Pete Epple Technical Editor
March 5, 2012

C&L Performance - PN 720
Lee Bender of C&L Performance in Huntsville, Alabama, works hard to stay on the cutting edge of induction technology. When Ford introduced the Three-Valve 4.6L powerplant, Bender began designing an intake manifold to meet the needs of the Mustang hot rodders.

"We (C&L Performance) have spent four years developing this intake manifold,” explains Lee Bender, owner of C&L Performance. "The first flow testing for our original production runner designs took place in May 2007. The manifold has gone through two completely different sets of tooling and two different runner configurations since the original design.

"The last seven months of the product development cycle were spent optimizing various characteristics of the manifold with valuable help from independent third-party testing. We had to ensure the manifold's final configuration was flexible enough to support the needs of those with high-rpm engines, while also doing all that we could to maintain good overall performance for those who have cars that operate below 6,500 rpm.”

The C&L intake is a beefy piece. Its cast-aluminum construction, removable plenum cover (under side), and thick mating surfaces (cylinder head and throttle body) make it the heaviest in the group, but there are serious advantages to its design. C&L's cast intake will hold loads of boost, and has provisions for direct-port nitrous nozzles.

"By implementing individual port bosses for a direct-port system, our manifold allows enthusiasts to safely run as much nitrous as they are comfortable with, without fear of backfires, fuel accumulation, or fuel puddling issues,” adds Bender. He also tells us the intake can be iced at the track to chill the incoming air for additional power, although any gains will be seen for a very short period of time. The heat properties of a cast aluminum intake can also rob power when the intake becomes heatsoaked.

Installation was very easy. The stock O-ring-style gaskets get transferred from the stock ('05-'08) intake and the new manifold bolts into place. Once the temperatures were brought to the correct levels (manifold was allowed to cool to ambient temperature), the car was run on the dyno.

The final result was 375 rwhp and 318 lb-ft of torque, for a peak gain of 8 rwhp and 11 lb-ft of torque. Below 3,000 rpm, the C&L intake gained as much as 8 hp and 8 lb-ft, but the most impressive part is that it starts gaining hp at 4,200, and keeps gaining till you hit redline, with gains as big as 12 hp and 11 lb-ft through much of the second half of the graph.

C&L Performance
Cost $675
Material Cast aluminum
Weight 33.44 pounds
Runner Length 10.25 inches
Intake Volume 12.03 liters
Max Throttle Body Size Whipple mono-blade (GT)