Michael Galimi
October 1, 2008

Turbochargers-the mystique has finally worn off, and this power adder is becoming popular in the Mustang ranks. It has grown so much that Turbonetics decided it was time to design and engineer a kit to fit Ford's popular performance car. The company decided to use the S197 Mustang V-8 platform for its entry into the kit market.

Turbonetics has long been known to produce turbo systems for the sport-compact market, as well as individual turbochargers, wastegates, and intercoolers, which Mustang enthusiasts use in custom systems. This kit is the first of what will probably be many different Mustang-specific turbo systems from the manufacturer. We hear rumblings that a V-6 system for S197 cars will be on its way soon.

The Turbonetics S197 turbo system comes complete with every nut and bolt, and even a tuner with a custom SCT tune on board. Installation requires some cutting to reroute the exhaust, but it's nothing an average mechanic couldn't handle easily. We had the system installed by the crew at Dez Racing (Seekonk, Massachusetts), and it took them about a full working day to complete it. The car we used was a mostly stock '07 Mustang GT, save for mufflers. Turbonetics offers two different systems, one for '05-'06 Mustang GTs and another for '07-'08 Stangs. The main difference is the position of the MAF sensor and tuning. The car will not run properly if the wrong kit is installed.

The tuning feature is not included in other turbo systems but is standard in the Turbonetics kit. According to the company's marketing director, Tyler Tanaka, "Jhame Peters and the R&D staff at Turbonetics have conquered the new generation drive-by-wire. It certainly wasn't easy, and countless hours were spent on the dyno, the street, and the track, but they got it all sorted out." An SCT tuner is supplied in the kit with the custom Turbonetics tune loaded up, much like the centrifugal blower kits offered for '05-newer cars.

The rest of the kit is really nice with stainless steel exhaust pipes, a Spearco air-to-air intercooler, wastegate, a dual-ball bearing turbocharger, and a highly detailed instruction manual. In fact, the R&D staff should be highly commended for its efforts in producing the most detailed instruction manual this author and the Dez Racing shop have ever seen. It is definitely clear, simple, and so detailed that even a first-time installer knows exactly what to expect. Getting past the instructions, the typical tools and patience are required, as is a Sawzall for cutting the exhaust.

Turbonetics includes a 60mm turbocharger in the kit, and it's the perfect little boost-maker, up until 550-or-so horsepower. We really liked the responsiveness of the unit, as well as the cool swoosh noise the pop-off valve makes when you get off the throttle. The potential power is virtually undetectable at part throttle and normal driving conditions. The hottest topic in the news has been the high cost of fuel, which almost doesn't even factor into adding this performance enhancer. In fact, fuel mileage wasn't even affected-until you get aggressive with the throttle application. Then, like all power adders, fuel mileage concerns go by the wayside, as performance becomes the dominant agenda. The burst of boost is definitely worth the extra fuel usage.