Installation Time: Afternoon
February 21, 2012
In a perfect world, it would be great to have the luxury of driving an identical car as yours equipped with an identical exhaust system before you purchased it for yourself. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case and it's a roll of the dice when shopping for an aftermarket setup. I took the "Mama Bear" approach to this and was looking for a cat-back that wasn't too hot nor too cold. I wanted one that was just right.
The Borla S-type was a good choice overall. First, I was impressed to see how it was boxed at the factory. Borla uses an expandable foam to house the exhaust components, and the box was literally filled with it to protect the contents. The polished 4" tips were also bagged with bubble wrap as an extra precaution to ensure no damage during shipping. The welds at the mufflers looked very good, and there was no missing parts in the kit.
I had the system professionally installed and the mechanic said that the fit was "good". It took him a little over an hour to remove the stock pipes and install the new ones. All parts forward of the Borla system remained stock. When he started it up, everyone in the shop commented on how good it sounded.
It's significantly louder than the stock Mach system, both from the road and inside the cabin. I was more concerned about the "dreaded drone" that most folks complain about with just about every aftermarket exhaust system, regardless of the manufacturer. But this system seems to be absent from that for the most part. There is, however, a resonance that peaks around 2000 rpm and is most noticeable under mild acceleration. It's enough to vibrate the plastic inside the cabin, but is short-lived because of its narrow band and I can easily accelerate through it. By the way, this resonance varies a bit with temperature. At cruising, it's not objectionable unless you have to pull a bit going up hill. I'm learning to avoid that particular rpm, although it equates to about 120 kph (75 mph) in 5th gear which is a decent cruising speed, but will attract the RCMP in this neck of the woods. So I'll drive a little slower on the highway, no big deal. In general, whether it be on the highway or around town, the cabin noise is acceptable and you can still carry on a conversation if you choose to do so. Myself, I'd rather listen to the exhaust note.
Although it might be psychological, the car seems to have a little more go, and I'm convinced that it's more responsive to the throttle. The burble on deceleration is more noticeable compared to stock as one might expect. It sounds phenomenal under full throttle but I'm careful around my own neighborhood. The neighbors haven't keyed the car yet and they're still speaking to me so I guess that's a good sign that it's not too barky. The polished 4" tips really do belong on a Mustang ... they look awesome and hang perfectly.
All in all, the Borla Stinger cat-back is a great sounding, very well manufactured system and I got it at a fair price from AM. I would recommend it to anyone interested in a more aggressive upgrade to their Mustang. Thanks AM, you haven't heard the last from me yet!