Best RX-8 Turbo Kit Guide

author avatarJoe Terrell
06/12/202012th June, 2020
Filed under RX8 Tuning

Are you considering a turbo upgrade for your RX-8? We’ll help you to choose from the best RX-8 turbo kits on the market in this guide.

rx-8 vs 240sx tandem battle


In a hurry? Here’s our RX-8 Turbo Kit summary

Runner-Up Choice Drifted Choice Premium Choice (AUS)
RX8Performance Turbo Kit greddy street rx-8 turbo kit bbc nd miata turbo kit engine bay
RX8Performance Turbo Kit GReddy Street Turbo Kit Mazfix Gen 1 RX-8 Stage One Turbo Upgrade
🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥
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There’s no question that there are very few cars on the market that are going to provide the same bang-for-your-buck as Mazda’s RX-8.

With the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, and a limited-slip differential from the factory, it sounds like the ideal opportunity for any aspiring drifter.

Top that off with the potential 238-horsepower from the incredible-sounding screaming rotary powerplant and an impressive redline of 9,000rpm.

It also has some unique features when it comes to the styling, such as the rear suicide doors, which they’ve managed to incorporate to keep the ‘sporty’ styling.

The overall package all begins to sound perfect, especially when you consider just how much of a bargain they’ve become in recent years.

But, we all know that 238hp isn’t enough to keep you satisfied for too long, especially if you’re planning to drift your RX-8.

Sure, they handle fantastically well in stock form in the twisties, but when it comes to straight-line power, you’ll often be left deflated if you decide to go head-to-head against a higher-powered rival.

So, why not bolt on a turbo kit so that you can create the perfect sleeper so that you can cause an upset on both the streets and the track?

Unfortunately, when it comes to the 1.3L Renesis rotary that Mazda opted for this time around, it’s not quite so straightforward.

Although a bolt-on turbo conversion sounds like the perfect answer in the real world, there’s a fair bit more to consider.

The Renesis engine has the highest compression from any Rotary engine to date.

Although the RX7 featured twin-turbos in factory form, the 10:1 compression from the RX-8’s Renesis engine enabled Mazda to use it’s full-potential in naturally-aspirated form, which doesn’t make it the most convenient engine when it comes to forced induction.

With that said, it’s far from impossible.

It just takes a little bit more expense, effort, work, and risk than it would on a lower-compression engine.

mad mike's rx8

Part of the additional expense comes down to the ECU, which controls almost everything in the RX-8, so standalone management isn’t easily adapted. For that reason, you’ll need to consider a piggy-back ECU.

One of the first considerations that come to mind with the RX-8 is, ‘Why didn’t Mazda do something crazier with the Renesis?’

Let’s face it; the Japanese auto giants gave us the insane RX7 FD in their previous generation from a rotary, fitted with twin-turbos and capable of ludicrous amounts of power.

If it were as simple as bolting a cheap turbo kit on and then achieving silly power from your RX-8, while also maintaining reliability, Mazda probably would’ve done it.

But, this time, they seemed to target the daily driver market, possibly in an attempt to prove that the Rotary engine still had long-term potential, and could also be far more reliable than its predecessors.

They also had stronger emissions laws to consider, and the Renesis side-port engine was developed to address this.

Where the ports were straight out of the rotor housings in pre-RX-8’s, they opted for a similar design on both the exhaust and intake ports this time around.

Many owners have adjusted the porting, but this often comes with downsides, which are likely to outweigh the benefits.

Chances are, if it were worth doing, Mazda would’ve done it.

The RX-8 is arguably well-tuned in stock form considering, and there isn’t a wide range of bolt-on modifications that will provide impressive power gains.

Sure, there’s the usual aftermarket exhaust upgrades, and breathing mods, which could potentially free up a couple of horses, and maybe sound even better.

But, what if you’re hunting some real power figures?

You’re unlikely to see more than a few horsepower increase from an N/A engine, but several RX-8’s out there are achieving over 450hp after a turbo upgrade.

For that reason, it hasn’t stopped many RX-8 enthusiasts going ahead with their turbo upgrades, achieving the full potential that the Renesis truly has to offer.

Some have later gone on to admit that it’s been the most fun that they’ve ever had in a car.

It’s certainly not as cheap or convenient as some other engines, but if you have a personal attachment to your RX-8, or want to do something different, and don’t mind spending some cash on building something unique, then why the hell not?

After all, the beauty of tuning is that you get to choose what YOU want to do to satisfy your own needs, and the more unique and crazy, the better!

