The Downpipe Upgrades for the Ford Focus ST. If you read our guide to the 5 best Ford Focus ST mods, you’ll know that downpipes are among the best ST upgrades. A downpipe that promotes greater airflow and less restriction should result in significant power and performance gains. Downpipe upgrades also provide a number of additional advantages. This article discusses the benefits of a Focus ST downpipe upgrade, power gains, and other topics. We also suggest a few of the best 2.0 EcoBoost downpipe mods available.
*The Ford Focus ST used the 2.0 Ecoboost engine from 2012 to 2018. The Focus ST began using the 2.3 Ecoboost engine in 2019. For the sake of our readers’ convenience, this article will discuss both engine types, and much of the information applies to both. However, our primary focus for downpipe recommendations is on models with the 2.0L engine from 2012 to 2018.
What exactly is a downpipe?
A downpipe (DP) is simply the first component of the post-turbo exhaust system; it connects directly to the turbocharger on the Focus ST. The exhaust gases from the turbine housing are directed into the exhaust system by a downpipe. Many turbocharged engines, such as the Ford 2.0 and 2.3 EcoBoost, incorporate a catalytic converter (cat) in the downpipe. OEM cats are great for emissions, but they also generate a lot of backpressure, which is a significant restriction on a turbo engine.
Reducing back pressure is critical to improving turbo engine performance. More on that in the following section. Anyway, because the downpipe connects directly to the turbo, it’s frequently the most important part of the exhaust. In comparison to the rest of the exhaust (excluding the turbo), an upgraded Focus ST downpipe will provide the most power gains.
Advantages of a Focus ST Downpipe Upgrade
There are numerous advantages to upgrading the downpipe on your Ford Focus ST. The primary goal of an upgraded downpipe is to reduce backpressure and improve exhaust gas flow. An upgraded downpipe can significantly reduce backpressure, improving the performance of the Ford Focus ST. The following are some of the potential advantages of upgrading your downpipe:
- Gains of 10-25 whp
- Gains of 10-25 wtq
- A faster turbo spool improved turbo efficiency and reduced
- EGTs (exhaust temperatures)
- Possible louder exhaust tone
Focus ST downpipe mods can produce gains of 10-25whp and 10-25wtq. With no other modifications, you’ll most likely see gains on the lower end. With a tune and other supporting mods, a DP could provide gains of 20+ horsepower and torque. Cat-free vs. high-flow Downpipes for 2.0 EcoBoost engines are also important for horsepower gains. We’ll save that for the next section because it’s a longer discussion.
Again, one of the primary goals of downpipes is to reduce back pressure. Lowering back pressure increases the speed of the exhaust gas. As a result, the turbo can spool faster and produce more peak boost. The reduction also helps to lower EGTs, which is beneficial to turbo and engine health.
Sound may also play a role in deciding whether or not to upgrade your Focus ST 2.0 downpipe. Downpipes, in general, provide a noticeable increase in sound during cold starts and WOT. There will most likely be a deeper, more aggressive exhaust note. On warm idle and normal cruising, the difference in sound is minimal to non-existent.
Catless 2.0 EcoBoost vs High-Flow Downpipe
It’s also important to distinguish between the two types of Focus ST downpipes: catless and high-flow cats. Catless downpipes do not have any kind of catalytic converter. Remember that the main purpose of a downpipe is to reduce back pressure, and the main restriction is a cat. As a result, a Focus ST catless downpipe provides the most power, torque, and spool. Catless DPs are also less expensive because catalytic converters are very expensive to manufacture.
As a result, catless downpipes are less expensive and perform better. What exactly are high-flow catted DPs, and why do they exist? A high-flow option employs a cat that is less restrictive than the OEM downpipe. This allows you to reap all of the previously mentioned benefits. However, it is less severe than a catless downpipe. You’ll probably only get half the power and torque as you would with a catless DP.
The Focus ST high-flow downpipe upgrades have the advantage of passing visual inspections. They’re also likely to pass sniffer tests and other emissions tests. However, it is not a guarantee. Furthermore, even if they pass emissions testing, high-flow downpipes are still considered illegal in the United States.
Finally, if you prioritize performance over all else, you should consider catless downpipes. If emissions are an issue, high-flow downpipes may be the better choice. Again, for street-legal Focus STs in the United States, either upgrade is technically illegal.
Engines for the Ford Focus ST
The differences between the Focus ST 2.0 and 2.3 Ecoboost engines will be examined in this section. We’ll also look at the various years and body styles that come with each engine type. Because of its popularity and production run, this article will once again focus heavily on the 2.0 Ecoboost. However, much of this information may be useful to drivers or those interested in the 2.3 Focus ST.
