Many tend to associate the Chevy Camaro with big V8 engines. It may come as a shock when some people learn the Camaro is available with a 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine. Don’t let the small engine fool you, though. With some basic performance upgrades the 2.0T Camaro is a very capable car.
In this article, we discuss some of the best bolt-on mods for the 2.0 LTG Camaro along with power gains, cost, and more. The article will also cover some bigger 2.0T Camaro mods like turbo upgrades, internals, and supporting mods.
5 Best Camaro 2.0T Performance Upgrades
Some of the best bolt-on performance upgrades for the Camaro LTG 2.0T include:
- Throttle body
Throughout this article we will discuss these 5 Camaro mods in-depth. They’re generally the best starting point to upgrading the 2.0T LTG Ecotec engine. These bolt-ons alone can push the engine to 300-350+whp and 325-350+wtq. At the end, we’ll also cover some bigger performance upgrades such as turbo kits, internals, and fueling mods to make even more power.
1) Camaro LTG 2.0 Tuning
Tuning is the most important aspect to making more horsepower. That’s true for just about every engine, but it’s especially true on turbo engines like the 2.0 LTG Camaro. A tune alone can offer power gains in the ballpark of 20-50whp and 30-60wtq. That’s pretty impressive for one single upgrade that only costs about $500-1,000.
Additionally, 2.0T Camaro tunes help maximize the power gains and benefits of other upgrades. Mods like an intake, downpipe, or FMIC simply won’t reach their full potential without proper tuning.
There are tons of options when it comes to choosing a tune for the Chevy Camaro 2.0L LTG engine. It’s important to choose a tune from a reputable, trusted tuner. You don’t want Joe from down the street tuning your Camaro just because he once tuned a ’92 Civic. Otherwise, which tune is right for you often just comes down to personal preference and goals.
Best Chevy Camaro Tunes
Again, there are a lot of options to tune the 2.0T LTG inline-4 Camaro engine. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means but some great tunes include:
- Trifecta Tuning
- Vermont Tuning
- ZZ Performance (ZZP)
This list is merely a starting point of some good tunes for the 2.0L turbo. Certain tunes offer different features, performance, benefits, etc. We highly encourage readers do more research before deciding on the right tune.
Ultimately, a tune is one of the single best upgrades for the Chevrolet Camaro. Ensure you’re picking a tune that meets your needs and goals. Regardless of the exact pick, a tune is sure to impress with its big power gains and support for other Camaro upgrades.
Camaro Tune HP Gains: 20-50whp / 30-60wtq
Tune Price: $500 – 1,000+
2) 2.0T Camaro Intake Upgrades
An intake is one of the most popular and simple performance upgrades for the 2.0 Camaro for good reason. They’re cheap, easy to install, free up some engine & turbo noise, and make for a clean looking engine bay. Cold air intakes for the 2.0L turbo Camaro can also add some decent power gains.
However, the stock Camaro intake is plenty efficient on a totally stock engine. Without increasing boost it’s unlikely an intake will add much power, if any. Once you begin adding other mods and tuning then the additional power can overwhelm the stock intake. This is where you’ll start to see possible gains of ~5whp with a performance cold air intake.
The small power gains may not sound too appealing but, again, intakes do offer a number of other benefits. An open intake design can free up a lot of turbo and induction sounds. We think it’s an awesome noise that’s worth the upgrade. 2.0T LTG Camaro intake upgrades also add a unique, clean look to the engine bay.
Open vs Closed Camaro Intakes
Cold air intake is a common term for aftermarket intake systems. However, the term doesn’t truly apply to the LTG Camaro or other turbo engines with intercoolers. Why? The temperature at the intake has little affect on the temperature of the air entering the engine.
Air enters the intake an travels thru a very hot turbocharger. Air also heats up as it’s compressed by the turbo. It’s then cooled by the Camaro’s FMIC. Hotter air at the intake doesn’t have a meaningful impact on the temperature of the air entering or exiting the intercooler.
As such, when it comes to turbo engines we like to think of intakes as simply an open vs closed design. Open intakes are open to the engine bay whereas a closed intake has an enclosed box around the filter – as the names suggest.
