Fitting an aftermarket exhaust to a car is one of the oldest tricks in the book, one that's still hugely popular for one simple reason – it works! Mainstream car manufacturers are forced to build their machines to certain tolerances and to meet certain restrictions, with emissions and noise being key examples, both of which are relevant when discussing exhaust systems. Being a high revving, lightweight, naturally aspirated vehicle, the MX-5 can really benefit from an improved exhaust system, hence why we've put together a brief rundown of some that we consider the best currently available.
IL Motorsport single exit exhaust, NA
Ok, ok, so it this isn't a product that claims to offer performance gains over and above the standard Mazda system, but this s tainless steel exhaust from IL Motorsport makes a huge amount of sense if your NA MX-5 happens to be on the tired side. Old, rusty exhausts are far from efficient and will severely compromise the gas flow characteristics of your car, in turn hampering performance. IL Motorsport's stainless system is made to the same exacting standards as all their components and can be relied upon to fit the OE mounting brackets precisely, meaning that fitment will be a swift and straightforward process. It runs from the cat-backwards, ships with a kit of installation parts and fits both 1.6 and 1.8 engined NA cars.
MX5parts 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, NB
Appreciable gains in performance across the range can be had by swapping the OEM exhaust manifold for a more sporting version, with this beautiful 4-2-1 for the NB being a case in point. Designed with equal length runners and manufactured from high grade stainless steel, the manifold is the result of an intensive research and development process undertaken by MX5parts itself, and the result is a manifold which can be relied upon to provide many years (and many, many miles) of faithful service. It can be fitted with a variety of exhausts to create a potent, aggressive sounding fast road system.
IL Motorsport rear silencer, NC
The third generation MX-5 is without doubt one of the automotive performance bargains of the moment, with prices of decent, low mileage examples continuing to drop to deeply appealing levels. There are a wealth of tuning parts for the NC but we reckon this rear silencer from IL Motorsport is one of the best realised. The silencer has been carefully developed to offer a blend of performance and noise, meaning that NCs with it fitted will sound suitably sporting and aggressive without ever becoming annoying or uncomfortable to live with on a daily basis. It features special end tips that run the full length of the exit pipes and can be seen from the side of the car, while the box itself is made from 316 grade steel comes with a 5 year warranty.
MX5parts dual exit rear silencer, NB
It's hard to deny that there isn't something very, very cool about a twin exit exhaust, probably something to do with the symmetry and the resulting sporting undertones. Whatever the reason, this MX5parts twin exit rear silencer looks to have all the makings of a 'must fit' MX-5 part, one designed for the NB car by the UK's largest MX-5 parts supplier. Manufactured from high grade stainless steel and with a 5 year warranty, the silencer ships with a cut out template and instructions for the rear bumper, and has been developed so that it fits all NB models built between 1998 and 2005. Looks aside, it also promises an addictively crackly, fizzing exhaust note, one well suited to the cheeky, rev-happy character of the MX-5.
Milltek Sport cat-back system, NC
Few names are better known in the world of high end exhausts than Milltek Sport, the firm having proved instrumental in the creation of some of the UK's best known modified cars of recent times. Milltek recently turned its considerable experience and resources to the NC, and the result is undoubtedly one of the finest 'off the peg' systems yet devised for the model. The Milltek system differs from most offerings in that it hasn't been designed to be merely loud but also a genuine performance enhancing part, hence why it's been optimised for minimum back pressure and maximum flow rate. It fits all Mk3s built between 2005 and 2015.