazdas as well. We have spent years and years developing this platform and continue to do so on a daily basis. What I aim to do is educate you on how you can make the most out of your MZR engine.

Necessary Upgrades To Make 400WHP

Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, there are two modifications that are a must before going down the 400whp quest. Those are high-pressure fuel pump internals and a tuning solution such as those provided by COBB or VersaTuner. These parts do not inherently increase hp and tq levels, but they are 100% necessary to give you most out of your hard part modifications and do so with safe and reliable power. A high-quality tune is worth every penny, and when paired with things such as an intake or exhaust, you can capitalize even more so your parts and net more horsepower.

Understanding the DISI MZR 2.3T

The DISI MZR 2.3T is not much different than any other gasoline direct injected engine that you would find on any modern automobile. Here is how it operates:

  • Air goes into your Mazdaspeed.
  • Air is combined with the correct ratio of fuel.
  • The air/fuel mixture gets compressed.
  • A spark event occurs that ignites a controlled burn.
  • This event forces the piston downwards.
  • Exhaust gases then leave the Mazda.
  • The cycle repeats.

So in an oversimplified matter, that is all an internal combustion engine is – a glorified air pump with more bells and whistles. One of the best ways to make a really effective air pump is to optimize the movement of air into and out of the cylinders. For that reason, it’s best to start at the front and back of our car to help give it a little breathing room.

Intake & Exhaust

Mazdaspeed 3 Power Series 3.5" Intake

Mazdaspeed3 Power Series 3.5″ Intake

It’s no secret that an intake and exhaust system are among the most popular first upgrades for any vehicle, and it’s for a good reason. Letting air in and out of the engine as easily as we can is a great first step to create more power. Doing this will free up restrictions with the manufacturer parts, especially on a factory turbocharged vehicle. OEM parts are by and large designed with emissions regulations and pricing priorities, rather than performance.

Upgrading your Mazdaspeed to a 3” or 3.5” intake and pairing it with a turbo-back exhaust will create the airflow efficiency that we need to reach 400 WHP. We’re able to do this by increasing the exhaust pipe diameter and either eliminating our catalytic converter or replacing it with a high-flow race cat. By increasing the efficiency of airflow from entry through the exit, the engine is effectively working less to produce the same amount of power.

By adding an intake and exhaust to your Mazdaspeed, you can net an easy 50+ whp when paired with the proper tune. As you continue down the modification road, you’ll find that this is the most effective dollars spent to horsepower ratio. Now that we are able to take more of the power stroke, we can focus on getting more power to the wheels, rather than letting it be consumed by byproducts such as waste heat, noise, and vibration.

Mazdaspeed3 Exhaust Setup
Mazdaspeed3 Exhaust Setup

Intercooler & Turbo

Another great way to make more power with your Mazdaspeed, and to get closer to 400whp, is to increase the level of boost pressure running through the engine. OEM boost levels are around the 14-15 PSI. But once we have our intake and exhaust installed on our Mazdaspeed, our tuning solution can allow us to start increasing that level into the 19-21 range.

A natural byproduct of increasing the pressure within the system is a corresponding rise in air temperature. To be able to make the most of the increased boost levels, it’s important to keep the temperature at a lower level. To do this, you’ll want to upgrade to a larger top mount intercooler (TMIC), or even go a step further and upgrade to a large front mount intercooler (FMIC) core.

The intercoolers primary function is to act as a heat exchanger, and we know that heat is the #1 roadblock for any engine to make more power. The more efficiently we can remove heat from the system, the more power we can create safely and reliably. We should also note that the stock TMIC in the Mazdaspeed platform is a terrible bottleneck in the system so this will free up extra flow.

Mazdaspeed Front Mount Intercooler
Mazdaspeed Front Mount Intercooler

Now that we have a good way of getting air into, out of, and keeping it cool at the same time, we want to increase the total volume. An easy way to do this is by upgrading the turbocharger in your Mazdaspeed. This is an easy process that replaces your factory k04 and creates the potential to throw down some serious power. When you reach this point in your build, you open up options on how to proceed:

  1. Make the same power on less boost
  2. Make more power on the same boost
  3. Make way more power on WAY more boost!!!

If we are shooting for 400whp on our Mazdaspeed, then we generally like to choose door #3.


Side note: We highly suggest / possibly need a 3.5 bar MAP sensor and an electronic boost control solenoid (or EBCS). Once we start to increase our boost pressures north of 21psi, the OEM electronics begin to lose resolution and can negatively affect our tuning if not addressed.

By upgrading our MAP sensor we are allowing the powertrain control module (PCM) to recognize and look up higher boost targets than those equipped from the OEM unit. With this upgrade, the computer can now accurately record and look up these values. We also upgrade our electronic boost control solenoid (EBCS) to allow more fine-tuning of our maps and boost targets. An OEM EBCS just won’t allow us as fine of control of our boost pressure, which can result in some headaches as we approach higher horsepower levels.