Open performance intakes for the 2.0T Camaro are the best option, in our opinion. They offer the best air-flow and more sounds since there isn’t a restrictive box around the filter. However, if you don’t want a lot of turbo sounds then a closed intake system may be your best bet.
3) 2.0L Turbo Downpipe Mods
Up next is a downpipe (DP) for the 2.0L turbo Camaro. This is one of the best bolt-on upgrades for just about any turbo engine. For those unfamiliar with a downpipe, it’s the portion of the exhaust that bolts directly to the turbocharger. As is the case with the LTG Camaro, they often contain a bulky catalytic converter (cat).
It’s great for emissions but not so great for performance or power. Cats create a lot of backpressure which can hurt performance, especially when located so close to the turbo. A large part of a turbos ability to spool and build boost is the drop in pressure from pre to post-turbo.
The larger the drop in pressure the faster the exhaust gases look to escape to the lower pressure air. This helps the air accelerate and spin the turbine as it passes over the turbine blades. Reducing back-pressure in the downpipe is a great way to improve turbo spool and allow the turbo to safely run higher boost.
A Camaro DP upgrade can offer peak gains in the ballpark of 5-15whp and 5-20wtq. You might even see better gains on the lower-end due to the improved turbo spool. Additionally, a downpipe will wake up the exhaust sounds on WOT runs without being overly intrusive during regular cruising.
Catless vs Catted 2.0 LTG Downpipes
There are two primary downpipe upgrades for the 2.0 Camaro – catless and catted. A catted downpipe is often known as a high-flow catted downpipe. The idea is simply replacing the bulky OEM cat with a higher-flowing aftermarket cat. On the other hand, a catless DP totally eliminates the cat.
The catless option offers the biggest reduction in back-pressure and will result in the best power gains and turbo spool. It’s also the cheaper option of the two. However, you’ll likely have a harder time passing sniffer tests or visual inspections. We always recommend running a tune with any downpipe, but it’s especially true with a catless Camaro DP.
Catted downpipes are probably the best option for most street Camaro’s. They are technically still illegal. However, you’re more likely to pass emissions testing or inspections with a cat in the downpipe. Power gains and turbo spool are big improvements over stock, but not quite as impressive as the catless downpipe.
Camaro DP Power Gains: 5-15whp / 5-20wtq (+ better turbo spool)
Camaro DP Cost: ~$250-500
4) Camaro LTG 2.0T FMIC Upgrades
A front-mount-intercooler (FMIC) is an interesting “power” upgrade to discuss. Don’t get us wrong – a Camaro 2.0T FMIC is absolutely one of the best bolt-on mods. However, it’s unlikely you’ll notice meaningful peak power gains with an FMIC. Why pay $500-700+ for an FMIC, then?
FMIC upgrades are all about consistent performance and engine safety. The factory Camaro intercooler suffices on stock boost and normal driving. However, start modding the 2.0L LTG or doing back-to-back pulls and then intercooler is quickly overwhelmed. Intake air temperature (IAT) starts climbing quickly.
As IAT rises the 2.0 turbo engine will begin pulling ignition timing and boost to protect the engine. This is due to the fact hotter air increases the risk of engine knock. In other words, you’ll start losing power as IAT increases.
Enter Camaro FMIC performance upgrades. Larger intercoolers increase the cooling ability and help keep IAT in check. On one of glory runs an intercooler may only show gains of a few wheel horsepower. However, it can prevent the LTG turbo engine from losing 10-20+whp after some spirited driving.
5) 2.0T Throttle Body Performance Mods
To be honest, throttle body upgrades on a turbo engine gets us scratching our heads. In the German and JDM worlds, a throttle body isn’t a common topic or upgrade. At least for most platforms. However, a throttle body is a very popular mod in the American car scene and that rings true for the 2.0T Camaro.
The 2.0 LTG throttle body is 59mm, but the inlet to the intake manifold is closer to 67mm. It’s an odd design and size difference that creates a bit of a bottleneck in the intake system. As such, upgrading the 2.0T Camaro throttle body can offer some decent power gains and throttle response for the cost.
Don’t expect any massive power gains with a throttle body. However, picking up ~5whp and better throttle response is very realistic. The ZZP ~67mm throttle body costs $290 – or $196 if you already have the ZZP intercooler charge pipes. Given the low price and respectable gains the 2.0T Camaro throttle body is a great upgrade.
