KJ Jones Brand Manager, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
April 9, 2014
Photos By: KJ Jones

Horse Sense

Sinister Mustang is a spinoff business from MKM Customs’ flagship company, Sinister Diesel. If you’re like us, you probably have a Ford truck parked right next to your Mustang, for towing, making lumber runs, or just general cruising. ’Stangbangers who want to upgrade their diesel-powered F-250s, F-350s, F-450s, or even F-550s (and we’re jealous of you if you have one of these big rigs) can let their mouse do the clicking through www.sinisterdiesel.com for bits and performance kits that are just as stout as the packages they offer for late-model Ponies.

Victor Becerra’s clean, white ’12 GT lays the smack down on the Dynojet chassis dyno at GTR High Performance. Smack, in this case, is nearly 370 rear-wheel horses in stock form, a number we hope to increase by adding Sinister Mustang’s Performance Kit for ’11-’14 GTs.

In what seems like a shorter period of time than the four years it’s been, we’re now at a point where the ’11-’14 Mustang GT’s Coyote engine has already achieved a legendary status rivaling the laurels its much older pushrod sibling earned many moons ago.

While Coyotes hit the ground running in their introductory year, with a 412 crankshaft horsepower rating in bone-stock trim, our research and the experimentation many of you have done with new ’Stangs proves time and time again that the already awesome powerplant is greatly improved with simple, affordable upgrades.

Swapping the factory’s air-intake hardware for a larger, freer-flowing system typically is the first performance upgrade that’s made. As such, Ricardo Topete kicks things off by disconnecting the OEM airbox and tube assembly on the Coyote in Victor’s Pony. The extraction is simple, and unless you live in California or a state with stringent emissions laws, the stock gear can pretty much be discarded.

When it comes to making those changes, doing so with a collective package of aftermarket components is one of the well- proven methods of getting the best bang for your buck. Yes, we’ve tested many different Coyote bolt-on sets, which typically feature a cold-air-induction system, an exhaust upgrade of some sort, and a PCM reflash. While the cost for such groups can vary due to the type of exhaust the system includes, they’re still considered entry-level bolt-ons, and they’re definitely much cheaper than power adders.

Thanks to many Internet-based parts vendors, all of the guesswork about components that work well as a package is now eliminated—especially for pieces that hop up newer ’Stangs. For the most part, a wide selection of bolt-on groups is available through companies that have evaluated parts on in-house Ponies before presenting them to you as upgrades to consider for your stock ride.

As you see in this photo, the Sinister Mustang ’11-’14 Performance Kit ($1,399) is a simple collection of such bolt-ons as a BBK Performance cold-air-intake kit (PN bbk-1768), Borla Performance ATAK axle-back mufflers (PN bor-1191), and an SCT Power Flash Handheld Programmer (PN sct-3015). It’s really not all that elaborate, and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers with the mechanical wherewithal and equipment for the job.

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Sinister Mustang, a Northern California-based outfit that’s new to aftermarket-Mustang-parts distribution (the company is also working on its own brand of Mustang suspension pieces), is stepping into the scene after many successful years in the high-performance diesel game. With its primary market being latest-models (from ’05-’14), Sinister has put together its own version of hop-up packages for those Three-Valve and Coyote-powered ponies.

This month, we’re working with the ’11-’14 5.0 version of the company’s Mustang GT Performance Kit ($1,399), a simple collection of the parts universally recognized as the most common first bolt-ons. After posting an APB for a test mule with SoCal’s Street Stangz club, it didn’t take long for our buds at GTR High Performance to have Victor Becerra’s low-mileage ’12 stocker delivered to the shop, ready for the basic makeover.

Either flavor of Sinister’s Mustang GT Performance Kit (Three-Valve or Coyote) can be installed by non-professionals, as the tuning segment is simply a matter of flashing the PCM with a pre-programmed SCT calibration. However, since our performance evaluations always include measuring baseline and post-parts power and torque differences, we look to Ricardo and Gonzalo Topete and the team at GTR for their top-notch assistance with efforts like this.

Read through the photos and captions for insights on the new 5.0 upgrade package from Sinister, which is highlighted by basic pieces from BBK Performance, Borla, and SCT.

The installed BBK cold-air setup looks good and is much more efficient than the factory induction system. Providing a larger, smoother, more direct path for cooler air to travel into the throttle body is the logic behind this initial upgrade. The increased air volume helps promote a more efficient air/fuel burn during the combustion process, which results in increased power.

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The Borla cans feature 21⁄2-inch tubing that connects directly to the ’Stang’s OEM exhaust pipes; they’re finished with polished, gargantuan 41⁄2-inch tips. We like the nice growl this exhaust set puts out—mellow at idle, but gangster when the hammer is dropped.