Can You Boost the Horsepower of a Subaru BRZ with an Aftermarket Cold Air Intake?

April 5, 2024

When it comes to optimizing the performance of your Subaru BRZ, many of you might be wondering whether a cold air intake can help boost the horsepower. As car enthusiasts, we all crave that extra bit of power and are always on the lookout for aftermarket modifications that can help us achieve it. In this article, we will unpack the science behind cold air intakes, how they interact with your BRZ’s engine, and if they really can enhance performance.

Understanding the Role of an Intake System in a Car

Before we delve into the potential benefits of cold air intakes, it’s important to understand how your car’s intake system works. This critical engine component is responsible for the flow of air into the engine. The quantity and quality of air that enters the engine can significantly affect its efficiency and power output.

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In simple terms, your car’s engine operates on a mixture of fuel and air. Air is sucked into the engine through the intake system, where it mixes with fuel in the combustion chamber. The spark from the spark plug ignites this mixture, causing combustion and propelling your car forward. Therefore, the more air that enters the engine, the stronger the combustion will be, and the more power the engine can produce.

What is a Cold Air Intake and How Does it Work?

A cold air intake is a type of aftermarket modification that replaces your car’s stock intake system. But why would you want to replace the stock intake system of your Subaru BRZ with a cold one? Does colder air really enhance engine performance?

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Well, the science behind this is rather simple. Cold air is denser than warm air. This means it contains more oxygen molecules per cubic foot. And as we’ve explained before, the more oxygen that gets into your engine, the more power it can produce.

A cold air intake works by drawing in air from outside the vehicle, away from the engine’s hot components. This cool, dense air is then directed into the engine, where it can enhance the combustion process. The design of these intakes often includes a larger diameter intake tube and a more efficient air filter, which can further improve the volume and quality of air reaching the engine.

Can a Cold Air Intake Boost the Horsepower of Your Subaru BRZ?

Now comes the million-dollar question: can a cold air intake really boost the horsepower of your Subaru BRZ? The answer is yes, but the extent to which it can enhance performance will vary.

Firstly, remember that the Subaru BRZ is already an exceptionally well-designed sports car. Its stock intake system is engineered for optimal performance within its intended power range. However, by introducing a cold air intake, you can enhance the engine’s efficiency and potentially extract some additional horsepower.

Independent dyno tests have shown slight improvements in horsepower and torque after installing a cold air intake on a Subaru BRZ. However, the increases are often modest, typically in the range of 5-10 horsepower. Indeed, these numbers might not be groundbreaking, but they do contribute to a more responsive and engaging driving experience.

Choosing the Best Cold Air Intake for Your Subaru BRZ

If you’ve decided to install a cold air intake on your BRZ, you’ll want to choose the best one possible. There are several leading brands on the market that offer high-quality, performance-oriented intakes. Look for one that features a larger diameter intake tube and a high-flow air filter, as these features will maximize the volume and quality of air reaching your engine.

Remember, a cold air intake is just one piece of the performance puzzle. To truly unleash the potential of your Subaru BRZ, consider pairing this upgrade with other modifications such as a performance exhaust system. When combined, these upgrades can optimize air flow both into and out of your engine, leading to noticeable improvements in power and throttle response.

In the end, while a cold air intake may not transform your Subaru BRZ into a supercar, it can certainly enhance its performance. It also adds a distinctive intake sound that many car enthusiasts love. With the right choice of intake and other performance upgrades, you can make your BRZ even more exciting to drive.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Installing a Cold Air Intake on Your Subaru BRZ

If you’re considering a cold air intake for your Subaru BRZ, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons before making your decision. Although benefits typically outweigh any potential drawbacks, it’s wise to have a well-rounded understanding of how this modification could impact your driving experience.

One of the primary advantages of a cold air intake is the potential increase in horsepower. By supplying your BRZ engine with cooler, denser air, you’re enhancing the combustion process and thus, increasing power output. This boost might not be earth-shattering, but a gain of 5-10 horsepower can make a noticeable difference in acceleration and overall performance.

Another advantage is the improved engine sound. With a cold air intake installed, your BRZ will produce a deeper, more aggressive intake roar that many car enthusiasts find appealing.

There’s also the benefit of improved fuel economy. A more efficient combustion process means your engine can achieve the same power with less fuel, leading to better gas mileage.

Despite these advantages, there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind. One is the risk of hydrolock. If you drive through a large puddle, water can be sucked into the intake system, potentially causing serious engine damage. However, this is a rare occurrence, especially if your BRZ intake is placed well above the ground.

Lastly, remember that while a cold air intake can enhance performance, the gains are typically modest and often best noticed when combined with other modifications, such as a high-flow aftermarket exhaust.

Conclusion: Is a Cold Air Intake Worth It for Your Subaru BRZ?

After evaluating the role of intake systems, understanding the workings of a cold air intake, and exploring the potential benefits and drawbacks, it’s time to answer the burning question: is a cold air intake worth it for your Subaru BRZ?

The answer largely depends on your personal preferences and performance goals. If you’re after every bit of horsepower you can squeeze out of your BRZ engine, appreciate a more aggressive engine sound, and don’t mind the potential risks associated with water ingestion, then a cold air intake could be a great addition to your vehicle.

Remember, while it might not transform your Subaru BRZ into a supercar, a cold air intake, paired with a high-performance exhaust system, can make a noticeable difference. It provides a more engaging driving experience, improves throttle response, and enhances fuel economy.

So, if you’re a car enthusiast always on the search for upgrades, a cold air intake could be a worthwhile addition to your Subaru BRZ. Just be sure to choose a high-quality intake kit from a reputable brand and consider pairing it with other performance-enhancing modifications to truly maximize the potential of your vehicle.