Now, before we begin diving into turbocharging your Renesis engine, we want to remind you that reliability is vital here.

The last thing you want is to add the stresses of forced induction onto an engine that’s already on its way out.

Since the Renesis happily revs its way to 9,000rpm, the chances are it’s already had a pretty heavy life.

For that reason, we’d highly recommend a compression test right away to ensure an optimal foundation.

Once you’ve established that you’ve (hopefully) got a reliable engine from the start, it’s time to consider which RX-8 turbo kit is going to be perfect for your needs.

mazda rx-8 smoking tire

One of the first considerations will be whether you’re looking for a top-mount or low-mount kit.

Top mount kits are often known for causing issues with the oil metering pump, due to heat, which can end in tears.

However, thinking ahead with the likes of heat wrap can help to eliminate these problems. We don’t recommend deleting the OMP on a streetcar.

The benefit of a top mount is that the piping route is much more convenient.

Low mount kits also come with their issues.

You’ll often need to bang out the firewall, the chances are that getting to the turbo won’t be too convenient, and you’ll be restricted with turbo size due to space. The intercooler piping can also often cause a headache.

The main benefit of low mount kits is that there’s less heat within the engine bay.

When it comes to the maximum boost on a stock engine, we wouldn’t recommend going beyond 11PSI. Anything beyond that, and you’ll likely turn your friendly Renesis into a ticking time bomb.

You may think we’re excessively skeptical of forced induction on the Renesis engine, but we prefer to be realistic.

We know first hand just how gutting it can be to spend vast amounts of time, money, and effort on something that doesn’t go to plan.

Although many people have had a tremendous amount of success with the Renesis engine long-term with forced induction, many others have failed.

Perhaps down to lack of preparation and also by trying to cut corners, so it’s best to be careful.

If you’re not yet entirely set on turbocharging, there’s often a heated debate between RX-8 owners as to whether supercharging is the better option when it comes to forced induction.

Not sure about the difference between turbocharging and supercharging? Make sure you head over to our Turbocharger Vs Supercharger – What’s Best? article.

Another popular alternative to turbocharging is to bypass the Renesis engine entirely.

Given the bargain prices that RX-8’s can be purchased for these days, they’re a fantastic chassis for fitting an exciting engine upgrade.

white rx-8 drifting

Some people opt for crazy swaps, but the most common exchange is the 13B from the RX7, and there are several off-the-shelf kits on the market to make this a convenient option.

However, with RX7 prices increasing, the chance of picking one up cheap is less likely than ever.

You’re also still going to suffer from the headaches that come with rotary engines.

For that reason, V8’s often find themselves as the weapon of choice.

Not only are they far more convenient to source at a bargain price, but their superior reliability and ease of spares also make them an ideal choice.

Not to mention that they’re also far more convenient to turbocharge.

We’ve compared some of the most popular V8 engines in our LS1 vs LS2 and LT1 vs LS1 guides.

We also took an in-depth look at the likes of the 1UZFE and 1JZ if you fancy something a little different.

While we’re talking about ‘different’, take a look at this crazy triple-turbo RX-8!

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best off-the-shelf RX-8 turbo kits that are available on the market!

Now that we’ve outlined the positives and negatives – let’s take a look at our RX-8 Turbo Kit selection.


RX-8 turbo kit selection

To find out more about any of these products just click on the product name or photo.

GReddy Street Turbo Kit

greddy rx-8 turbo kit

Our comment: We begin our list with what is undoubtedly the most popular off-the-shelf turbo kit for the RX-8 with JDM tuning legends, GReddy.

However, since it’s the most popular kit out there, there’s a tremendous amount of support and parts that’ll be easy to get your hands on, so we don’t think it’s fair to rule it out just yet.

Although the GReddy kit is the most popular, it’s still not perfect. For that reason, BNR and MazdaManiac both have off-the-shelf upgrades which can make the kit damn near perfect if you’re willing to spend a little extra cash.

The main issues seem to have been with the turbo, which many owners state is undersized for its purpose.

It’s also said to have a flawed bearing housing, a weak actuator spring, and is limited to around 270 RWHP. If you plan to go beyond this power, you’ll need to consider upgrading the turbo and the intercooler.

Here’s an excellent write-up on how to unleash the ultimate potential from your GReddy turbo kit, over on RX8Club.com.

For FAQ’s, you can also visit this article on RXClub.com.

Typical install time for the GReddy kit seems to be around 10-12 hours.

