Right off the dealer lot the Gen 3 Coyote 5.0-liter engine brings a lot more to the table than its predecessors. As we shared with you, Ford engineers refined many aspects of this engine platform — from enlarging the bore size to adding a dual-fuel system — to increase its performance from 435 to 460 horsepower.
Those gains from a nearly bolt-on intake manifold at around $400 make it one of the best bang for your buck mods around… — Adrian Gomez, MAK Performance
Among those changes is a revised intake manifold that helps improve flow and extend the rev range of the engine to 7,500 RPM. In theory it seems to bridge the gap between the Gen 2 intake and the vaunted GT350 intake. So, that begs the question how it would perform as an upgrade for earlier Coyote engines?
Compared with the 2015 intake on the left, the 2018 Mustang intake features slightly shorter and larger runners, but retains the same basic packaging as its predecessor while offering more flow and rev potential.
Fortunately, Willy Diaz and Adrian Gomez at MAK Performance decided to test that theory on its supercharged 2015 Mustang GT. You may recall that this car performed exceptionally well thanks to the addition of a ProCharger P-1X blower, which is engineered for high-winding engines like the Coyote. Now it wears the even more capable D-1X, which delivers 11 pounds of boost when revved to 7,300 RPM and 13 psi when revved to 7,700 RPM.
The 2018 intake bolts right on to Gen 1 and Gen 2 Coyote engines and you need only decide whether you adapt the Intake Manifold Runner Control wiring — which would be preferred for a street application — or simply bypass them, which would be fine for a track-oriented ride that might not need as much low-end torque. MAK opted to adapt the IMRC wiring and run the 2018 Mustang tables to retain that low and midrange performance.
“As soon as we tested our 2018 car and saw that the dyno graph did not lay over at 6,800 RPM, we knew we would be doing some investigating into this intake,” Adrian said. “There aren’t that many affordable, sub-$1,000, bolt-on intake options for the S550. The more inexpensive intakes require extra parts and some ingenuity to get them to work.”
So far it’s far more inexpensive than the other options available, making it probably the best option when you see the results we got. — Adrian Gomez, MAK Performance
Because it is a production intake that is readily available as a replacement part for the latest Mustang, this unit sells for under $400 online and bolts right on to the earlier Coyote engines.
“The 2018 intake — if it bolted on — would require no changes or minimal ones at that,” Adrian said. “If we could address the bottom end loss of the other intakes and the top end gains in horsepower and flow without flatling, it’s the best of both worlds. It’s a test we had to try.”
“So far it’s far more inexpensive than the other options available, making it probably the best option when you see the results we got,” he added. “We haven’t done as in depth testing on the rest of the intakes on the market but from the ones we have tested this is on par or better than most other intakes we have seen.”
You have to admit these are impressive gains. From the midrange all the way to the redline the 2018 Mustang intake handily outperforms the 2015 intake on the D-1X-supercharged Gen 2 Coyote. Not only does it log double-digit gains from 4,100 RPM on up, but it keeps pulling 500 RPM higher to really made some impressive power. The peaks shifted from 656 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque to 782 horsepower and 544 lb-ft of torque.
To make it work you will need to either lock out the Intake Manifold Runner Controls or adapt the 2018 connectors to the earlier wiring harness to make them functional. From there it works pretty well, needing only some minor electronic tweaks.
“Not much tuning is require at all,” Adrian said. “We changed the IMRC tables and some other minor stuff. That’s about all it took.”
For such an easy intake swap, the results were quite impressive. The MAK team adapted the connections join the 2018 IMRCs to the 2015 harness. Then they duplicated the 2018 IMRC tables in the calibration using DiabloSport hardware and software. As a result of these changes the blown S550 picked up more than 60 horsepower and 50 lb-ft at the rear wheels.
MAK 2015 Mustang GT Mods
• Boundary oil pump and crank sprocket gears
• DiabloSport Trinity tuned by Matt Kesatie at DiabloSport and MAK Performance
“We knew how it performed on the 2018 Mustang, so when we saw the difference on the 2015 car we were extremely pleased with the results,” Adrian added. “Those gains from a nearly bolt-on intake manifold at around $400 make it one of the best bang for your buck mods around…”
It’s hard to argue with that logic, and anecdotal internet reports show gains of 25-30 horsepower on naturally aspirated combos, so the 2018 intake swap seems like a great move for Gen 1 and Gen 2 Coyote owners on a budget.