The Ford S550 Mustang GT has emerged as one of the best examples of American muscle car excellence since it debuted in 2015, combining potent V8 power with an aesthetic that commands attention. This iconic vehicle, known for its Coyote 5.0L engine and the evolution of the Mustang’s design and overall performance, has carved its initials into the hearts of car enthusiasts worldwide. However, even with its impressive factory spec performance capabilities, there's an untapped potential lying beneath its hood waiting to be unleashed.
One of the easiest ways to tap into the latent power of the Mustang GT is by replacing the stock air intake with a high-performance cold air intake. An aftermarket air intake is an essential performance upgrade for owners looking to take their Mustang's performance to new heights. By adding more cool, dense air into the engine, a cold air intake significantly boosts horsepower and torque numbers across the rev range. This simple yet impactful upgrade not only enhances engine efficiency but also adds a distinct improvement to the overall driving experience of the S550 Mustang GT.
In our quest to find the best cold air intakes for the Ford S550 Mustang GT, we've explored a plethora of factors including overall performance improvements, price, build quality, and feedback from Mustang GT owners. The selected intakes stand out for their ability to boost power and efficiency, offering a blend of reliability, cost-effectiveness, and positive user reviews.
The JLT Performance Cold Air Intake is an excellent choice for 2018-2023 Mustang GT owners looking for a significant upgrade from their factory intake system. Made from high-grade plastic with a sleek black texture, this intake isn’t just about looks; it's about making your S550 perform at its best. It's designed to be a direct replacement for your factory intake, improving airflow and increasing horsepower and torque numbers. The combination of power stack filtered ends and a roto-molded heat shield ensures a noticeable improvement in your Mustang's performance. The JLT Performance Cold Air Intake, proudly designed and made in the USA, is engineered for precision and a perfect fit for your Mustang. Installation is straightforward, taking about 2 hours with common garage tools, and JLT highly recommends having your ECU reprogrammed to ensure no check engine lights and maximum performance.
The C&L Cold Air Intake is another excellent cold air intake available for the 2018-2023 Ford Mustang GT. Designed to improve airflow compared to the restrictions of the factory intake, this intake adds a substantial increase in terms of horsepower and torque. The high-flow air filter is a standout feature, designed to trap contaminants effectively, and is reusable, offering long-term savings. What sets the C&L intake apart is its capability to improve your Mustang’s engine performance without needing to retune your ECU. However, for the best results, a custom tune is recommended. Installation is user-friendly, requiring no special tools, and can be completed in under an hour.
The Roush Performance Cold Air Intake is often cited as the best CAI on the market because of its significant boost to any Mustang GT's power numbers when installed. Replacing the stock air box and paper filter with a high-flow air box and performance air filter leads to a notable increase in horsepower, torque, and throttle response. The Roush High-flow Dry Air Filter is a standout feature, offering excellent filtration without the need for oiling, saving both time and money. The intake box is meticulously designed to draw cooler air and improve airflow, highlighted by a clear window for easy filter monitoring and under-hood appeal. The use of state-of-the-art computer-aided designs allows the Roush Performance Cold Air Intake intake to improve power even with the factory ECU programming, although a custom tune is recommended for maximum performance. Installation is straightforward with basic hand tools, and the kit is CARB-certified, ensuring your S550 stays legal in all 50 states.
The Corsa Closed Box Cold Air Intake with DryTech 3D Dry Filter is a top-tier choice for Mustang enthusiasts looking for an easy bolt-on performance upgrade. Corsa promises up to an +18% flow increase over the stock intakes, adding more horsepower and torque to your Coyote V8. Its rotomolded closed-air box is engineered to keep engine heat at bay while lowering air intake temperatures. The high-efficiency DryTech 3D Synthetic red filter provides superior filtration, and its maintenance-friendly design requires oil changes only every 50,000 miles. The Corsa Closed Box Cold Air Intake can run on a factory tune, but we recommend a custom or canned tune to get the most out of this cold air intake. Installation is a breeze with common garage tools, and no modifications are needed to install this direct-performance replacement.
The PMAS Cold Air Intake is designed for the Mustang enthusiast who’s looking for every performance advantage, whether it be on the street or at the track. Drawing air from the driver’s side fender well, this cold air intake significantly increases the amount of cool air, leading to more horsepower and torque. Constructed with heavy-duty ABS plastic and stainless steel couplers, the PMAS Cold Air Intake is ready to stand up to whatever you throw its way. The installation process is user-friendly, taking about 30 minutes. This intake kit is suitable for 2018 and newer Mustang GT 5.0 models and promises up to 20 whp gain. However, the PMAS Cold Air Intake does require an ECU tune after installation due to the MAF sensor being moved.
Maximize your Mustang's performance with the K&N Series 69 Typhoon Cold Air Intake. Designed to add more cool, oxygen-rich air to your Mustang GT, this intake significantly improves torque, and throttle response, and adds around 16 horsepower at 7000 RPMs. No reprogramming is needed, but a custom tune is recommended for the best performance. The performance air filter is made with a layered cotton media, ensuring excellent filtration and airflow. Constructed with black cross-linked polyethylene and featuring mandrel-bent aluminum tubing, the K&N Series 69 Typhoon Cold Air Intake is built for durability and efficiency. The installation process is straightforward, taking about an hour with basic hand tools, and it integrates seamlessly with your Mustang's existing components.
