When it was time to add another vehicle to our family's already large stable of cars, we thought long and hard about what to purchase. Of course, we wanted a performance vehicle, but with gas at nearly three bucks a gallon we had to consider economy as well. We wanted everything a performance car could offer--acceleration, braking, and handling, but with room for four and a price that wouldn't break our bank account. Dodge's SRT-4 seemed to meet all our criteria. Capable of high 13-second quarter-mile timeslips in stock trim and 30 mpg on the highway, this car was an easy choice.

It was only a matter of time before we had the car at the dragstrip, which got us thinking about how this car would respond to modifications. High 13s in the quarter-mile is great until you've done it a few times, then you want to go faster, so it wasn't long before we were seeking out aftermarket parts and formulating a plan.

As in any high-performance build, the end result is a function of the compatibility of the parts put into it. The combination must be well thought out or performance may not be increased at all. Our plans will eventually include a Stage I performance computer, cold air induction, new wastegate controller, stiffer engine mounts, and, perhaps, a fuel-injector upgrade. With these plans in mind, it only made sense to upgrade the exhaust as well. If we plan to cram more air and fuel through our turbocharged 2.4 liter engine, we need to be able to expel the gasses. our research led us to Corsa Performance.

Corsa has been manufacturing high-quality exhaust systems since 1989. When they entered the market they specialized in marine exhaust systems, but in the late '90s, they recognized their exhaust technology could be applied to the automotive industry, so they tooled up and began making high-performance automotive exhaust systems with emphasis on increased performance, high-quality construction, and an appealing exhaust note. All their exhaust systems are made from high-quality stainless steel and are hydroformed, which means they can bend their exhaust in ways that conventional manufactures can't, while keeping the tubing diameter consistent. Their reputation for providing quality products convinced us to order their cat-back kit for our SRT-4.

Upon our kits arrival, the quality of these parts was apparent. The Corsa exhaust has a noticeably larger diameter than the factory system, and the kit included everything necessary for installation. Instructions were included, and it only took us about an hour to install the kit. The highly polished tips, though larger than stock, looked right at home under the rear valance of our SRT-4.

Once installed, we couldn't wait to hear how it sounded and were surprised it wasn't louder than the factory exhaust. Exhaust note at idle was a pleasant rumble that sounded very close to the factory system. the car was quieter during normal driving and at highway speeds. Open it up, however, and the low restriction became apparent. Noise levels at wide-open throttle were slightly higher than the factor exhaust, but not to the point it was bothersome to occupants of the vehicle. The exhaust note was deeper than we expected and, much to our delight, sounded nothing like the Brand-X vehicles we've seen sporting coffee-can-size mufflers. Acceleration was improved slightly, but remember, we probably won't see the real benefit of this system until more engine modifications are performed.

Be sure to follow this project on our web site, as we perform modifications and provide dyno and track test data.