CX-5 Performance Stages

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
NVH = Noise/Vibration/Harshness
STAGE ONE: Must have bolt ons with minimal utility loss

Lowering Springs - Eibach/H&R (lower)/AutoExe

Mild drop, not enough to worry about scraping anymore than you would in a sedan.
Increase cornering performance, decrease wheel gap, and reduce body roll without sacrificing practical suspension travel. Minimal increase of NVH.

Rear sway bar- Corksport /James Barone Racing /Hardrace/Autoexe

Reduce understeer. Can be used with an adjustable front to tweak under/oversteer for personal preference. Stiffer than the oem bar, meaning it's more resistant to a rolling moment on the suspension. Greatly reduces body roll and increases cornering performance. Least stiff setting only for minimal loss of utility and not having to consider driveway angles. Harder settings while offering greater effect, may require additional modifications (in addition to limiting total suspension travel which will require more caution on steep slopes (driveways). Minimal increase of NVH on least stiff, stiffer settings vary greatly.

Strut tower bar - Ultra Racing/Tanabe/Autoexe

Reduce chassis flexing between shock towers by providing a solid link between each strut. Acts an energy absorber during a collision. Bracing of suspension components can preserve alignment settings during cornering. May increase NVH. A SOLID bar is ideal. A HINGED bar is counterintuitive to the purpose of the bar.

STAGE TWO: Increase cornering which may adversely affect off road capability and/or require more caution at steep driveways.

Lowering Springs- Corksport

One of the lowest spring only drop.
Increase cornering performance, decrease wheel gap, possible rubbing. Medium increase of NVH.

Dampers
- Koni

Increase dampening rate to provide better cornering ability. May cause a Low to medium increase in NVH. Will not affect ground clearance or steep driveway navigation.

Adjustable Coilovers - BC Racing/K Sport/AutoExe/Numerous JDM vendors

Provide adjustable ride height, and a matching damper for that ride height. Adjustable dampening force (how hard or bouncy the ride is) Offer front camber adjustment via a camber plate (extra useful when going very low). Generally the best choice for improved cornering at any ride height. Usually more expensive than buying a spring + damper. Adjusting them outside of factory setting can be time consuming. Lower settings will require adjustments to the rear sway bar if an aftermarket is being used (in the form of adjustable end link). Front end link is not required but can be used to reduce preload on an OEM bar. NVH will range from no increase to very high increase depending first on stiffness setting, then ride height.

Front Sway Bar - James Barone Racing/Hardrace/Megan Racing/AutoExe
Reduce understeer. Can be used with an adjustable rear to tweak under/oversteer for personal preference. Stiffer than the oem bar, meaning it's more resistant to a rolling moment on the suspension. Greatly reduces body roll and increases cornering performance. Least stiff setting only for minimal loss of utility and not having to consider driveway angles. Harder settings while offering greater effect, may require additional modifications (in addition to limiting total suspension travel which will require more caution on steep slopes (driveways). Minimal increase of NVH on least stiff, stiffer settings vary greatly.

Rear sway bar (stiffer/est setting)- Corksport /James Barone Racing /Hardrace/Autoexe

Increasing the setting will decrease the lever on the arm causing it to provide a stronger anti-roll effect. In many lowered applications, an adjustable endlink (such as AutoExe) will be required to even use a setting over the least stiff. A stiff setting, compounded by the lower ride height will also reduce maximum suspension travel which is great for cornering. However this may cause problems if you take your car on (dirt) roads where the elevation varies by 4 or more inches. Or you have to navigate steep driveways (enter at an angle) Medium increase of NVH.

Chassis Bracing - Lower Arm Bar, Rear Arm Bar etc.) Ultra Racing/Tanabe/Autoexe

Reduce chassis flexing between certain points. Acts an energy absorber during a collision. Bracing of suspension components can preserve alignment settings during cornering. May increase NVH.

STAGE THREE: Engine Performance

ECU Tuning - Orange Virus Tuning, others
Increase WHP and TQ 15-35% depending on local environment, fuel type and powertrain modifications. The only modification that will by itself directly increase power output. May increase NVH.

Catback Exhaust - Corksport/Racing Beat/AutoExe and numerous JDM vendors.
Will increase the potential of power gain from ECU tuning. Will increase NVH.

Engine Air Intake - Corksport/James Barone Racing/K&N

Short Ram Intake with Dry Flow Filter
Will increase the potential power gain from ECU tuning, best choice for maximum tune output. May move the power band towards higher RPMS in untuned engines. May increase MPG's during cruising. Will increase intake temperatures at least 10degF in all situations, up to 20(Good for fuel vaporization during cruising, not good for acceleration in hot environments during a heat soak (traffic) situation). Will increase in NVH.

High Flow Panel Filter, Dry Flow
Will increase the potential power gain from ECU tuning, however not to the same extent as the Short Ram Intake. Will not increase intake temperatures. Will not increase NVH.

