Up front, you should know that this test contains no hyped up dyno numbers and no glory pull track runs. There is no winner or loser and no air intake managed to pull off the impossible and rocket us to the moon. This is a real-world test that contains a lot of great data, but takes a little more reading than the usual "dyno queen" testing that some other magazines are so fond of. But we know you want the real deal, so here it is. First of all, we almost completely omitted the dyno because there is no way it can accurately replicate real-world conditions for intake testing. Without cold air moving over the front of our test Camaro, we couldn't guarantee real-world IAT/MAP figures, or see how the filter placement would affect the "ram-air" properties of each design. Above those two factors, we also wouldn't be able to replicate actual airflow through the front grille, or the engine bay cooling properties of a moving vehicle. However, we did want to test how each intake compared with its advertised numbers, as well as what it would do to static air/fuel. With that in mind, we have included both maximum horsepower and torque but we urge you to not make your decision on those dyno numbers alone. With the dyno portion of our testing figured out, we were left with driving our 2010 down the track, which added another unwanted variable; us. Now, we're not saying we can't drive, but we do understand that no one can be exactly the same every run and those couple of milliseconds difference could definitely skew our results, giving some intakes an unfair advantage, based on a solid shift here or a better 60-foot there. And with that in mind, we set out to build a real-world test that could be replicated by anyone, at any time.
In order to produce meaningful results, repetition and consistency was key to our experiment. Our first objective was to remove as many variables as possible, which meant eliminating both the human element (shifting, time between shifts, launch, etc) and the electronic element (torque management, shift pressure, etc). With Greg Lovell of AntiVenom at the helm of his otherwise stock 2010 6-speed manual 2SS Camaro, we laid out a procedure that would allow every intake a fair shot.
• Install intake system
• Reset fuel trims and begin data logging
• Observe idle quality
• Observe low speed driveability
• Observe part-throttle driving, in traffic and around town
• Data log two wide-open throttle runs, back-to-back from 3,500 to 6,500 rpm in Second gear
• 45 minutes of cool down, change air intake system Rinse and repeat
The On-Road Data
(Ambient temperature and coolant temperature)
While consistency was key, we did see a measurable swing in ambient temperature during the day, which is noted before each test. The difference between ambient air and intake air temperature (IAT) is important, as it shows how good an intake is at both gathering cold air and defending against heat-soak. Coolant temperature isn't normally affected by intakes, although the results from tilting the radiator back for the New Era Performance system should be noted.
RPM and MPH
Our wide-open throttle intake testing was done across a fixed rpm band: from 3,500 to 6,500 rpm, in Second gear. This means we were effectively testing acceleration from 40 to 75 mph, a simulation of what is typical on the street. For each test, you will notice that the runs don't always start or end at exactly 3,500 or 6,500 rpm, but are usually within (+/-) 10 rpm. This is due to the sampling rate of the stock ECM and the HP Tuners software, and is an acceptable variable for this type of testing.