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Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)
Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)
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Old 02-07-15, 02:03 PM   #1
Toivonen
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Default Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

Due to popular demand from others looking for a more tame exhaust, I wrote a review with videos of the Milltek catback for the Subaru Impreza GR generation STi hatchback.

I had read a lot of the reviews on the Corsa exhaust and bought one trying to find a catback with more flow than stock, but sadly I was disappointed by the loudness of this cat back, more importantly by all the flak I caught from my wife. I did not want a cat back that was boomingly loud, a lot louder than stock. From my experience at local Subaru meets, autocrosses and track days, I would say anyone in this predicament who is looking for an exhaust that is not much louder than stock is going to be disappointed with most Subaru exhausts. I have heard from more than one mechanic as well as tuners (plural) that the Subaru crowd generally tends to favor very loud exhausts, perhaps almost as loud as the Civic ricers with all their fart cans; for the most part the ULH rumble design with exhaust pulses crashing into one another does a lot of muffling before the resonator and muffler, almost letS us get away with it.

But what about those of us whose preferences or life position (or both) would have us rather avoid failing inspection, upsetting the wife, waking up your entire neighborhood, attracting police or street racing negative attentions alike? What are the options in terms of a 3" cat back if a Subaru STi owner would like the flow such an exhaust allows, but none of the noise?

In my search for a quiet, free-er flowing catback, I was recommended the Milltek exhaust by several other drivers who not only owned it, but combined it with other mods like a downpipe or the header to end all Subaru headers, the Killer B manifold. This latter beast is truly wonderous but because it works magic for flow, spool, power and responsiveness, the tidal wave of exhaust so good for your turbo and right foot also gives it so many resonations at many never before heard frequencies making for fartiness, drone and rasp. Granted most of the Subaru exhausts are very loud, but these mods here do increase the noise even on the stock catback to levels that are generally still not over the top, but about as loud as one could get away with cranky cops, restrictive laws regarding aftermarket exhausts as well as the wife & neighbor factors.

I am very happy with the Milltek catback but I won't get into how it sounds so much as how loud it is not because this is a catback for those seeking the latter. Sure it sounds like a Porsche, sure it sounds like an exotic, if that's what you want to hear. Everyone says that about their exhaust because everyone thinks it. Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one. My opinion is that I like the sound enough to make it worthwhile, but what I really like about this exhaust is the fact that it is about as loud as stock. It is in the same hunt of noise as stock, but a bit more aggressive. Factually speaking, it is slightly louder than stock on the outside, but slightly quieter than stock on the inside. Lowering the windows increases the tonality and makes it more fun to listen so down with the glass if you want to up the fun factor with this one. If anything at certain throttle positions it is a little too benign; you almost want to remove the main resonator, but not always because it delivers enough satisfaction. Certainly there are no sins of omission, it is never unliveable or obnoxious, not even close. I'd rather want 10% more noise than 75% less and if this is how you feel about most Subaru catbacks, then Milltek is for you.

The overlying theme is that there is a bit of a growl, some muted rumble, it sounds kind of mean but at the same time muted. Unlike say the Corsa exhaust whose noise level is logarithmic, with every little bit of engine load and pedal giving explosively more and more booming assault on your ears, the Milltek seems to have a glass ceiling past which there is little extra loudness with increasing load or throttle. Sure, giving it more pedal or more engine load makes it a bit louder, but it seems that past a certain point it doesn't want to get louder and louder so the booming and drone and rasp and farting if you hate all that is well contained. The wife, the neighbors and your inner ear will all thank you.

As far as the exhaust itself, it is a bit more expensive than most, but it is a quality piece. It bolted on by a mechanic who had never seen it in less than 30 minutes. It is solid, with high quality welds, and has a large muffler at the end, but the effect of extra packing on flow seems mitigated because the midpipe flows straight directly into the rear muffler and not curving around like so many GR hatch exhausts. You will also notice that each of the 4 quad tailpipes has little holes throughout its cicrumference because there are 4 extra resonators there to keep noise level down no matter what your mod set is.

