Review & Install Video
AWE's SwitchPath cat-back exhaust system should appeal to the S550 GT owners out there looking for a premium cat-back, and one that will deliver that active system. That's going to give you the ability to change both the volume and the tone with the included remote control from AWE. Now, along with that, prospective buyers can look forward to exceptional quality here with this particular cat-back, premium 304-grade stainless steel throughout, including those black diamond tips, for right around the $1,600 to $1,700 price point. Now, the installation will be a little bit more difficult than your standard cat-back install, because you do have to wire in that SwitchPath valve. So I will knock this one up to a two out of three wrenches on the difficulty meter, and we will have some more detail on that later on. So even though AWE is the relative new kid on the block in the land of aftermarket Mustang exhaust systems, they are certainly not new to making exhaust systems and have been doing so for over 20 years now for other high-end cars. Even though they are relatively new into the Mustang world, they have quickly become a favorite with many S550 owners out there for their exceptional build quality, which we already talked about, very aggressive tone, H-pipe configuration, which is kind of a rarity in the premium category. Then, last, but not least, their SwitchPath Tech, which is the latest entry into the active exhaust market. AWE's approach to this active exhaust market is a little bit different from, say, Ford Performance or Roush, for instance, who both utilize an actuator or valve a little bit closer to the actual muffler itself. AWE, on the other hand, they're going to use their valve right on that H-pipe, as you guys can see right there. You are going to control that with the included remote control to either open or close that valve, giving you some different sound in the process. Well, let's talk about how that valve will affect the sound on your S550 Mustang. With it completely open, you have the full operation of that H-pipe, essentially giving you that Touring system from AWE. Which is pretty aggressive on its own and good enough for a three out of five on my one to five, or one to Wake the Neighbors scale. Now, with that valve fully closed, on the other hand, you're going to be eliminating that H-pipe from the equation, giving the car more of a straight-piped kind of feel or vibe. Now, I'll be the first one to tell you here, gang, don't expect a huge difference in volume between the valve being fully open versus being fully closed, like you would with those Roush or Ford Performance options. Instead, with that valve fully open and that H-pipe kind of incorporated, you're going to be getting that Touring system sound. So a little bit more polished overall, that deep thumping tone here, and just a smoother sound overall. But with that valve fully closed, again, you're getting those straight pipes kind of working for you, and it does get a little bit more aggressive. Yes. A little bit more volume, in addition to a little bit more of that rough around the edges sound, some pops, some crackles coming down off the revs, things like that. Now, even though there isn't a huge difference between the two settings and I stand by that, there is a slight difference. So enough to knock it up from a three to a four out of five on my one to five, or one to Wake the Neighbors scale, with that valve fully closed. But sticking with the sound a little bit more here, guys, and something that I really enjoy about the AWE systems is that they take the road less traveled with their mid-pipe configuration and go with an H-pipe instead of an X-pipe. Now, a lot of other manufacturers in this price point here, including Corsa and also Borla, will traditionally use an X-pipe to give you a little bit more volume, in addition to a little bit more rasp, which some owners might like. Others maybe not be so crazy about it. If you're not, then I think the AWE will be a great choice for you. Because it will help deliver some of that H-pipe sound, that lower thumping tone that we already talked about, and it is nice that there is an option for you in this price point. But moving inside the car, on the other hand, you can expect a completely different experience overall, a much quieter experience, thanks largely in part to the company's proprietary technology, known as their 180 Tech. Using this technology in all of their mufflers or resonators, the company is able to isolate and eliminate these unwanted frequencies, better known to you guys as drone, just making for a much more pleasurable experience inside the car while cruising. But let's move away from the sound. Let's finally touch on the construction and materials here with the AWE system, and nothing but praise from me when it comes time to break this thing down in that regard. Premium 304-grade stainless steel throughout, beautiful welds, just a really nice system. This is how you build them at this price point. In fact, the guys at AWE did a great job with the overall build quality, and it will show once you go to put this thing on your own ride. Taking your construction a step further, you're also going to be looking at three-inch, mandrel-bent tubing, essentially, from tip to tip here, guys. They do include a couple of bullet-style resonators with this system, in addition to those Touring Series cans. Everything is going to exit out the black diamond tips, which do look really sharp here in the shop, etched with that AWE logo. Listen, guys. I know the $1,600 to $1,700 price point might be a little hard to swallow for the AWE SwitchPath for some Mustang owners out there and at the end of the day, you're not exactly wrong. But you have to consider your other options in the category when shopping for an active exhaust system. For instance, the Roush axle-back alone is going to set you back nearly $2,600. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice system. But you'll see quickly that the AWE is far more affordable. So just something to consider if you really have your heart set on an active exhaust system. But getting into the installation. As I pointed out earlier in the video, there is a little bit more work involved here with the SwitchPath cat-back, because there is some light wiring involved for the valve. So I am going to knock it up to a two out of three wrenches on the difficulty meter, anywhere from two to three hours, depending on your mechanical expertise and your setup. As far as your tool list, well, a basic socket set will be doing most of your heavy lifting here with this install. But because there is some wiring involved, just make sure you have your wire strippers on-hand, in addition to your soldering iron or your crimpers to help you get that part of the job done. Finally, guys, I always like to recommend just having a little spray lubricant on-hand to help you with some rusty bolts, in addition to some of those rubber exhaust hangers. The first step is always to remove that factory system. Right? So grab your 15-millimeter socket, remove the two band clamps closest to the resonator, and then grab a 13-millimeter socket to move back towards the rear of the system and remove the two hangers nearest the rear subframe, dropping the entire system down in one piece. At this point, go ahead and disconnect the battery, and get ready to route some wires through the trunk area and underneath your Mustang. You're going to want to leave that AWE control box in the actual trunk, and connect the red wire from that box to an ignition switch power wire, and connect that black wire to a ground. With the wires ran and everything connected in the trunk, now you can actually start installing the AWE system, starting with the SwitchPath H-pipe. Get that in place. Connect your wires underneath the car. Hook up your battery, just to check for operation of the SwitchPath valve. If everything checks out there, you can continue with the rest of the installation of the system, starting from front to back, of course. Get your clamps in place, but don't tighten them up as yet. Just leave everything snug, so you can move some pipes around if needed. Your final step would be to install the tips and the muffler portion of the AWE system. Make sure you have them exactly where you want them in the openings of your rear bumper. Hammer all your clamps down with your socket set or your impact gun, and your installation is complete. Wrapping things up, the AWE SwitchPath cat-back is a beautifully-constructed system for the $1,600 to $1,700 price point that will give prospective buyers some options when it comes to their sound, thanks to that remotely controlled valve on the H-pipe. Be sure to check one out for your S550 right here, at americanmuscle.com.