The Subaru BRZ has earned a cult following among driving enthusiasts thanks to its nimble handling and throaty engine note. While the stock 2.0L boxer 4-cylinder provides exhilarating acceleration, many BRZ owners crave even more power. This is where turbochargers come in. By forcing compressed air into the combustion chamber, turbos allow you to extract significantly more horsepower from your engine.
With BRZ turbo kits exploding in popularity, you may be tempted to install a turbo kit on your BRZ. But not all kits are created equal. You'll want to carefully consider compatibility, performance goals, and budget when shopping for a BRZ turbo system. This guide will walk you through the pros and cons of turbocharging your Subaru and provide tips when considering the various BRZ turbo kits available today.
With so many turbo kits on the market for the BRZ, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your needs. We selected the following options as the top-rated systems based on key factors like proven performance gains, everyday drivability, and reliability, affordability for different budgets, quality of components, and feedback from experienced BRZ owners. These turbocharger packages represent the best bang for your buck from respected brands that BRZ enthusiasts have tested and vouched for. Whether you’re seeking max boost on a built engine or a mild yet refined turbo upgrade for your daily, one of these top-rated kits will get you the results you want. Time to explore the forced induction options and start planning your turbo BRZ build!
The WORKS Stage 1 Turbo Kit delivers big boost with minimal fuss. Retaining your factory airbox, exhaust manifold, and catalytic converter results in a true bolt-on experience. The kit utilizes a Garrett GT28 turbo and thermal coated up- and downpipes to produce gains of around 70hp and 50 lb-ft of torque on 91 octane fuel. With the turbo mounted rearward, balance and handling are maintained. The short, efficient intake piping and intercooler minimize pressure loss for excellent boost response. If you're seeking a straightforward ~35% carb-compliant power gain that transforms your BRZ while retaining a refined OEM+ look, the WORKS Stage 1 Turbo Kit is tough to beat.
For a substantial power increase across the entire RPM range, consider the Tomioka Racing Turbo Kit. Its billet TD05-20G turbo features a special compressor wheel for maximized airflow and a billet wastegate actuator to hold higher boost at redline. The kit nets over 130 additional horses thanks to the turbo's superior spooling and flow characteristics. It includes all necessary components like the exhaust manifold, downpipe, front mount intercooler, intake, and associated hardware for a complete turbocharged transformation. If you want huge gains with the bold look of a front-mounted intercooler, the Tomioka Racing Turbo Kit has you covered.
When the prestigious HKS name is attached, you know performance is serious business. The HKS GTIII-RS Bolt-On Turbo Kit engineered specifically for the 86/BRZ/FR-S utilizes an optimized GTIII-RS ball bearing turbo to reliably generate ~350hp on a stock FA20, or up to ~450hp on a built motor. The kit contains all hard parts required for installation, though engine management and larger injectors must be purchased separately. With HKS's meticulous Japanese engineering, the GTIII-RS turbine perfectly matches the 2.0L engine. If you demand the quality and performance that HKS is renowned for, this HKS GTIII-RS Bolt-On Turbo Kit delivers.
Full Blown Motorsports brings boost to the masses with their budget-friendly FBM Stage 1 Base Turbo Kit. Using cost-effective CNC bent piping and cast intercooler end tanks, it knocks the price down substantially compared to their premium kit while still packing a powerful forced induction punch. With your choice of capable 50-trim, 57 trim, or GTX28 turbocharger, gains of 400+ horsepower are possible. And supporting mods like 550cc injectors and a 270LPH fuel pump come standard. If you want affordable, no-frills forced induction that transforms your BRZ's performance, check out Full Blown Motorsports Stage 1 Base Turbo Kit.
JDL's V2.1 Turbo Kit provides a customizable forced-induction solution for spiking your BRZ/FR-S/86's power. With diverse turbo options ranging from the capable Journal Bearing GT28 up to the GTX30 series, output from 250hp to 500+hp is attainable. The stainless steel equal-length or unequal-length turbo manifold, aluminum intake, and bar/plate intercooler are top-notch. Oil and coolant plumbing components make installation straightforward. Options for the intake route, thermal coating, and wastegate recirculation allow you to tailor the system to your needs. If you want a quality turbo kit with flexibility, the JDL's V2.1 Turbo Kit delivers.