So, although it’s not perfect, this kit can be the ideal choice if you’re able to get one second-hand, especially if you’re prepared to buy a brand new uprated turbo to go with it.

If you’re able to snap one up in good condition, this could potentially end up being a real bargain.

Manufacturer description:It takes a tremendous amount of money and time to successfully increase the power of a naturally aspirated engine. With a GReddy bolt-on turbocharger kit you can obtain instant horsepower gains with less time and money while still having the potential for upgrading.

Unlike most turbo kits on the market today, GReddy kits are designed specifically for driveability and reliability, as well as performance. Since they are based completely on stock engines, these kits come with all the necessary basics, including fuel enrichment.

GReddy RX-8 Turbo Kit Features

  • GReddy Spec Mitsu T618Z Turbo
  • GReddy Cast-Iron Manifold
  • GReddy Cast-Iron Downpipe
  • Ext. Type T Wastegates
  • GReddy 31v Front Mount Intercooler
  • Polished Aluminum Intercooler Piping
  • Pre-Programmed GReddy E-manage
  • GReddy E-Manage Harness
  • GReddy Airinx AY-SB
  • Nessecary Piping & Hoses
  • Oil Lines
  • All Necessary Hardware & Fittings
  • Install Instructions & Wiring Diagrams

RX8Performance Turbo Kit

rx8 performance turbo kit

Our comment: This low-mount turbo kit from RX8Performance comes with extremely impressive owner reviews and is undoubtedly a serious competitor to the GReddy package.

Although it’s implementation isn’t as widespread, it’s certainly gained a lot of attention from owners and enthusiasts.

With each kit being hand-built, RX8Performance has listened to the market feedback, building a kit that requires minimal hassle and modification to fit, with capabilities of achieving 330-350whp.

It’s hard to find long-term testing online, but the initial feedback seems fantastic, and it certainly looks the part.

The owners that have fitted it have often praised the great response and assistance from RX8Performance, but there do seem to be some mixed opinions on their history, which may be worth researching.

With the lack of real-world use and questionable history from the company, we couldn’t give the full marks in the rating.

We highly recommend doing further research if this is likely to be the ideal kit for your needs, as it could well be the best on the market.

Manufacturer description:Over the years we have turbo-charged a wide variety of rotary powered vehicles, so when we set out to design a new turbo system for the RX-8, we had some important criteria we wanted to achieve. A turbo system that would be responsive and produce power over a broad range yet be completely capable of producing 330-350rwhp.

The challenge was to design a system that was well mannered as a daily driver yet contain the high quality components and headroom required to withstand the rigors of competition and track use! We also knew this would need to be offered as a true, complete bolt-on package to the consumer.

RX8Performance Turbo Kit Features

  • Precision Turbo CEA Billet wheel 6266sp dual ball ceramic bearing turbo. V-band in and out, .82 A/R
  • Precision Turbo 46 mm wastegate and spring kit allowing 17 different boost level combinations
  • Tig Welded 11 Gauge 100% Stainless Steel manifold
  • Tig Welded 3 inch Stainless Steel downpipe with v-band wastegate port
  • Bead rolled 6061 Aluminum charge tubes
  • Synapse Blow-Off valve with recirculation fitting, hose and clamps
  • Large Bar and plate front mount Intercooler
  • Adjustable Intercooler mount to accommodate aftermarket bumper covers
  • High Quality Reinforced Silicone Couplers
  • Stainless Steel T-Bolt Clamps
  • 3.5 inch Cold Air intake with Maf Air Straighter
  • Passengers side motor mount bracket and mounting hardware
  • Braided stainless steel oil feed and return lines with hardware
  • Required fasteners
  • 2.5, 2.75 or a 3 inch flex section for your midpipe or catalytic convertor is included
  • Required check valves for the JAM, OMP and PCV systems. Hard fitting locations are determined during the build process of your order to suit your specific needs.

SFR Turbo Kit

sfr rx-8 turbo kit

  • Manufacturer: Speed Force Racing (SFR)
  • Fitment: Mazda RX8
  • Value for money: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
  • Purchase link: Buy your SFR Turbo Kit here

Our comment: We’ve managed to trace very little information from those that have purchased the SFR turbo kit, but everything that we could find was positive.

It certainly looks to be a great kit, and with a highly-regarded reputation, from SFR’s other products that we’ve seen in the past, their package could well be worth considering.

We’ve seen claims fo 367whp achieved from this kit, but we couldn’t find much in the way of the all-important long-term results.