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The Finishing Touches To Reach 400 WHP

With the above combination of mods and proper tuning on a healthy engine, a medium frame turbo on pump gas can get you into the 330-340whp range. If we go another step further, we will open up more ‘breathing’ mods such as the intake manifold, taller lift camshafts, or a larger throttle body. This will stretch us into the 350-360 whp range.

That being said without the help of e85 or aux fueling we can’t go any closer to our 400whp mark. We simply hit the limits of the Mazdaspeed factory fuel system and need to look into upgrading that system as well.

Making the switch over to e85 allows us to get in the 380 range, but we soon run out of fuel injector headroom in the Mazdaspeed at this point and max out our injector duty cycle. We then have to look at aux fueling (Meth or Port Injection) as a solution to get us to our 400whp mark safely. What’s unfortunate is that at this point we are also looking at upgrading our hard parts such as our in-tank fuel pump to keep up with demand if you plan to run PI. There are quite a few options for AUX fueling which are beyond the scope of this blog.

Now, as mentioned this is not the only way of making these power levels, but it could be said that it is one of the easiest and most popular. It’s important to remember that along the way we supplement the engine with other supporting mods to ensure we are safe and can make full use of our power. Things like lower heat range spark plugs and a stage 2 rear engine mount can go a long way.

Thanks for following along and feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions or want some more specific information on a product.

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34 Replies to “How To Achieve 400 WHP In Your Mazdaspeed”

  1. I thought there are internals needed such as forged pistons and rods to get above 320 hp – not even whp…

  2. The stock block can usually handle up to 400 whp before it gets into the danger zone, as long as you keep the torque down low.
    Rods and pistons will be required to go over 400 torque

  3. How would you even be getting close to 400 on stock fuel system without e85? I am on 93 with CS Turbo and all supporting mods besides intake mani and exhaust mani. I am at 325 / 325 and starting to run out of fuel. Even if I was to ragged edge the timing I would not be getting close to 400 whp. I am running veratune and curious what magic you are performing to see these numbers. I am not saying it can’t be done but a reliable DD tune with that kind of numbers from stock fuel seems unlikely.

  4. This is a bit big of a question to answer in a quick reply here. Please give us a call directly and we can definitely talk you through it!
    360 260 2675

  5. I have a 2013 MS3. I know that number of 400hp is achievable. In fall of 2017, I had the distinct pleasure of doing a 30km/hr start race vs a corvette C5. I couldn’t beat him, but he couldn’t beat me either. We stayed side by side till about 220km/hr. We both called it off there as there was traffic a lil ways down the hwy. I know what a c5 makes for power, and I figure I must be putting out at least 400whp. But the real kicker is the torque. Well into the 600s. I have some mods, but writing my own engine maps gave me easily 80hp and 120lb/ft of torque alone! I was running on 94 10% ethanol, pump gas. I know I’m just on the verge of over advancing the ignition too much, but it felt real good to hang with a vette!!

  6. im am running exactly the same mods except the intake manifold, and im runnin 340whp at 18 psi. we did 1 run at 20 psi we did 350whp but it was a hot day last summer so we uploaded the 18psi tune. i dont have ebcs or map sensor either, im still on those oem and it awesome so far.ALL HAIL CORKSPORTS.

  7. Can be done. With meth and 50% e85 it can go more, my best is at 435 WHP. No KR’s , its all in the tune at 24psi CS turbo with all the bolt ons. Timing at 18 deg advance. Dont know how long it will last but. I have all internals ready for a rebuild with 4032 pistons and rods. This is why I’m kinda experimenting before I rebuild.

  8. I have all the prerequisites listed and a couple more in regard to the CS suggestions.
    Actually have the CS turbo in place . My intake manifold has bung for meth. Also have a race header in place with my 2008 versions of 3″ TBE, both HF cat and race pipe from the fine folks at Corksport.

    Upgrading injector seals might be added to the list ?

    Good to know Mark ! I expect to shoot for for 400 with what i have in place currently this spring summer. The E tuner i am using has proven it is doable, repeatable and can be done safely. Nice write up !!

  9. Im stock turbo, full turbo back,tmic,intake and tip and im making nearly 325 hp and tons of torque tuned by the mad scientist Justin Freek. If i were you, i would get a good tuner in order to get the best out of your mods

  10. As long as you have enough fuel, cylinder cooling, and a turbo that can support it, many folks have hit 500whp on stock block, no problem. The issues is torque management, especially down low. Keeping it below 400 (or even 380, for some more safety) is key.

  11. You’re right Zack, 500hp is achievable. Keeping the torque down tho??? Why would you do that? I press my engine to the max but use 2 engine oil friction modifiers. Another in the tranny. I quite easily produce in the tang of 450-750lb/ft of torque. It’s been a lil hard on the rod bearings, but that’s all that’s happened on my 5yr old 155,000km motor. Boost is 24psi at peak in 3rd and fourth gear. By maf readings and conversions, it is approximately 400hp. That’s with a mild tune. I’ve got easily 2000, yup that’s right 2000, hours of tuning and researching of engine map settings. I run 94 octane plus a octane booster (Boostane) to bring it up to 98-100 octane. The ignition advance is very heavy and I rely hard on a knock sensor and my ears for spark control. This is all done on the stock turbo, intake/exhaust manifolds and a tmic (about 4” thick mind you) with a home made ram/cold air intake. If you’re wanting more street grip…255/35r18 tires match exactly on the speedometer as stock ones do (Gen 2). Took 0-60mph time from 6.2 to 5.4 seconds…or better, as I didn’t get a chance to play much last summer.