FBO 2.0T Camaro Performance
With all of these bolt-ons, 93 octane, and proper tuning you can see numbers in the 300-325whp ballpark. Torque should come in around 325-350wtq. Pretty solid results for a small 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine. You can make even more on the stock turbo with small E85 blends and tuning for higher ethanol content.
These numbers might not “wow” people considering the larger 6.2L V8 pumps out more power. However, that shouldn’t take anything away from the 2.0L LTG Camaro. With the above mods the turbo Camaro can make for a very fun and powerful enough (for most people) daily driver.
Check out the below video of a stock turbo Camaro running consistent 12 second 1/4 miles at 110-112mph. Not too shabby. However, keep in mind, this Camaro does have some weight reduction, tires, and other work to help achieve those times. Still, it is impressive for the small 2.0L inline-4 engine.
Mods for 400+whp LTG 2.0 Camaro
While the Chevy Camaro LTG is a solid engine with the above bolt-on upgrades some will always look to push things further. It would certainly be fun to have a small 2.0 Ecotec engine keeping up with the much larger 6.2L V8 Camaro. However, it does get expensive to push the Camaro 2.0T to 400+whp. Some important mods at this power include:
- Internal engine mods
- Turbo upgrade
- Fueling mods for E85
We’ll address these mods quickly in the next few sections. In the future, we will have some holistic guides on these topics. They’re much larger, more serious mods so it’s a bit too much to go in-depth in this article. Anyway, let’s jump in and discuss these mods for 350-400+whp.
Camaro 2.0T Internal Upgrades
All the mods in these next sections are intertwined in many ways. The 2.0 LTG Camaro engine is near its limit around 325-350whp and 350-375wtq. You can achieve those numbers on the stock turbo and generally be OK for the long-term. There is still risk but the Camaro 2.0L should be relatively OK around those numbers.
However, pushing further puts a lot more stress on the engine and increases the risk of engine failure. 350whp is when you should start considering a built engine. The valve springs, rods, and pistons are common upgrades to push 350-450whp. If you want to go further than that you might even consider head studs, rod bearings, and some other stuff.
2.0L LTG Turbo Upgrades
Of course, a turbo upgrade is another great mod to make more power on the 2.0T Camaro. The stock turbo is already capable of pushing the upper limits of the 2.0L LTG engine. As such, you’ll want to consider some of the internal engine upgrades discussed above.
That said, there are still some benefits to upgrading the turbo even if you don’t want more than 350whp. A larger turbo can help shift the power curve right to make more horsepower up top. It’s a lengthy discussion but the point remains. With the right setup you can get a better overall powerband from the Camaro even without any expensive and time consuming internal work.
Camaro Fueling Mods & E85
Lastly, once you get to these power levels you’ll likely want to run E85 fuel. It’s great for knock resistance and allows you to safely run higher boost and ignition advance. However, E85 requires about 30% more fuel flow than standard pump gas so you’ll need some fueling mods.
The LPFP, HPFP, and injectors are necessary upgrades at high power on heavy E85 blends. You might also want a flex fuel kit and other small fueling upgrades to support ethanol.
Camaro 2.0T Performance Mods Summary
Beginning in 2016, Chevrolet went a different direction with the Camaro by offering the 2.0L turbocharged LTG Ecotec engine. Not everyone approves of a small inline-4 turbo engine in a muscle car. However, the 2.0 LTG delivers impressive performance with a tune and basic bolt-on mods.
Tuning is one of the best starting points as a tune offers big power gains and helps maximize gains from other mods. An intake, downpipe, FMIC, and throttle body are great Camaro 2.0T upgrades too. Combine all these mods and the Camaro is capable of delivering 300+whp and 325+wtq. Solid results for the small inline-4 engine.
Even more performance is possible with some bigger upgrades like a turbo and E85 fueling. However, the stock turbo already pushes the 2.0L LTG near its limit. As such, you should consider some internal engine upgrades if you plan to push things even further. Nonetheless, the Camaro 2.0T is a good all around car that makes for a fun daily driver.
What’s mods do you have on your Camaro? Are you considering any?
Leave a comment and let us know!