Manufacturer description:The good news is that there is hope.The Speed Force Racing single turbo system for the RX-8 is the answer.Now you can have the performance you always wanted out of your RX-8.Turn that anemic performing Renesis motor into a fire-breathing turbocharged 326WHP Rotary that screams to 10,000 rpms with 9 psi of intercooled boost.

Now you dont have to worry about being left at the stop light by every econobox that has an intake and exhaust on it.The days of cringing every time a Mustang or Camaro pulls up and flexes its v-8 muscle are long gone. Now you have something up your sleeve. Now you can show off the power of the rotary motor as you proceed to leave them in the dust.If you want more then performance then your prayers have been answered.Now you have the show quality looks to match when you pop the hood.

SFR Turbo Kit Features

  • Turbonetics T60-1 Turbo
  • Turbo Mounting Plate
  • 304SS Stainless Turbo Heat Shield
  • 321SS “Ultimate Flow” Turbo Header
  • 3.5 – 3″ Cold Air Intake
  • K&N air filter
  • Tial 46mm Dual-Port Wastegate
  • 1.6″ 304SS Wastegate Dumptube
  • 3″ 304SS Downpipe
  • Bell Front Mount Intercooler
  • 2-2.5-3″ Aluminum Intercooler Piping
  • Tial 50mm Blow off Valve
  • Battery Relocation Line w/ Cables
  • Thermotec Header Wrap
  • Stainless Steel Radiator Hose
  • Silicone hoses (red, blue or black)
  • Stainless Steel Hoseclamps
  • 3-AN Teflon Lined Oil Feed w/ Fittings
  • 10-AM Oil Drain w/ Fittings
  • All Necessary Hardware & Fittings

Mazfix Gen 1 RX-8 Stage One Turbo Upgrade

mazdafix rx-8 turbo kit

Our comment: The Mazfix is one of the highest regarded systems on the RX-8 scene, but it comes with one slight issue. Mazfix is based in Australia, and this kit is provided on a drive-in, drive-out basis.

We appreciate that this won’t be convenient for most of you, but since Drifted has a worldwide fanbase, we didn’t feel that it was right to leave one of the best options off our list.

These rotary specialists are sure to make you feel at home, and the owner is even known for letting you take a drive in their pre-built RX-8 to let you decide precisely what you want from your build.

In many ways, Mazfix seem to be the perfect option; it’s just a shame that they’ll be based so far away from most.

If you’re in Australia, look no further!

Mazfix Turbo Kit Features

  • Massive 200kW at the wheels (approximately)
  • Street legal. Comes with Mod Plate / Certificate
  • Double ball bearing turbo with internal wastegate, now with upgraded billet front wheel
  • Quality Hiflow Intercooler
  • Quality pipe work
  • Bolt up exhaust – No cutting or modifications to standard exhaust
  • Retuned Factory ECU
  • Completely reversible and unboltable
  • Uses standard exhaust and air intake or can be upgraded
  • Fully Installed and Tuned
  • Drives like a standard RX-8, EXCEPT when you put your foot down
  • Fuel economy similar to factory, unless using boost
  • Please Note: We highly recommend the RX-8 Clutch Upgrade as the standard clutch wont keep up with the massive increase in torque

Turblown RX-8 Turbo Kit

turblown low mount rx-8 turbo kit

Our comment: There’s no question that Turblown have pulled two great looking kits out of the bag here, but, unfortunately, that seems to be where the positive feedback ends.

We struggled to find many positive opinions on the company, and the negatives certainly outweighed the positives.

There are a couple of decent builds using their kits, but the company’s reputation leaves a lot to be desired after some alleged shady dealings in the past.

They claim to be able to produce up to 475hp from their kits, but apparently, the reliability leaves a lot to be desired.

We’d recommend proceeding with caution if you’re considering a Turblown kit, but we also advise that you do your own research.

