The Miata is an incredibly fun car, but at some point most of us get a bit tired of the double digit wheel horsepower numbers. That really only leaves us with a few options: an expensive N/A motor build, an engine swap, or forced induction.
Out of the three.. only one of those makes sweet turbo noises.
So, that’s probably why you’re here. Time to learn everything you need to turbo your Miata.
Can you Turbo Your Miata?
The short answer is not only yes, but that you *SHOULD* turbo your Miata when looking for additional performance.
There simply isn’t another form of engine modification that is as quick and affordable.
What do you Need to Turbo your Miata?
Here are the basic parts that you need to boost your ride. We’ll get into the details for each generation and engine later.
- Turbocharger – Most Miata builds will use somewhat small compressors and internal wastegates, typically Garret or Borg Warner. These can be oil cooled or oil + water cooled.
- Turbo Manifold – The most popular options are log or cast manifolds, either top or bottom mount.
- Intercooler – Almost all Miata turbo kits use an air-to-air intercooler, plumbed in front of the radiator.
- Downpipe – This connects the turbo to your exhaust, it will also typically include a bung for your wideband O2 sensor.
- Oil lines – You’ll need to supply oil to your turbo, typically from the oil pressure sensor sender in your block. You’ll also need a return line back to your oil pan.
- Injectors – Since you’re adding more air to your combustion chamber, you’ll need a matching fuel increase. The stock 230-265cc injectors won’t be safe with boost. There are many options, from used rx-7 to aftermarket.
- Engine Management – You’ll likely need a stand alone. This will allow you to ditch the MAF and use a MAP sensor, plus tune your motor, control your boost, and tons of fun features like anti-lag, etc. MegaSquirt and SpeedyEFI are the two most popular.
- Boost Controller – from a simple manual boost controller, to a fancy electronic solenoid, you’ll need a way to control your boost unless you plan on running on the wastegate only.
- Wideband O2 Sensor – There’s really no way to safely tune your car without one. This can typically take the place of your stock narrowband o2 with a bit of extra wiring.
- Clutch – You’ll likely be adding at least 50% more power to your drivetrain than it was designed for, the clutch is likely the first part that will need to see a serious upgrade. (our clutch guide)
How much Does it Cost to Turbo your Miata
The most budget turbo kit for your Miata will likely cost around $1000, with the necessary supporting mods. Check out The Car Passion Channel’s Broke & Boosted series for more budget turbo tips: https://www.thecarpassionchannel.com/broke/
Best Miata Turbo Kits
There are a few great companies that currently produce turbo kits for NA an NB Miatas. These kits will likely cost a bit more than piecing your own kit together, but you’ll love the ease of installation and reliability of a proven setup. You’ll need to get a kit designed for your engine (1.6 or 1.8) and chassis (NA or NB).
These are the OG of the turbo Miata world. These kits are CARB legal and a great way to go. You see these on a ton of cars, from street to track. The GT2560R turbo is a bit on the small side, but it fits well as a total package. The kit is good for ~160-250hp. The turbo itself can support up to 300hp.
The kit costs between $3979-$4393 and is available at Flyin Miata.
Kraken NA / NB Maita Turbo Kits
These kits are incredibly high quality, hand made in Bulgaria. The low mount and top mount manifolds are quickly becoming a favorite due to their quality and price. The cast turbo manifolds are made out of NiResist alloy, like many modern turbo turbines. This material is excellent for handling high heat and extreme temperature cycles. The available full stainless exhaust systems are expertly fabricated and gorgeous to look at. These kits are available with either high end Garrett GT turbos, BW EFR turbos, or universal T25 5 bolt flanges.
Pricing starts at $947 for downpipe/manifold via Kraken. (My full kit, including: intercooler, full exhaust, and injectors was ~$4000.)
CX Racing Miata Turbo Kit
The CX racing kits are available for NA and NB Miatas with either the 1.6 or 1.8 engines. These are budget friendly turbo kits that are more suited for street use than racing situations. The quality of these kits have improved over the past few years and they’ve made design updates to fix early issues with the release of the “Version 2 Kit”. There are many reviews on YouTube that show these kits going for thousands of miles: CX Racing Turbo Kit One Year Later, Cxracing turbo 1.6 miata REVIEW AFTER ONE YEAR, CX Racing Turbo Kit 2 year update.
CX Racing Kits range from $1807 for the 1.6 to $2157 for the 1.8.
NC Miata Turbo kits
There are a handful of great kits available for the NC. Here are our favorites.
Fab 9 Tuning
This is an incredibly well crafted and engineered kit. You’ll need to either relocate the factory battery or buy their GT battery system. They offer three different turbos for differing power levels:
GT2860RS – 250-330hp at the wheels
GT2871R – 280-400hp at the wheels
GTX2876R Gen II – 275-490hp at the wheels
Pricing between $4150 and $5000+ depending on options.
Available on their website: https://fab9tuning.com/fab9tuning-gt-turbo-kit-nc-06-15/
Once again, CX racing has an affordable turbo kit available for the NC Miata. This kit won’t be as suited for high stress environments like autocross, track days, and road racing.. but is likely going to be a decent kit for street use. The turbo will need to be regularly checked for shaft play, as they need rebuilt more often than the more expensive Garret / BW turbos. The manifolds have been known to crack, so keep an eye on that as well.
More Turbo Miata Resources
MiataTurbo.net – Turbo Miata Forums
“Every day that I can work on my Miata, drive my Miata, or even think about my Miata is a good day.”— Dylan Howell, Only Miata