The Injen Evolution Cold Air Intake is a game-changer for Ford S550 Mustang GTs. It replaces the restrictive stock air box with a roto-molded polyethylene airbox and a high-flow super nano-web dry filter, resulting in dyno-tested gains of 26 HP and 23 ft/lb of torque using the factory tune. No computer re-tune is required, though a custom tune is recommended for peak performance. The supernatant-web dry air filter ensures excellent airflow and filtration, requiring maintenance only every 10,000-20,000 miles. This intake system is durably designed in the USA and features a Built-in Filter Minder for easy maintenance monitoring. Installation is simple with basic hand tools, making it a user-friendly upgrade.
The Airaid MXP Series Cold Air Intake with a Yellow SynthaMax Dry Filter is a great performance upgrade for Mustang GT owners wanting to improve horsepower, torque, and MPG. The non-woven, synthetic yellow dry air filter is washable and reusable, offering maintenance-free service for years. The black polyethylene housing includes a built-in velocity stack, enhancing airflow and overall performance. The installation is straightforward, requiring only basic garage tools, with an estimated install time of about an hour.
The aFe Momentum GT Pro 5R Cold Air Intake is an ideal choice for 2018-2023 GT Mustang owners looking to add more horsepower and torque. This intake replaces the restrictive stock air box with a one-piece air box and a Pro 5R filter assembly, increasing airflow by 28% over the factory intake. No re-tune is required, but a custom tune is recommended for optimal performance. The Pro 5R air filter features 5-layers of mesh cotton gauze, ensuring excellent filtration and protection. The roto-molded air intake housing and clear plexiglass window add durability and visual appeal. Installation is easy with basic hand tools, taking approximately an hour.
The BBK Blackout Cold Air Intake is a powerhouse, offering an impressive gain of 20 HP/TQ and improved throttle response. Its design includes a custom integral mass air house and mandrel bent tubes, increasing airflow by up to 75% over stock intakes. No re-tuning is required, but highly recommended to take full advantage of the increased airflow. The high-flow conical cotton filter is washable and reusable, enhancing airflow and performance. The intake's construction features CNC mandrel bent steel tubes and a black powder coat finish, ensuring durability and a sleek look. Installation is quick, requiring only about 30 minutes with basic hand tools.
Air intake systems are crucial components in vehicles, designed to bring outside air into the engine for combustion. The quality and temperature of this air can significantly impact engine performance. Cold air intakes, for instance, draw cooler air from outside the engine bay, which is denser and contains more oxygen, leading to more efficient combustion.
The efficiency of an engine largely depends on the mixture of air and fuel. CAIs enhance this process by supplying cooler air, which is denser and allows for a better air-to-fuel ratio. This results in more complete combustion, translating to better engine performance and efficiency.
There are various types of air intakes, each with unique characteristics. Cold air intakes are known for drawing in cooler air from outside the engine bay, often resulting in significant performance gains. Short ram intakes, on the other hand, are more compact and easier to install but might draw in warmer air from the engine bay. There are also stock replacement filters which are simple drop-in upgrades for the existing airbox.
The performance gains from air intakes can vary. Factors such as the design of the intake, the type of vehicle, and the condition of other engine components play a role. Typically, gains can be seen in horsepower, torque, and sometimes fuel efficiency.
Air intakes enhance horsepower and torque by improving the airflow to the engine. This allows the engine to breathe easier, reducing the effort needed to draw in air and thus freeing up power that can be used for propulsion.
In some cases, air intakes can improve fuel efficiency. By facilitating a more efficient combustion process, the engine can generate more power from the same amount of fuel, potentially leading to better mileage.
Upgrading to a performance air intake system can also improve throttle response. This is due to the more efficient airflow, which allows the engine to respond more quickly to throttle inputs. Additionally, many enthusiasts appreciate the enhanced engine sound that comes with a performance air intake, often perceived as a growl during acceleration.
Maintaining an air intake system is key to sustaining its performance benefits. Regularly cleaning and, if necessary, oiling the air filter, ensuring all connections and hoses are secure, and periodically checking for any obstructions in the intake path are all important maintenance steps. Proper maintenance not only ensures optimal performance but also prolongs the life of the intake system.
Upgrading to a performance exhaust system can greatly enhance the sound and efficiency of your Mustang GT. These systems are designed to reduce back pressure and increase exhaust flow, leading to better horsepower and torque.
Coilovers are an excellent mod for drivers looking to improve their Mustang GT's handling and stance. They offer adjustable ride height and, in some cases, adjustable damping, allowing for a more personalized driving experience.
Installing performance exhaust headers can significantly improve engine breathing, leading to gains in horsepower and torque. Headers optimize exhaust gas flow from the engine, improving overall engine efficiency.
We've explored some of the best Ford Mustang cold air intake options for the Ford S550 Mustang GT, each offering unique benefits in terms of performance gains, ease of installation, and overall quality. These intakes are crucial for anyone looking to unlock the full potential of their Pony.
Thank you for reading, and we encourage you to explore our other Mustang Tuning guides, including those on exhausts, coilovers, exhaust headers, and our comprehensive S550 tuning guide, to enhance your Mustang GT's performance further.
The best intake varies based on individual needs and preferences. However, options like the JLT, C&L, and Roush intakes are highly regarded for their performance improvements and build quality.
The horsepower gain from a cold air intake can vary, but typically, you can expect an increase of 10-20 HP, depending on the intake and other modifications.
While not always necessary, a tune can help maximize the performance gains from a cold air intake, ensuring the engine runs efficiently with the upgraded airflow.
Running an intake without a tune can sometimes lead to issues like a check engine light or suboptimal performance, but this depends on the intake and vehicle. However, many modern intakes are designed to work well with the factory tune.
Aftermarket intakes can be worth it for drivers looking to improve their vehicle's performance. They typically offer gains in horsepower, torque, and sometimes fuel efficiency, along with an enhanced engine sound.