Turblown RX-8 Turbo Kit Features

  • T4 57 Trim Garrett To4E turbocharger offers extremely fast spool and a top end that never runs out of airflow
  • Our 3 into 1 custom made 321SS turbo manifold outperforms log style manifolds offering better response and a broader torque curve
  • Custom steel motor mount bracket to accommodate our free flowing turbo manifold
  • TiAL MVS 38mm v-band waste gate and an open dump tube
  • 3″ 304SS downpipe that employs a 3″ flex bellow for engine movement
  • Custom Stainless oil & coolant feed/return hard lines are included to eliminate heat related failures OF commonly used rubber hose
  • Custom fabricated front mounted intercooler using a genuine Garrett Core. It includes T-bolt clamps with high quality silicone couplers
  • Oil metering pump block off kit & relocation bracket
  • Coolant surge tank relocation bracket
  • Protective 3M Gentex wiring harness thermal sleeve
  • Custom aluminum thermostat upper and lower hard line assembly is included to prevent heat related failures of the turbo system by eliminating vulnerable stock rubber counterparts. A new lower radiator hose is included
  • Ambient air intake system featuring a recirculated blow off valve that is designed to ensure proper mass air flow sensor operation and the highest possible flow characteristics
  • Walbro 255lph drop in fuel pump, and fuel injector modification service is included. This service satisfies fuel requirements for 400whp and requires core injectors up front for modification

Turblown RX-8 Turbo Kit

rx8 exhaust guide

Our comment: As above, there’s no question that Turblown have pulled two great looking kits out of the bag here, but, unfortunately, that seems to be where the positive feedback ends.

We’d recommend proceeding with caution if you’re considering a Turblown kit, but we also advise that you do your own research.

Turblown RX-8 Turbo Kit Features

  • T4 57 Trim Garrett To4E turbocharger offers extremely fast spool and a top end that never runs out of airflow
  • Our 3 into 1 custom made 321SS turbo manifold outperforms log style manifolds offering better response and a broader torque curve
  • Custom steel motor mount bracket to accommodate our free flowing turbo manifold
  • TiAL MVS 38mm v-band waste gate and an open dump tube
  • 3″ 304SS downpipe that employs a 3″ flex bellow for engine movement
  • Custom Stainless oil & coolant feed/return hard lines are included to eliminate heat related failures OF commonly used rubber hose
  • Custom fabricated front mounted intercooler using a genuine Garrett Core. It includes T-bolt clamps with high quality silicone couplers
  • Oil metering pump block off kit & relocation bracket
  • Coolant surge tank relocation bracket
  • Protective 3M Gentex wiring harness thermal sleeve
  • Custom aluminum thermostat upper and lower hard line assembly is included to prevent heat related failures of the turbo system by eliminating vulnerable stock rubber counterparts. A new lower radiator hose is included
  • Ambient air intake system featuring a recirculated blow off valve that is designed to ensure proper mass air flow sensor operation and the highest possible flow characteristics
  • Walbro 255lph drop in fuel pump, and fuel injector modification service is included. This service satisfies fuel requirements for 400whp and requires core injectors up front for modification

Our winners

Now we have looked at all the best RX-8 turbo kits available on the market today, which products are our top picks?

Best RX-8 Turbo Kit Choice

In the context of these turbo kits, we are chooseing the GReddy Street turbo kit as the winner.

GReddy Street Turbo Kit

greddy rx-8 turbo kit

We completely understand if you disagree with our choice since the GReddy kit isn’t perfect.

As you can see, this certainly hasn’t been the easiest turbo kit decision that we’ve made throughout our various turbo guides.

Although the GReddy kit is by far the most popular among RX-8 owners, the fact that it’s since discontinued isn’t exactly ideal.

Our RX-8 Turbo Kit winner has to go to the GReddy Street Turbo Kit

The fact that the turbo seems to suffer from issues is also a concern, but since there are upgrades available to turn it into a fantastic all-arounder, this would be the preference if finances allow.

However, there are certainly going to be more parts floating around to still make it the best choice for some time to come.

We highly recommend checking out our runner up if the turbo issues are a concern.

Despite the lack of long-term reviews, the feedback that we’ve read on both the company and their products so far has been excellent, so they could well be the better choice.

Runner-Up RX-8 Turbo Kit Choice

We can completely understand if this kit is more appealing to you than the GReddy turbo kit, but given the lack of long-term results at present, we’re sticking with our initial vote.

There’s no question that first impressions of the RX8Performance kit have been fantastic, and if you feel this could be the perfect kit for you, we’d highly recommend doing some additional research.

RX8Performance Turbo Kit

rx8 performance turbo kit

Thank you for reading our RX-8 Turbo Kit guide!

We hope that you’re now confident in choosing the perfect turbo kit to compliment your Renesis engine, and you can finally hunt down the power goals you’d dreamed of achieving!

If you enjoyed this article, then please share it with the buttons at the side and bottom of your screen. Find this information useful? Please post a link to it on your car owners’ clubs. We appreciate your support.

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author avatar Written by Joe Terrell Drifted.com founder, motoring journalist and all-round car enthusiast. Read more about Joe and the Drifted team on our about us page.

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