Only minor changes to the body styling and weight were made in 2018, with the engine size changing from a 2.0 Ecoboost to a 2.3 Ecoboost engine. The third generation (models from 2012 to 2018) only had a six-speed manual transmission. The fourth-generation Ford Focus ST was available with both a six-speed manual and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The fourth generation’s body styles were modified to have a more aggressive stance, headlights, and overall body aesthetic.
If you haven’t already, check out our top 5 Best Upgrade articles for the Ford 2.0 Boost. Also, be sure to read our previous article on the Best Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost Bolt-On Performance Upgrades. These guides should provide some additional information for those looking to upgrade their Ford Focus ST 2.0 or 2.3.
Best Downpipeqs for the Focus ST 2.0 EcoBoost
Let’s get started with some of the best Focus ST 2.0 downpipe upgrades. Please keep in mind that there are numerous excellent upgrades available, and we do not have time to cover them all. This is just a quick rundown of three options that we believe provide an excellent balance of price, quality, fitment, and performance. Some of these options are also available for the 2019+ Focus ST 2.3 EcoBoost engine, but they are not the same fitment.
1) Catted Focus ST CVF Downpipe
Fits the following models: 2013-2018 Focus ST
CVF is a growing company that many people have mentioned as a reputable company in online forms. They are well-known for their combination of high-quality products and reasonable pricing. The CVF high-flow downpipe is made of 304 stainless steel, just like the other options. In this downpipe, they use a 400 cell cat (higher cell is more restrictive), so it’s on the restrictive end. Gains of 7-15whp are likely, similar to the Cobb catted downpipe.
At $425, the CVF Focus ST downpipe is an excellent high-flow option. Unless you’re willing to sacrifice quality or other factors, a catted downpipe doesn’t get much cheaper. This catted downpipe is currently available for $425 through the CVF Fabrication website.
2) Focus ST 2.0 COBB GESI Catted 3″ Downpipe
Fits the following models: 2013-2018 Focus ST
Those familiar with engine tuning and upgrades are probably familiar with the name COBB. They’re a major player in the industry and produce some high-quality performance parts. However, you are also paying a premium for their brand name and image. Cobb charges $725 for their 3″ catted downpipe for 2013-2018 ST models. A portion of this cost can be attributed to the high-quality, streamlined 300-cell catalytic converter.
As a 300 cell catted downpipe, you may only see gains in the 5-15whp range. Again, exact gains are dependent on many factors such as tuning and other supporting mods. Anyway, there’s not much else to say about the COBB 3′′ Focus ST downpipe. It’s a solid option from a reputable brand, but the price tag will be difficult for many to swallow. As a result, we’ll move on to some more cost-effective options next.
Related : The 6.4 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers
3) CNT Racing 2.0 EcoBoost 3′′ Catless Downpipe
Fits the following models: 2013-2019 Focus ST
The CNT Racing is currently available for a much lower price of $250, but as previously stated, this is due to the catless status (lack of legal catalytic converter necessary and mandated by many state laws.) The CNT Racing 3′′ downpipe for the Focus ST is constructed of high-quality 304 stainless steel. It also has a flex section to ensure quality fitment and function for many years.
If you’re looking for a catless downpipe, this CNT Racing option is a great option. It’s a nice-looking product at a reasonable price. Because of these factors, it is a popular upgrade for ST 2.0 EcoBoost owners. You’ll also notice that the downpipe has received mostly positive feedback. Many people are pleased with the quality and welds, but there have been a few complaints about fitment, making it a difficult installation.
Summary of the Ford Focus ST 2.0 Downpipe
A tune and intake are frequently the first things that car enthusiasts consider when making their first modifications. On turbo engines, however, a downpipe can be just as important. A Focus ST downpipe upgrade not only increases power, but it also has a slew of other advantages. You should notice faster turbo spool and response, as well as a louder, more aggressive exhaust note.
Again, catless downpipe upgrades are less expensive and provide more horsepower for your money. Despite this, emissions testing and visual inspections are two major issues. A catless downpipe is unlikely to pass either type of emission, which is why high-flow downpipes are popular for the Ford Focus ST.
In reality, if you want to truly upgrade your Ford Focus ST 2.0, a downpipe upgrade is a must. For those looking to add some power to their ST 2.0 (or ST 2.3) engines, these options can provide significant gains in overall engine performance! It’s difficult to go wrong with a downpipe upgrade, regardless of which option you choose.