KJ Jones
July 20, 2011
Photos By: GTR High Performance

We admit that we've been on a bit of a tear with our reviews of cold-air-induction kits for '11 Mustang GTs. As history has shown over the last 25 years, CAIs are affordable, effective performance upgrades for fuel-injected ponies.

The systems are simple in their makeup, highlighted primarily by larger-than-stock-diameter inlet tubes, an airbox, and conical-style air filters that optimize air flowing into the engine. Of course, various support pieces (clamps, hardware, and such) are included, and the entire works are installable in quick fashion using tools found in most gearheads' garages.

Airaid Intake Systems is one of many companies producing cold-air systems for the newest 'Stangs. We've evaluated Airaid's wares in the past (see Tech Inspection, Nov '10, on a '10 Mustang GT). With PCM tuning, the kit increased the rear-wheel horsepower and torque of a stock Three-Valve 4.6 by 13.54 hp and 12.64 lb-ft. That was then. Today, of course, the single common denominator between V-8 engines in '10 and '11 Mustang GTs is their number of cylinders. That's pretty much it. With each project we're continuing to learn how much of a different animal the Coyote really is.

Airaid has taken the removable Modular Venturi Tube from its '10 air-intake system and applied it to the newest unit (PN 451-264; $399.99), essentially making the 5.0 system a true bolt-on.

As we've learned in past tests, most cold-air kits thrive when accompanied by PCM calibrations. The Airaid system does not include such tuning, nor is any required when the MVT is installed. So for this exercise, and with help from our friends at GTR High Performance, we're testing Airaid's new system in pure bolt-on fashion.

As you'll see in the photos and captions, installation on Ryan Trapp's '11 Mustang follows the same procedures as its predecessor and many other popular CAIs. The dyno results are the ultimate meat-and-potatoes, though. The 20 peak horses and matching 20 lb-ft of torque (for roughly $400) is pretty darn impressive. 5.0

On the Dyno

In bone-stock trim, Ryan Trapp's '11 Mustang GT laid down 361.49 rwhp and 354.69 lb-ft of torque on the Dynojet chassis dyno at GTR High Performance. Testing was done in Fifth gear, which is the norm for all '11 5.0 'Stangs equipped with six-speed manual transmissions.

While we knew Airaid's induction kit would bring a power gain due to its larger inlet tube and high-flow cone-filter, we were completely floored when the dyno registered 380.74 peak horses and 365.86 lb-ft during the post-installation runs. Twenty additional horsepower and an equal amount (in lb-ft) of torque are fairly sizeable gains for a bolt-on CAI. However, the thing that makes this Airaid deal more impressive is the fact that there was no computer tuning done to achieve the impressive performance. On the downside, however, air/fuel stats are a tad leaner than we prefer.

A close inspection of the dyno graph reveals that the Airaid system makes more power and torque throughout the entire rpm range, from the instant the throttle is nailed until mercy is shown at 6,600 rpm. If only making horsepower was always this easy.

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