Richard Holdener
April 1, 2011

It's natural for owners of the original 5.0L to be somewhat skeptical about Ford's use of yet another name from the glorious past. Nostalgia is a hot commodity that only takes you so far.

One of the difficulties associated with a nostalgic name is that it's sometimes difficult for the reality of the current iteration to exceed our memory of the original. Believe me, memories of the Shelby GT350, Boss 302, or even the original 5.0L, are almost always better than the reality. The early Shelby and Boss cars were off-the-charts cool, but they couldn't hold a candle to a Fox-chassis, 5.0L, injected Mustang for outright driveability or performance.

The same holds true for the new 5.0L Four-Valve motor. Those who flourished during the original 5.0L renaissance (the rebirth of Ford performance) no doubt hold the original injected 302 in high regard. It was, after all, responsible for the birth of a performance segment that continues to this day. But although impressive in its time, the performance of the original 5.0L simply can't compare to its modern equivalent. Though they share displacement, it's hard to argue with an extra 187 hp, plus 1,000 extra rpm of usable engine speed and even better fuel economy.

As impressed as we are, we can't shake the itch to go to the next level. We love the new 5.0L, and recognize the benefit of the additional displacement and variable cam timing. These changes combined with higher static compression and a revised intake manifold give the new 5.0L something it sorely needed-a little thing we like to call torque.

Though the new Coyote is an improvement compared to the previous 4.6L, the 5.0L is still down a full liter of displacement compared to the Chevy and Dodge boys. All the trick intakes and cam phasing in the world will not make up for the missing liter of displacement. The new 5.0L can match them in terms of real-world performance, but it must rely on a lighter curb weight to offset the missing displacement. Luckily for enthusiasts, the aftermarket is in full swing on the 5.0L, and that includes the Acme boost-masters over at Kenne Bell.

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Case in point, this new 5.0L supercharger kit from Kenne Bell will add as much as 200 rwhp to your new 5.0L at roughly 9 psi of boost. Naturally, the highlight of the kit is the Kenne Bell Twin Screw supercharger. Our test involves a 2.8L, liquid-cooled supercharger, but other configurations are also available. The KB blower brigade for the 5.0L includes the 2.8L (standard and liquid-cooler), and the liquid-cooled 3.6L. There are, however, those who insist on nothing but the biggest and baddest, and Kenne Bell now offers such a jetpack. The 4.2L Twin Screw is capable of supporting over 1,400 hp on the right application.

Blower choice comes down primarily to online bragging rights, but rest assured, any of the available superchargers will transform your 5.0L into a serious muscle Mustang. Given the elevated static compression, the 2.8L will support more power than the stock components are likely to withstand, especially on pump gas. To combat the high compression, the Kenne Bell supercharger kit includes a number of countermeasures, including precision tuning, ultra-efficient intercooling, and a dedicated cold-air intake. Knowing that the power output of the blower motor is only as good as the greatest restriction, Kenne Bell designed the kit to maximize airflow to the blower. Maximization started off with a dedicated filter that flows over 2,000 cfm. Attached to the filter is a cold-air intake measuring a whopping 4.5 inches in diameter.

The custom inlet system is also home to the mass air meter. Repositioning the mass air meter naturally required reprogramming, as did the installation of the larger injectors. Completing the air inlet system is the Mammoth intake manifold and throttle body. Testing demonstrated that the factory throttle body is the most restrictive element in the system, but as usual, Kenne Bell had a cure (see sidebar on throttle body testing).

In addition to the massive intake, the kit also features a new air-to-water intercooler system. Knowing the new motor features 11.0:1 compression, KB increased the size and efficiency of the intercooler core to maximize heat dissipation. According to Kenne Bell, the intercooler system employs as large a core as space constraints allowed.

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