STAGE FOUR

Turbo Kit
Currently in development and testing by Orange Virus Tuning
 
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V
2014 CX-5 FWD Touring auto and 2012 Mazda 5 Sport
Not bad Chris and well done. Still not with you on modifying an SUV to be a sports car as I've said before because there are better choices to spend this kind of cash on but you made this objective and easy to understand for those who might want to try these modifications. The one thing you might want to put in there is tires because for any single modification/change that can be done tires make the single largest difference in the ride and handling balance. I'm looking at replacing my tires in December and since I hardly drive my CX5 in the winter, I'm curious about how a more performance oriented summer tire might change the CX5's handling, ride, and fuel economy balance.

Again very well done and informative.

Last but not least could you please get rid of that terrible gif.
 
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V
CX5 GT-R
If you're ECU tune affects NVH...there's a problem!

I'm with V8toilet above. Buy a real sports car. You can dump TONS of money into a CX-5 and it will still blow chunks in the "sporting" category. Hell, a used C5 will tear it up like a soft dinner roll for well under $20K.
 
V
2015 Mazda CX-5 Sport
Thanks for the useful information Chris. While I may not do many of these things to my CX-5, the information is there if necessary.

Good read!
 

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
Not bad Chris and well done. Still not with you on modifying an SUV to be a sports car as I've said before because there are better choices to spend this kind of cash on but you made this objective and easy to understand for those who might want to try these modifications. The one thing you might want to put in there is tires because for any single modification/change that can be done tires make the single largest difference in the ride and handling balance. I'm looking at replacing my tires in December and since I hardly drive my CX5 in the winter, I'm curious about how a more performance oriented summer tire might change the CX5's handling, ride, and fuel economy balance.

Again very well done and informative.

Last but not least could you please get rid of that terrible gif.
Yea, I've been using that gif for like a year, not really funny anymore.
 
V
2016 CX-5AWD GT+Tech/ 2018 CX-9AWD GT
Nice list Chris. If i decide to buy the cx-5 after my lease is up, many of those mods will be completed. Im actually really curious about the possible gains from the turbo kit.
 

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
Yes, what's your 0-60 mph time now that you've done all the available mods? And how much do you have into the mods?
Haven't done 0-60 timing since winter. It's too hot to compare anything from old right now, but I will because I want to see the difference between the old and new tires. I'll probably put the stock tune on for that for comparison to stock tune timing with the old tires. $ wise as an estimate, probably about 2.5-3k over 4 with wheels. +a little over 1k for the spoilers which I am selling because I want a different wing. That's since Aug 2012 considering some parts were carry over.
 

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
At the test place I use and the same instrument, I was getting a consistent ~9sec stock approx. -1sec with (an earlier file) tune at that point.
 
V
2014 CX-5 FWD Touring auto and 2012 Mazda 5 Sport
Was that 9 second time with the 2.5? What was the elevation and weather conditions? What instrument did you use to record the 0-60 time Chris?

The picture is much better than that gif BTW.
 

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
2.5. Elevation not sure, but I can find out with my aviation gps. Winter temp was about 50f. Instrument was the gps on a s2 galaxy with torque pro app.
 
V
CX5 GT-R
At the test place I use and the same instrument, I was getting a consistent ~9sec stock approx. -1sec with (an earlier file) tune at that point.
This is the reason I have been against modding a CX-5. There is no way you are going to chop another 5 seconds off of that 0-60 time to put it in the "kinda quick" category.
 

MikeM.

MoMo
V
2013 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD 2.0L
At the test place I use and the same instrument, I was getting a consistent ~9sec stock approx. -1sec with (an earlier file) tune at that point.
That's about what I'm seeing with my unmodified AWD 2.0L when I have my lighter aftermarket 17" wheels mounted (a hair over 9 seconds).
 

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
That 9 second is really for my own test comparisons considering among other things, the stretch is not completely flat. In fact it starts with a slight elevation. The density altitude here is also higher most of the time compared to wa because of temperature and relative humidity. I dont compare my times to those published because I dont have the same (presumably more accurate) instruments nor the same test conditions, method and track.
 

Chris_Top_Her

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San Antonio, Texas
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'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
This is the reason I have been against modding a CX-5. There is no way you are going to chop another 5 seconds off of that 0-60 time to put it in the "kinda quick" category.
The majority of cx5 performance mods on the market currently are for handling, not power. In perspective, a tune will run 300-500 while a set of springs alone can run 300. Lighter wheels 1000+. Noone ever said, expected or advertised a large decrease on 0-60 on an NA motor with a tune alone. We are talking about 35 hp max for most, obviously not good for a significant decrease in 0-60. 0 60 times are not the focus of a tune; rather overall power delivery of the additional/existing power. When you want top chop 4 seconds your talking forced induction. 2 or 3 maybe from an NA high output (built). All situations which have been done on other mazdas and other cars.
 
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