Cold air intake systems are one of the few aftermarket components that allow for significant boost in engine performance without overhauling the engine. Today, cold air intakes are not that hard to find in stores, with each one claiming to squeeze out more horsepower from the engine than the rest. We tested one of the more popular cold air intake systems out there, the AEM cold air intake, to see whether it can really provide a substantial upgrade in horsepower.
- Increases horsepower and improves throttle response
- Enhanced throttle sound
- Includes AEM DryFlow« oil-free synthetic filter
- Up to 100,000 miles of use before cleaning is required
- Limited AEM lifetime warranty
- A huge variety of systems to choose from. AEM offers its cold air intake systems in a wide selection of models, ranging from the classic Brute Force cold air intakes to short ram air intakes. While this range of options can be quite overwhelming for beginners, it can be beneficial for car enthusiasts looking for an air intake solution that's tailored to their demands.
- Significant horsepower increase. AEM claims that its cold air intakes can provide an additional 8.4 horsepower at 7300 RPM. We installed one of the basic cold air intake models in our test car, a late-model RX8, and we saw an increase of around 6 to 7.5 HP in the same RPM levels. It may not be exactly as advertised, but the horsepower boost is substantial especially when compared to other aftermarket air intake systems.
- Comes with an AEM intake filter. The fact that this kit also includes an AEM air filter is a big plus for us. AEM's aftermarket performance air filters are well known for their durability and efficient filtration properties, and coupled with the fact that the filters are also washable and reusable makes them worth the price.
- Easy to clean. The filter and other air intake components can simply be washed with soap and water. No lubrication is necessary. You will need to detach the entire system when cleaning, however, which could take some time and effort to do.
- Installation can be difficult. While most AEM cold air intake systems are designed to fit most cars on the road today, they do require a bit of time and expertise in order to install properly. We made several attempts in installing the AEM air intake in our RX8 before we achieved significant readings in horsepower.
The bottom line
It gives a noticeable increase in horsepower, comes with a high quality reusable filter, and is quite durable; there's literally no excuse for anyone looking for an aftermarket air intake system to not get an AEM cold air intake. It certainly is a worthy investment.