Engine Modifications

Sometimes 110bhp from the standard Sera just isn’t enough.  Want more?   Here’s a number of options…

Power figures marked * are estimates and prices approximations and do not include labour costs, VAT or postage

This is the standard level of tune.   It is from the E series of engines and the Sera has the most powerful, normally aspirated E series engine released by Toyota. There are small improvements that can be made,,,

120bhp is most probably possible without resorting to major engine modifications or turbocharging. I suggest following:-

  • sports air filter (£ 40)
    You can either fit a uprated panel filter, or remove the air box entirely and have a cone filter.    There will be an increase in induction noise, and heat management is going to be as important as the performance of the filter.  Keeping warm air from engine / radiator out of the inlet charge will help.
  • revised exhaust (£ 600) – The most gains available would be within the exhaust manifold
  • fuel power boost valve (£ 90),
  • the use of high octane fuel such as Shell V-Power or similar.
  • revised ECU.   The Sera ECU is hard to crack but there are aftermarket fuel and ignition computers which can override the ECU.   These require mapping by an experienced specialist.  (approx £ 750)    Get this wrong and serious engine damage can happen…
Revision of ECU should be done at the end of the modification process to optimise effects of each individual modification.

The Starlet Turbo 4E-FTE engine is another of the E series engines, which share common engine mountings and electrics. It is therefore quite a straightforward swap. This engine, as standard, gives an immediate 25bhp increase in power to 135bhp. The Starlet Turbo has a top speed of 127mph and does 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds. The Starlet Turbo is a bit lighter than a Sera, so performance will not be quite as good, but the Sera is possibly better aerodynamically and has a smaller frontal area, which may compensate…

This engine can be increased in power quite considerably if necessary by simple modifications to intercooler, boost and fuelling The Starlet turbo has a thriving tuning scene.


The Starlet Turbo can be tuned to give substantially more than released by Toyota. In order to achieve these levels of power it is necessary to make quite a number of changes – exchanging the intercooler for a larger version and relocating to the front bumper, a revised exhaust, a revised induction kit, plus a number of electronic gizmos to revise the fuelling and turbo boost safety points.

At least two cars in Japan claim to have 300bhp and one in Australia with a claimed 290bhp.   This is an expensive conversion as the engine and transmission have to be strengthened.   Cooling and fuelling issues have to be solved as well as improvements to the brakes and handling.


+: increased power.  150mph! 0-60 in 6s
-: fuel economy, reliability issues, expense, fitting

See this page for pictures of the 300bhp turbocharged Sera