Can Installing a Cold Air Intake on a Subaru BRZ Increase Power and Fuel Economy?

April 4, 2024

In the vast universe of car modifications, the cold air intake is one of the most popular. Many car enthusiasts, including Subaru BRZ owners, are eager to know whether installing a cold air intake system can indeed increase power and fuel efficiency. This article will provide an in-depth exploration into the mechanics of a cold air intake, its effects on engine performance, and its potential impact on fuel economy.

The Function of Air Intakes in a Car Engine

Before we delve into the specifics of cold air intakes, it’s crucial to understand the function of standard air intakes in a car engine. A car’s air intake system serves a fundamental role in its operation, as it manages the amount of air that goes into the engine for combustion.

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Air is a vital ingredient for your car’s engine. It combines with fuel in the engine’s cylinders to create a highly combustible mixture – this combustion process then propels the car forward. The overall performance of your car, including its horsepower and fuel efficiency, largely depends on how well your engine can take in and utilise air.

A standard air intake system draws in warm air from the engine’s compartment. However, there’s a caveat: warm air is less dense than cold air, meaning it contains less oxygen. Since oxygen is crucial for fuel combustion, a car that solely relies on warm air for its engine may not reach its maximum performance potential.

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The Added Value of a Cold Air Intake

This is where a cold air intake comes into play. A cold air intake system is designed to draw in cooler air from outside the car’s engine compartment. Cooler air is denser, meaning it carries more oxygen. This increase in oxygen allows the engine to burn fuel more efficiently, leading to a potential increase in horsepower.

A cold air intake system typically includes components like an intake tube, an air filter, and often a custom-designed air box. The intake tube is usually made from a material like aluminium, which helps to keep the air cool as it moves into the engine. The air filter catches any debris or contaminants that could potentially damage the engine. The air box keeps the filter protected and also helps to insulate the cold air.

Overall, the cold air intake system works to enhance the throttle response, increase the engine’s horsepower, and potentially improve the fuel economy. However, the extent of these improvements may vary depending on the car’s make and model, as well as the quality of the intake system installed.

Cold Air Intakes and the Subaru BRZ

If you’re a Subaru BRZ owner, you might be wondering if installing a cold air intake will yield noticeable results. Subaru BRZ, known for its sleek design and impressive performance, could potentially benefit from an aftermarket air intake system, like those from K&N, a reputable manufacturer in the industry.

However, it’s essential to remember that while a cold air intake can indeed increase your car’s horsepower, the actual increase might not be as dramatic as you might expect. The increase in power can range anywhere from a few to tens of horsepower, depending on various factors such as the existing condition of the engine, the quality of the cold air intake kit installed, and the specific tune of the engine.

Fuel Economy Implications

When it comes to fuel economy, the prospect is slightly more complex. While there’s a potential for improved fuel economy due to more efficient fuel combustion, this isn’t always guaranteed. Fuel economy can be influenced by a multitude of factors, including driving habits, the condition of other car parts, and the quality of the fuel used.

It’s also important to be aware that a cold air intake can potentially increase the engine’s noise during acceleration. This is due to the increased air flow generated by the cold air intake. Some drivers enjoy the more aggressive engine sound, while others may not.

In Conclusion

To summarise, installing a cold air intake on a Subaru BRZ can potentially improve the car’s performance by increasing horsepower and, in some cases, improving fuel efficiency. However, the extent of these improvements will likely vary, depending on a range of factors.

Installation Process and Maintenance of a Cold Air Intake

Installing a cold air intake is a modification that can be done by a professional mechanic, but it is also achievable for those with some handy skills and a good set of tools. The process typically involves replacing your standard air intake system with the cold air intake kit. The kit usually includes an intake tube, air filter, and in some cases, a heat shield or air box, which are designed to keep the incoming air as cool as possible.

It’s important to install the intake tube properly, ensuring that it doesn’t directly contact any hot engine parts, which could potentially heat the incoming air. The intake tube should be made from high-quality material like aluminum or carbon fiber to ensure durability and performance.

The air filter, a critical component of the cold air intake system, catches any debris or contaminants that could potentially damage the engine. It’s typically made of high-quality cotton or synthetic material that provides excellent air flow while effectively filtering out harmful particles. It’s crucial to regularly check and clean the air filter to maintain the performance of the cold air intake system.

In terms of maintenance, cold air intake systems don’t necessarily require any more upkeep than your standard air intake system. However, depending on your driving environment, you might need to clean the air filter more often. If you drive in dusty or dirty conditions regularly, it’s recommended to check the filter every few thousand miles to ensure it’s not clogged.

Cold Air Intake Brands for Subaru BRZ

When it comes to choosing a cold air intake for your Subaru BRZ, there are numerous brands to consider. One of the most renowned brands is K&N, known for their high-quality, high-performance cold air intake systems. Their kits typically include a heat shield and a high flow, washable air filter, and they claim a guaranteed increase in horsepower upon installation.

Another reliable brand for Subaru BRZ cold air intakes is Injen. They offer a variety of intake kits, including ones made from high quality, lightweight aluminum, and others made from carbon fiber for those looking for a more aggressive look under the hood. Injen also offers kits with a heat shield to help isolate the intake from the hot engine compartment, ensuring the air stays as cold as possible.

Both K&N and Injen are reputable brands in the world of car modifications, promising durability and enhanced performance. Regardless of the brand you choose, it’s crucial to remember that the actual increase in horsepower and fuel economy will depend on various factors, such as the existing condition of your engine, your driving habits, and the quality of fuel used.


In conclusion, installing a cold air intake on a Subaru BRZ can potentially increase horsepower and improve fuel efficiency. This upgrade replaces your standard air intake system with one designed to draw in cooler, denser air, providing your engine with more oxygen for combustion. While the actual gains can vary depending on several factors, many Subaru BRZ owners have reported noticeable improvements in throttle response and overall performance after installing a high-performance cold air intake system.

Remember, while the installation process can be done by a handy car owner, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional mechanic to ensure the job is done correctly. And don’t forget to regularly check and clean your air filter to maintain the performance and longevity of your new cold air intake system!