As one of the most affordable and customizable turbo kits available, the FT86MS Turbo Kit is a great option for boosting your BRZ/FR-S/86. The GT2860RS turbo at its heart can support up to 400hp, while the stainless steel manifold and downpipe boast professional TIG welding for durability. The kit uses v-bands for quick turbo and wastegate mounting. And you can upgrade to a bigger turbo later without replacing the whole system. With options for thermal coating, wastegate plumbing, and more, it's highly configurable too. For a customizable turbo system at a fair price, the FT86MS Turbo Kit checks all the boxes.
GReddy adds the Garrett GTX-R turbo line to their Tuner Turbo Kit for the FR-S/BRZ/86, taking performance to the next level. The GReddy GPP Tuner Turbo Kit is highlighted by a beastly GTX2871R turbo capable of 340-560hp. To match, a large center-mounted GReddy intercooler and all engine bay components are included. It's ideal for stock or built engines, letting you push serious boost. When you want max power from a name synonymous with turbocharging, GReddy’s GPP Tuner Turbo Kit brings it in spades.
For a refined daily-driven turbo BRZ, check out AVO Base Turbo Kit. Its AVO18/49 billet turbo makes a factory-smooth 300hp and 201 lb-ft of torque on pump gas. The turbo looks deceptively stock and is paired to a stainless unequal-length manifold and ceramic-coated downpipe. An aluminum front mount intercooler retains a subtle look while cooling the compressed intake charge. With extensive testing for durability and drivability, AVO’s Base Turbo Kit transforms your ride into a secret sleeper.
P&L Motorsports breaks new ground for 86 forced induction with their Stage 1 Turbo Kit. It centers on an in-house spec'ed billet wheel Precision turbo and equal length stainless manifold, both race-proven. The kit attaches cleanly to the stock exhaust and intake systems for true bolt-on convenience. With hand fabrication honed over a decade and the latest technology, P&L's Stage 1 system delivers uncompromising power and reliability. For the new benchmark in off-the-shelf turbocharger systems, the P&L Motorsports Stage 1 Turbo Kit kit hits the mark.
The SME FBOMB T3 Turbo Kit brings boost to your BRZ/FR-S/86 with a tuner-friendly design. It's core components include a FA20 spec T3 turbo, FMIC, stainless manifold, and downpipe offer stout forced induction hardware. Yet the kit retains a simplified bolt-on approach for ease of installation. With SME's years of turbocharger experience on these cars, the SME FBOMB Turbo Kit provides a proven performance upgrade if you want more street and light track capability without going all-in on a built motor.
A turbocharger uses exhaust gasses to spin a turbine that drives a compressor wheel. This compressor pressurizes intake air before it enters the engine, allowing more fuel to be combusted per stroke. The result is a major boost in horsepower and torque.
Going turbo offers enticing benefits for BRZ owners:
However, turbocharging also comes with tradeoffs. Turbo lag at low RPM can make power delivery nonlinear. Fuel economy and emissions may suffer. And of course, there are costs associated with buying and installing a kit. Do your homework before committing.
With power potential unlocked, which turbo kit should you choose? Here are key factors to consider:
Given the intricacies of turbo system installation, having a professional shop complete the swap is advisable. Their expertise allows the work to be finished faster with fewer issues. You benefit from dyno tuning, pre- and post-install inspections, and a labor warranty. While pricier, professional turbo kit installation gives peace of mind.
Before installing your new turbo kit, prep your BRZ to ensure a smooth process. Check and change fluids, inspect engine bay hoses/clamps, remove the skid plate, and clear sufficient workspace. Have necessary tools like jacks, sockets, wrenches, and pry bars on hand. Review the kit instructions and get any specialty supplies mentioned. Allow several days for completion - turbo system installation is complex.
