When it comes to supercharged applications, there's only one word that comes to mind: incredible. A well-tuned supercharging system provides unlimited fun at the stab of the throttle—and folks, that's simply stating the real-world facts. If there's any drawback, it's having the ability to restrain yourself from wide-open throttle blasts to only when it's appropriate.
Recently, we got the inside scoop on ProCharger's latest i-1 system, which is an industry-first programmable-ratio supercharger with monster efficiency for maximum power. What does it all mean? For starters, you can have robust torque down low, while still carrying the horsepower figures through the upper rpm. Factor in the efficient impeller design and you get big power with cooler inlet temperatures. Adding to the list of firsts, the ability to control multiple settings lies within a finger's reach. Yeah, ProCharger went there and it's flat-out amazing.
We were pretty happy to discuss and check out the new i-1 supercharger in person, but then we got to take it a step further and place a factory stock 2010 Chevy Camaro test vehicle onto their Mustang Dynamometer chassis dyno. You can forget the high-octane race fuel or E85 for glorified peak numbers; no, we're talking a real-world evaluation on pump gas for everyday driving. At the end of the pulls, we saw a gain of 187 hp and 158 lb-ft to the rear wheels with just 7.5 pounds of boost!
ProCharger has really taken supercharging to the next level, and we're willing to bet the end users will absolutely dig it. The entire package is priced at $8,495 (MSRP street price will be lower) and it's an investment that'll keep the adrenalin meter pinned with an ear-to-ear grin. Read on for the cool details.
If you were at the SEMA 2013 show in Las Vegas, then you would have caught a sneak peek at the i-1 supercharger; this is where we first got a glimpse of the system and started planning our trip to test it firsthand. We weren't the only ones impressed, as SEMA presented ProCharger a New Products runner-up plaque—this is out of 300-plus entries.
To ensure we were feeding the 2010 Chevy Camaro with pump-gas petrol, we headed to the local station and filled it up with 93-octane.
CEO Ken Jones did the honors of filling up the tank
On the chassis dyno, the factory-stock 2010 produced 373 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque.
Once the baseline numbers were in our hands, ProCharger’s Calibration Technician Ryan Galloway, with the help of Engineering Manager Cliff Hall, began installing the i-1 system.
While this isn’t a detailed install piece, we wanted to go over the basics and showcase how easy it is. Under the hood, the factory air intake system was removed, including the fuel rails, for higher flowing fuel injectors.
The power steering needed to be relocated, but ProCharger makes it easy with its 3/4-inch-thick brackets.
With the front fascia removed, the large air-to-air intercooler fit right into place with no hassle.
ProCharger also supplies a trick bypass valve that mounts inline of the air-to-air intercooler system. These perform just like their ProFlo surge valve, however specialized for the i-1 system to protect against unintentional overboost.
Let’s call this the black box of the i-1. Hall says, “The terminal block assembly acts as a junction block between the supercharger, its sensors, power, and the i-1 controller.” This is where all the wires from the controller in the cabin will mate up with this unit; these are all labeled for proper installation. On the opposite side, you have quick connects that lead from the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) motor, power, encoder wire, and a couple of speed sensor ports, including a slot for pre-OBD II vehicles. This allows for hardwiring the tach signal and pedal position.
The standard kit comes with a three-switch selector to change between modes. For an additional $395 ($495 if purchased later), you can opt for the touch-screen controller that also reads a variety of parameters on the fly and displays the data in real time. And unlike the three-switch selector, the touch-screen controller has a port to allow for software upgrades and custom tuning uploads.
One of our favorite features of the touch screen is the ability to log in with a pass code during initial startup; can you say valet mode for those dinner outings?