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Scorpion exhausts; where design meets performance

Performance upgrades are done in stages. For cars, the first things changed are the air intakes and exhausts to allow for better combustion and freer exhaust flow. More air coming into the engine allows for a richer air and fuel mix, and this has to exit the car faster for each subsequent cycle. Changes that are done here set the groundwork for those that delve deep into the engine.

A sizeable portion of the overall automotive industry in the UK is dedicated to producing aftermarket products. A basic concept here is increasing power, at affordable asking prices. Some of these companies have a strong affiliation with the burgeoning motorsports scene, supplying specialist and performance parts. And one of the more renowned names in the business is Scorpion.

The company was founded over 25 years ago, and produces a wide range of exhausts, for both bikes and cars. Their exhausts have brought victories across all racing categories, and that tech is now available for street vehicles. They tend to tuning favourites, like the BMW M cars, VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS, Audi S and RS models, and worthy alternatives like the Hyundai N-Performance and Honda Civic Type R.

Headquartered in Derbyshire, Scorpion emerged from a small business producing OEM exhausts for locally produced cars, to eventually diversifying its product range with high-end, performance offerings. Carefully engineered and using the latest production methods, Scorpion exhausts are sought after by both riders and drivers seeking the best performing exhausts currently sold. All Scorpion products are regulatory tested to comply with current UK and EU emissions and noise levels standards.

What are the limitations of stock car exhausts?

Production vehicles are a sum of their parts. To keep sales prices low and accessible, there’s a tendency for cost-cutting. Exhaust systems in this respect are often made to mediocre standards, that are adequate at most and with production processes that favour quantity over quality.

The same can be said for the choice of materials. Stock exhausts are mass-produced from mild steel in what is known as crush bending. Here tubing is shaped by pressure forming but without internal support. This results in uneven walls, dubious strength and tubes prone to kinking. Any inconsistencies are a ripe recipe for increased gas flow restriction.

Another contentious issue is width. Narrower tubes are cheaper to build, though not necessarily fit for the engine. Larger displacement engines and those with forced induction and higher redlines need all the airflow they can get, and narrow tubes aren’t quite up to the task.

What can you get from a Scorpion performance exhaust

Scorpion was early to recognise that stock engines produced far more power than they were credited for, even with the trend of engine downsizing and stringent emissions laws. A lot of this power though is lost in the labyrinths of stock exhausts due to irregular bends and narrow widths. This has been addressed by mandrel bending, in which exhaust tubes are formed as they are fed through a hydraulic press, bending them with a radius die. The uniform shape and strength of the exhaust are maintained with a mandrel placed inside the tubing.

Then there is the choice of materials and how individual parts are put together. High-grade stainless steel brought to a sparkling polish will resist higher temperatures and pressures as more gas exits at faster speeds. Scorpion exhausts not only add more horsepower (5-10% are conservative takes) and improve efficiency, but also look better. And this is partly due to the attention to detail, as separate parts are hand-crafted and assembled to perfection. Scorpion takes all variables at play to produce exhausts that get the most out of what the engine in your vehicle has on offer.

Lastly, consider exhaust sound. Here buyers have the choice of resonators to drone out excessive sound. Or straight pipes and free-flowing mufflers that add a little snap, crackle and pop as you put the foot down. Resonators and mufflers are often combined with factory electronic exhaust valves on newer cars that alter the sound of the exhaust.

Parts options

Scorpion have a range of options and you can build the exhaust in stages. Most buyers will be happy with a cat-back exhaust that replaces the stock parts from the catalytic converter all the way to the tailpipes. This bolts on to the existing setup leading to the converter. Tubing is wider, set straighter and with minimal bends, then proceeds into the muffler. As mentioned, here buyers have the option of resonated or non-resonated tubing and muffler combinations, depending on the exhaust sound they’re after. Mufflers can include a single, dual, or two single tailpipes (from either side) culminating in chrome-finished tips.

Highly-sought Scorpion exhaust parts are Sports Cat and Decat pipes that remove the unwanted restriction in the stock catalyst. Sports catalysts retain the emissions reduction of the factory-fitted converter but increase airflow. Decat setups are basically a catalytic delete and allow for the best possible airflow.

Engines with forced induction and turbos have modified turbo downpipes. They effectively push more of the exhaust gases on the exhaust side of the turbocharger, allowing for faster spooling. Each Scorpion turbo downpipe is custom-built to match the performance of the fitted turbo, stock or otherwise. Downpipes can be used with or without an upgraded exhaust header manifold to further increase gas flow and up the performance.

Design configurations

Most production cars will have either single or dual exit exhausts. This depends on the engine output, the number of cylinders and cylinder configurations, and whether there is turbo (single or twin). Cars in a twin-turbo configuration will have two sets of headers and downpipes, often flowing into a single midsection just before the resonator and a laterally-positioned muffler, but have twin tail pipes coming out left and right. This is what you’ll see in the BMW M2 Competition with the S55 engine. By comparison, the regular M2 with a single turbo (N55) retains the single tubing to the muffler and twin pipes out to the tips.

What to expect with a scorpion exhaust

In the world of tuning performance comes first. Cars upgraded with a Scorpion exhaust can see significant gains in power, especially in engines like those mentioned above. Performance vehicles with factory outputs like the 300 bhp N55 (in the ordinary M2) will see increases of another 30 to 40 horsepower at the back wheels. This is before changing the stock intake. An ECU remap will balance power delivery and add a few extras horses. You’re nudging close to 400 bhp and surpassing the M2 Competition on every count. More power, more speed and banking a £10000 difference between the two cars. Not bad for a day’s work.

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