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Best Cold Air Intake for 2016 Mustang GT

As you consider upgrades for your 2016 Mustang GT, a cold air intake should be high on your list of potential modifications. A cold air intake is one of the most affordable upgrades that you can install. It will increase your Mustang GT’s engine performance by introducing a higher quantity of cooler air into the combustion chamber. It will also add to the satisfying roar produced by your vehicle. Read on to see our pick for the best cold air intake for your 2016 Mustang GT.

Best Cold Air Intake for 2016 Mustang GTs:

 Airaid 451-328 MXPaFe Power 51-73203KN 71-3535AIRAID 450-329KN 63-2590
OEM Part Number451-32851-7320371-3535450-32963-2590
Torque IncreaseNo data24 ft. lbs.11.41 ft. lbs.No data21.01 ft. lbs.
Horsepower increase16HPup to 40 HP19 HPNo data17 HP
Airflow increaseNo data25% up to 50%up to 20%up to 50%
Filter TypeDry, washable, reusable,DRY SWashable, ReusableSynthaflow OiledWashable, reusable
PriceFind on AmazonFind on AmazonFind on Amazon Find on AmazonFind on Amazon

Airaid 451-328 MXP Cold Air Intake System

The Airaid MXP series cold air intake was specifically designed for the 2015-2017 5.0L Mustang GT. It features a unique one-piece rotomolded intake box designed to promote better airflow around the entire surface of the filter. The box has a viewing window that looks stylish and allows you to keep tabs on the filter’s condition without having to disassemble the intake box.

The 4-inch diameter intake tube is constructed of high-density polyethylene that is CAD-designed to permit a large airflow into the engine. The intake’s installation is easy and no re-calibration is required. Bolt it on and you are ready to go. The synthetic material filter is washable, reusable, and comes with Airaid’s lifetime warranty. The filter is available in three colors; black, blue, and red.

Because this intake drastically lowers air temperatures entering the combustion chamber, you can expect improvements in throttle response and horsepower. Gas mileage will also show a slight improvement.

Pros

  • 99+% efficiency rated
  • 100% synthetic filter
  • Oil-free maintenance
  • CARB compliant

Cons

  • Many consumer complaints about missing or incorrectly sized hardware

aFe Power 51-73203 Momentum GT Cold Air Intake System

The aFe 51-73203 cold air intake has an oil-free synthetic media, 3-layered filter in a sealed box construction. It is also the most expensive system that we reviewed.

The filter is a massive 8-inches tall to allow maximum airflow and performance. Installation is easy and takes one hour or less. The one-piece air box/heat shield is made of powder-coated steel, seals against the hood when the hood is closed to isolate the system from engine compartment heated air, and has a sight window for monitoring filter condition.

Because the filter allows twice the airflow compared to the stock Mustang intake, you will immediately notice an increase in horsepower, throttle response, engine roar, and miles per gallon (IF you can keep your foot out of it).

Pros

  • 99.2% filtration efficiency rating
  • Limited two-year warranty
  • Ease of installation

Cons

  • Non CARB compliant
  • More expensive than the competition

K&N 71-3535 Performance Cold Air Intake System

This K&N intake comes in three different options; a black filter and a black metal tube, a red filter with a polished tube, or a red filter with a HDPE (high density polyethylene) tube.

As a result of a dyno-tested up to an increased 50% airflow improvement over the stock intake, your Mustang GT will have better acceleration and throttle response. The intake delivers reported gains of over 18 horsepower and the increased engine roar is very noticeable. The installation of the K&N 71-3535 on your Mustang GT does not require ECU (electronic control unit) tuning.

The biggest complaint among owners is that the system does not include a cover that will keep water out of the filter when driving in wet conditions.

Pros

  • 10-year/million mile limited warranty
  • Dyno-tested up to 50% increase in airflow
  • No cleaning required for 100,000 miles
  • ECU tuning not required

Cons

  • Non CARB compliant
  • Filter positioning makes it susceptible to rainwater

Airaid 450-329 Race-Style Cold Air Intake System

The Airaid 450-329, designed for optimum race track performance, comes in three color options; red, blue, and black and is recommended for use under dry conditions only. This intake system retains the original air filter location but has an open-element air inlet. Air dam panels that boost cooler air input into the engine protect the filter. When the hood is closed the air box seals itself to the underside keeping warmer engine compartment air away from the filter.

The synthetic filter is washable and reusable. The intake tube is constructed of HDPE material. The Airaid 450-329 intake system will result in an overall performance gain of up to 20% over the original stock system. The installation is easy, requiring 90 minutes or less, with no cutting or drilling required.

If you use this intake system on your everyday driver, care is required to avoid driving in wet conditions. This intake will allow water to enter the engine.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Washable and reusable oiled filter
  • Increases of 1300 cfm into the engine

Cons

  • Recommended for dry driving conditions only
  • Not CARB compliant
  • Metal heat shield tends to retain heat

K&N 63-2590 Cold Air Intake System

The K&N 63-2590, like most K&N intake packages, comes in three different color and style options; a black filter and a black metal tube, a red filter with a polished tube, or a red filter with a HDPE tube.

Installation is fairly easy but it is a tight fit. It is recommended that you check to make sure that the tube fits snuggly before completely tightening the mounting bolts. During installation you are required to remove the resonator tube and replace it with the included firewall plug.

K&N guarantees an increase in horsepower and many owners report about a 20 horsepower increase. That added horsepower can be felt when you hit the gas off the line. One of the only problems with this intake is that it locates the filter directly under the hood exhaust vent and that makes it susceptible to pulling in water under wet driving conditions. An optional filter wrap is available but the wrap is only rated as water resistant, not water-proof.

Pros

  • 10-year/million mile limited warranty
  • Dyno-tested up to 50% increase in airflow
  • No cleaning required for 100,000 miles
  • No tuning required (but it is recommended)

Cons

  • Not CARB compliant
  • Filter location not great to keep rainwater out of the intake filter.

Our Favorite Choice

As electronic fuel injected engines became common in the 1980’s, adding after market cold air intakes became more and more popular. By bringing cooler, oxygen rich air into the combustion chambers of these vehicles you can create a modest bump in fuel economy, increase overall performance, and give your engine a satisfying improvement to sound. A cold air intake system is also one of the most economical upgrades you can make to your 2016 Mustang GT.

All five of the reviewed cold air intake systems will work great on your 2016 Mustang GT.  If you live in California, the Airaid 451-328 MPX  (>>> Check price on Amazon) is the only intake system reviewed that is legal in your state, but it is still a fine choice of after market CAI systems.

If you live in a state that doesn’t require CARB compliance, we feel that the aFe Power 51-73203 Momentum GT (>>> Check price on Amazon) is the best choice. Yes, it is a little pricier than the other four intakes. But the sheer size of the filter, allowing a 1300cfm increase, produces great throttle response, horsepower increase, and engine performance. Also the fact that is in a closed air box, makes it less likely to be affected by water being pulled into the engine, making it safer to operate under wet conditions.

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