Ricardo Topete
October 21, 2010

The highly anticipated '11 5.0-powered Mustang is a legend in the making. Yes, we believe the new 5.0 definitely is the Pony-and the engine-that all others will be measured against for a long time to come. As you well know by now, Ford equips '11 GTs with a 5.0-liter, Four-Valve mill rated at 412 hp at a stratospheric 7,000-rpm limiter. With such a well-engineered power-plant, it makes you wonder how much more room there is for improvement, especially considering it comes factory-equipped with cold-air induction as stock equipment.

From experience, we've learned that one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods of substantial power gains is to uncork the induction side of the motor. Upgrading to an aftermarket cold-air induction kit is probably the most common mod made by late-model Mustang enthusiasts. It's no mystery why as the performance gains, ease of installation, and relatively low cost associated with this upgrade score big with consumers.

In the case of late-model Mustangs, many CAI systems require reprogramming the computer in order to maximize performance, but more importantly, to avoid the dreaded Check Engine light, as well as driveability issues. Skip this important part of the equation and your engine could pay dearly with its life due to an overly lean air/fuel mixture.

For the new 5.0, Steeda Autosports teamed up with SCT to provide a one-two punch in the form of a cold-air induction kit and a handheld computer tuner/flash device to take the hot new 'Stangs to the next level.

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Steeda's Ultimate Induction Pak (PN 555-3935 for manual and PN 555-3936 for automatic; $739) features the company's cold-air induction kit and SCT's X3 flash tuner. Although Steeda offers both items individually, there is a price savings when purchased as a kit. Furthermore, Steeda's cold-air sends a lot more air across the mass-air sensor, so a flash is mandatory.

To be expected with the Steeda/SCT combo, the use of 91-octane fuel (or higher) is required. We don't suspect many 'Stang freaks will have a quarrel with burning premium fuel in exchange for a healthy bump in power output. The extra couple of bucks spent at the pump during fill-ups is a small price to pay for the satisfaction of smoking the competition.

Installing the CAI and PCM update is so simple that even semi-mechanically-inclined enthusiasts should be able to handle the job in less than an hour. For simplicity, the flash tuner comes pre-loaded with Steeda's standard cold-air tune, which eliminates any guesswork and truly makes this a plug-n-play procedure. The more aggressive, custom tune that we're using is an additional-cost upgrade that requires providing your Mustang's PCM code.

Once complete, it's always a good idea to visit your local dyno shop and verify the end results-specifically, to ensure that the air/fuel ratio is within the allowable range when the hammer is dropped.

On The Dyno
We blasted the Mustang on the dyno to the tune of 387.64 horses and 367.93 lb-ft of torque on the ground. As impressive as the peak gains are, study the accompanying dyno data and you will see that power and torque both surpass the stock levels as early as around 2,500 rpm. From that point on, the Steeda/SCT combo simply runs away from the stock setup. Keep your foot down, let the 5.0 Coyote wind itself out, and you will be rewarded with larger gains that increase with revs. The SCT-set, 7,000-rpm rev-limiter really takes advantage of the new 'Stang's top-end potential. Noticeable performance gains with little effort-what's not to like?

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BaselineSteeda CAIDifference
RPMHPTQHPTQHPTQ
2,500135.78297.10142.88300.177.103.07
3,000166.11300.82176.06308.219.957.39
3,500209.07322.96225.27338.0416.2015.08
4,000251.66338.91268.57352.6416.9113.73
4,500301.38359.75310.71362.659.332.90
5,000322.17345.32337.53354.5515.369.23
5,500355.14345.42365.09348.649.953.22
6,000360.38320.81372.66326.2112.285.40
6,500372.61305.78387.61313.2015.007.42
6,900370.11285.87378.03287.767.921.89