  12. Exactly, lower torque lower in the powerband due to how engine physics works and creates stresses on the rods. 380wtq @ 2.5k rpms is MUCH harder on the rods than 380wtq at 4.5k, for instance.

  13. intake, intercooler, turbo back exhaust and a good 91 or e85 would get me to a good 340whp? and how much would this cost me? I currently have a 2010 mazdaspeed 3 and am shooting for 300+ whp without changing anything big suck internals or turbo for now. looking for just bolt ons and a good tune, any recommendations???

  14. I have a 2012 speed3 and u feel like my car not makeing any boose pressure it feels like my car doses have a turbo at all what should check for ?? What should I do need help

  15. Is there anything more you can do to a 2.0L 2011 Mazda with an automatic transmission besides intake and exhaust? I’m not hoping to get anything like these kind of gains, as I know you can’t just slap a turbo onto an automatic, but I’d like just a noticeable increase in vroom.

  16. Unfortunately we don’t have much else for engine performance. Having an intake, exhaust, and tune will help quite a bit though. You may also be to source a header, but we do not sell one.

  17. Well E85 is roughly equivalent to 108 octane fuel. You do lose some fueling as more fuel is required to achieve proper combustion.

    Still, that’s a significant upgrade to the 93 you are using.

  18. We made with the Stock Turbo and a great Ignition Table in the Map on 1.3bar peak and 1.25bar holding pressure 355 Engine HP. (EU 98Octane)

    Then with E85 with Stock Turbo 404 Engine HP.

    Intake, Top Mount Intercooler, High Pressure Pump Internals Upgrade, Downpipe and Selfmade Exhaust.

    The Torque was limited on 500Nm because of stock internals.

    There is NO Number of torque that you can say so much will my mazda can handle.

    Some Rods break at 480Nm (Engine) some hold over 520Nm for years.

    The Rods are really small so this is the dangerous Part.

    The next problem is that the Stock Injectors are at a Limit on some Point.

    Then we need to go for a pre-injection before.

    So we always tune until about 480Nm of Engine Torque. Just to be safe.

    And we never make that Peak Tuning. We always make a flat courve, so the engine have power from early until the rev limiter.

    All the Boost Tuners have after the Boost Peak no more Power.

    Greetings from North Europe

  19. I just bought my ms6. Gave it some basic tlc + suspension. I’m beyond excited to actually work on a car that has potential. This is where I’m at crossroads. I think doing the 400hp mods listed above seem doable, however I was researching a stage 2 700hp long block.

    Either way you’re going to be spending, ball park 3,500-4,000 on these mods. May as well just replace the motor at this point correct? I’m not trying to run 700hp I’d be content with 500. I’m a novice builder. My question is can the stock and support this? Intake, plugs, exhaust, fmic, suspension, rear end, shafts, that should about donor, right?

  20. hey everyone, ive got the 2.5L mazda 3 gen 2 with only a xforce catback. But im looking to push the motor a little with some mods but idk what to do that isnt too extreme.

  21. “So u don’t need a downpipe for 400hp’

    Scroll up. Note that ‘turbo back’ exhaust is mentioned. This is a downpipe and a catback together.

  22. I have a stock 09 MS3 but It need an engine so should I just get a built engine or another stock one?

  23. Hey guys!
    So I am about to receive an access port, hpfp internals, high flow catted downpipe, and a bov. I currently have an intake and once I install everything I’ll be looking for a good tune. I am planning to put it on a dyno. With those modifications in mind, how much whp do you think I’ll be able to push realistically, and is there any other modifications I would need before putting it on a dyno? Let me know! 🙂

  24. Give us a call, Zach is a tech Wizard for the Speed 3. 360-260-2675 and he can make sure you are solid.

  25. The cork sports author clearly states that it might have to be run on something better than E85 like pure ethanol. He also goes on to say that the fuel pump needs modification. So I hope this doesn’t come off as condescending but I think what you’re missing is a fuel pump modification.

  26. Hi question I have 08 mazdaspeed 3 with cai system,turbo inlet pipe,cork sport fuel pump internals,down pipe with no cat just probly race pipe aftermarket muffler previous owner had installed but I passed emissions with some tweaking.So everything else pretty much stock except my Cobb tuner on a pre installed map 17 psi can you guys help me tune her just feel like it needs some tuning.

  27. Hey Stephen, thanks for reaching out. We really appreciate your support and love the mods. We at CorkSport do not tune cars but there are three major tuners. Freektune, DramaTuned, and PD-Tuning. Any of these guys would be able to take care of you.

  28. What CST4 can do with stock everything?
    I’m got one just for oem replacement.
    Since I need to tune it anyway so why not get some extra power if it’s easy

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