Thanks to my buddy who helped me post these long videos of me just driving around town, traffic and highway, they should give you a really good idea if this exhaust is for you. But take it from me, fact is that it's about as loud as stock and in some situations marginally more, fewer still marginally less. If this is the kind of noise level you are looking for because maybe other exhaust mods are keeping the loudness about as much as you dare, then you'll love the Milltek, it does the job of keeping noise levels more than reasonably fun but above all reasonably inoffensive.

Without further ado, here are the videos long in the making. What I found is that the exhaust is louder, not softer than life. So you get a really good idea for what it sounds like though realize it is a bit tamer. It's because I have full bushings so the driveline whine kind of joins the exhaust note. But pay attention to my speech, my radar detector chirps, and background noise for a comparison and you'll see that the Milltek exhaust is not meaningfully louder than any of those. So in the search to find an exhaust that works well with ELH that doesn't rasp, drone or fart, Milltek does a really nice job.

Milltek Catback on a Subaru GR WRX STi - YouTube

Milltek Catback on a Subaru GR WRX STi (2) - YouTube

Last edited by Toivonen; 02-07-15 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 02-08-15, 01:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

Thanks for your informative review and the videos
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Old 02-09-15, 03:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by user1029 View Post
Thanks for your informative review and the videos
The sound is take it or leave it. It's basically OEM like but more of a refined, "tuned" sort of sound. One can argue about whether one likes it or not but I can say for sure that Milltek is in the hunt with OEM for loudness. I think it does a better job with the ELH than OEM actually in filtering out sounds that are unpleasant.

A lot of people say "this is what I think it should have sounded like from the factory". Again one can agree about which exhaust fits this bill, but this is definitely an exhaust that could have come from the factory in terms of its loudness. People who have not hear an OEM STi before will not think it "has a catback". On the other hand it has a tuned feel to it as well so it does well in both regards.

The best recommendation for Milltek is for people who don't want something meaningfully louder than OEM. So if your state, like Massachusetts has laws prohibiting "any exhaust that is louder than OEM", Milltek will work well.

EDIT: from my experience, I have heard the following catbacks in person mostly at autocrosses or local meets and will range them in loudness:

1- Stock or Milltek are more or less equivalent, maybe the Milltek is 1.1 outisde but 0.9 inside with ELH.
2 would be slightly louder than stock, Cobb/SPT. Cobb better at quieting down more mods, SPT quieter bone stock but then goes to a 3 or 4 with more mods. I wouldn't go with SPT and ELH, bad combo, that one probably scores in the 4 territory.
3. Intermediate, somewhat louder than stock. Invidia Q300 and Nameless (fairly loud, some drone but less than others, with ELH starts going 3.5, Nameless better at muffling more mods so maybe 2.7).
4. Much louder than stock, start risking inspection and things like that Corsa/Invidia N1 (N1 probably a bit louder w/ other mods like DP)
5. (EXTREMELY loud, felony loudness) Tomei Expreme/Tanabe Concept G/Invidia Race. Tomei probably takes the cake in absolute loudness.

Last edited by Toivonen; 02-09-15 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 02-09-15, 04:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

It sounds freaking awesome. It does have that exotic tone to it. If only they made one for the gd.
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Old 02-09-15, 05:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

NIce review. Yea I run the Cobb and I like it. Its not loud at all and yet it gives a deep enough tone that I feel like it brings the car to life a bit (epseicially with the Killer B header).

I have said this many times - as far as exhausts are concerned - the only one you could argue and prove that gives an ACTUAL performance boost over all the others is the Tomei Extreme Ti and thats because of its reduced weight and it has the least bends possible as its a single exit exhaust. However its loud as hell and sounds annoying. Exhausts boil down to noise and sound preference as all are going to perform really close to the same if they are a 3" construction. The performance benefits each one has over the other are going to practically be negligible.