With preparation finished, it's time for installation. Remove factory intake and exhaust components that will be replaced. Fit the new stainless manifold, connecting it to the turbo feed and outlet pipes. Mount intercooler and associated piping in position. Install oil/coolant feed lines for the turbocharger. Swap in new injectors, fuel pump, and intake. Connect all sensors, hoses, and hardware. Finish by loading the custom tune onto your BRZ's engine management. Expect the process to take 15-30 hours for first-timers. Take your time.
Once boosted, stay diligent with BRZ maintenance. Closely monitor oil - change it regularly and top off between changes. Inspect charge piping for leaks or cracks. Check turbo bolts and clamps for proper torque spec. Change spark plugs at shorter intervals. Keep an eye on engine bay temperatures.
Some common turbo BRZ problems include oil starvation at high RPM, premature turbo failure due to restricted oil supply, boost/oil leaks as clamps loosen over time, and melted intake components. Solutions involve added oil cooling, correctly sized feed lines, securing clamps, and heat shielding. Work with your tuner to optimize parameters and nip issues in the bud.
When turbocharging your BRZ, an oil cooler kit becomes vital. The added heat and pressure from forced induction strains the stock oil cooling system. An external oil cooler with dedicated filter, thermometer, and lines properly cools oil to ensure longevity of engine components. Look for a kit that mounts discretely and uses a high-flow core and fan for maximum cooling capacity. With an oil cooler kit, your turbo BRZ's engine stays healthy handling the extra power. Don't turbocharge without this essential supporting mod!
Pairing your turbo BRZ with a catback exhaust enhances turbo sound while boosting power. Go with a 2.5-3" system in stainless steel or titanium for flow and endurance. Look for mufflers that reduce the drone without sacrificing tone. A quality catback exhaust makes good power gains and gives your turbo BRZ an aggressive exhaust note.Need help finding the perfect exhaust? Check out our complete Subaru BRZ Catback Exhaust Guide!
If you favor linear power delivery over big boost peaks, a BRZ supercharger kit is appealing. Roots-style and centrifugal kits are available, with the latter providing more peak power. Dialed BRZ supercharger kits deliver 300+ wheel horsepower reliably when tuned properly. Just know that blower whine may not suit all tastes.
For maximum airflow to your turbo, we recommend upgrading your BRZ's air intake system. Look for sealed systems with a large conical filter, smooth piping, and inlet scoop to isolate the filter from engine bay heat. This supports turbo performance while adding underhood eye candy. Be sure to check out our complete Subaru BRZ Air Intake Guide for a comprehensive breakdown of the best air intakes on the market today!
With the right complementary mods and attentive maintenance, your turbocharged BRZ will provide huge performance for the long haul. A bit of boost will completely transform your Subaru!
Of all the capable BRZ turbo kits out there, a few stand out as truly top-notch options. The JDL V2.1 Turbo Kit offers unrivaled customization and power potential thanks to diverse turbo and finish options. Those seeking a refined OEM+ turbocharger system will appreciate AVO's Base Kit. For big power on a budget, the Full Blown Motorsports entry-level kit delivers. The HKS GTIII-RS system pairs renowned Japanese engineering with the latest Garrett turbo tech.
Adding a turbo kit is a great way to transform your BRZ's performance, with potential power gains of 100hp or more. But keep in mind installation complexity, added maintenance, and strain on the FA20 when opting for a turbo kit. Select a turbo system that matches your goals and budget. With supporting mods and responsible tuning, a turbocharged BRZ will provide exciting speed for years.
BRZ turbo kits range from about $3,000 on the low end for basic bolt-on systems to over $7,000 for cutting-edge setups utilizing billet components and large turbochargers. Figure $4,500 as an average price point.
Most turbo BRZs see a minor 1-2 mpg drop in fuel economy since you can drive conservatively without spooling the turbo. Highway mileage may even improve. Aggressive driving will have a greater impact on mpg though.
While advanced DIYers can install BRZ turbo kits themselves, the complexity involved makes professional shop installation recommended for most. The labor cost adds peace of mind.
Closely monitor oil, inspect for leaks/damage, change spark plugs frequently, keep an eye on engine bay temperatures, and work with your tuner to optimize the system. Added maintenance is required when turbocharged.