I like the sound of this one though for sure too.
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Old 02-09-15, 05:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

I'm going to give this a try if the nameless 5" muffler is too loud.. I have killerb,1.5 and catless . Right now its through a invidia n1 and its ridiculous.
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Old 02-09-15, 05:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stisteven View Post
It sounds freaking awesome. It does have that exotic tone to it. If only they made one for the gd.
They do:
Subaru Impreza 2.5 WRX and STi Milltek exhaust

The one thing is this, and I find myself in the same position of saying it because I am an asshole, or I have one just like everyone else. At least from what I can sniff, I can't smell shit from the distance my nose is to my rear end.

At any rate this is how I think the STi should have sounded from the factory. Almost everyone who is happy says that about their exhaust, but the reason I put a little extra feeling in this opinion of mine is because it has about the same noise level as stock, so it can pass for OEM like noise level. But within this universe, it sounds considerably more interesting than OEM while allowing for not just the same legality and noise level, but the noise level is not adversely affected should you want more mods downstream. In other words, whether you stay completely bone OEM stock otherwise or start slapping on downpipes, turbos and headers, the noise level won't grow to obnoxious or illegal levels.

I'll say at WOT the Corsa was more fun but the Milltek is a nice, mellow, better all around package. You can say that X exhaust works better than the Milltek in Y situation (WOT, with whatever kind of mods, you name it), but there really won't be a situation where the Milltek will fall short. The only way it might disappoint is the driver might want it slightly louder, but it's a small price to pay for the ability to hear yourself think.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BJJMark95 View Post
NIce review. Yea I run the Cobb and I like it. Its not loud at all and yet it gives a deep enough tone that I feel like it brings the car to life a bit (epseicially with the Killer B header).

I have said this many times - as far as exhausts are concerned - the only one you could argue and prove that gives an ACTUAL performance boost over all the others is the Tomei Extreme Ti and thats because of its reduced weight and it has the least bends possible as its a single exit exhaust. However its loud as hell and sounds annoying. Exhausts boil down to noise and sound preference as all are going to perform really close to the same if they are a 3" construction. The performance benefits each one has over the other are going to practically be negligible.

I like the sound of this one though for sure too.
+1. Once you're 3" they all work more or less the same. I've heard from more than one reliable source past a certain power level you start to discern differences but that power level is very, very high, higher than most of us "stay stock", "stage 1/2" or even turbo upgrade people will do.
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnebiker14 View Post
I'm going to give this a try if the nameless 5" muffler is too loud.. I have killerb,1.5 and catless . Right now its through a invidia n1 and its ridiculous.
Some will argue but IMHO Killer B manifold is one of the best headers out there. But for the same reason it's so good, the flow, responsiveness and power, it was built for that purpose and introduces a lot of never before heard rasps, farts and drones. Many catbacks that would otherwise be well liked, even with other ELH setups sound awful with the Killer B header. Cobb and Milltek so far have been the only two I have heard that didn't sound tinny, raspy, ricey or farty in the negative stereotype of a 4-cyl kind of way. Not to degrade this wonderful header, but if it's not for a pure race car it's hard to find a catback that will mate well acoustically to attenuate all those extra noises.
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Old 02-09-15, 06:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

IMO one of the best exhausts out there because of its thoughtful routing that avoids all the points in the rear suspension that need adjustment during an alignment.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

good review toivonen. good to put a voice to a screen name, too. i would've thought your voice was going to be deep and bassy like the corsa exhaust and not tinny and stock sounding like the milltek. at least it wasn't farty.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Milltek Exhaust Subaru Cat Back Review (Killer B ELH, Dom 1.5, Catted DP)

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Originally Posted by cenix View Post
good review toivonen. good to put a voice to a screen name, too. i would've thought your voice was going to be deep and bassy like the corsa exhaust and not tinny and stock sounding like the milltek. at least it wasn't farty.


Actually with the Killer B header the Corsa is very tinny and farty whereas the Milltek is more deep and bassy, it's the opposite....

As always love the friendship, camraderie, sense of humour and that you're still around!
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