Modern Automotive Performance
Modern Automotive Performance

Intake Systems and Panel Filters

Posted on 24 August 2016

Full Intake Systems / Panel Filters - Benefits

From the factory a large number of performance cars come equipped with a restrictive OEM intake system. These systems are designed to meet emissions standards, fall in compliance with NVH requirements, and last the entire lifetime of the vehicle.

Stock intake systems are are often air boxes with filter elements within them. Cool air rushes through openings in the bumper or through a duct, funnels through the snorkel, is filtered by the element inside, and then travels via the intake duct to the turbo inlet or straight to the throttle body.

Stock Intake System

When upgrading your intake system, it’s important to keep in mind what your goals are, the importance of your vehicle’s warranty, and suggestions from your tuner.

Panel Filters

The easiest way to start upgrading an OEM intake system is simply to go with a panel filter that provides better flow. An aftermarket panel filter simply replaces the stock filtering element with a higher flow filter. Along with flowing better, a panel filter will also help increase the induction noise of the intake system and in some cases provide better protection.

For the Mitsubishi Evolution X panel filters have been shown to gain an extra 18 horsepower at 5600RPM on the stock tune alone.

Panel filters also have the advantage of being one of the few mods that some dealerships are not hostile to, since they do not require a retune of the vehicle for optimization and are typically a less mild modification (always check your warranty and with your dealer). Ease of installation is also a benefit since panel filters only require you open your airbox, swap the filter in, and then close it right back up.

For those looking to stay close to stock/OEM, a panel filter is a great alternative to get that extra induction noise and some extra power. Popular makers of panel filters are WORKs, AFE, and K&N.

Full Intake Systems

The most popular type of intake systems are full intakes which replace the factory intake system with a hard pipe and cone filter. These intakes will definitely grant both power gains and even more of that induction noise. On turbocharged vehicles, the sound of turbo spool will be far more noticeable. 

The advantage of these systems is that more air can be moved through the intake, remove the limitations of the factory airbox, and will provide better flow for upgrades later on such as a larger turbocharger.

One of the most important considerations to keep in mind when selecting a full replacement intake system is the MAF sensor and how the new intake system adjusts its positioning. For the Mitsubishi Evolution X companies like ETS and AEM create systems that do not affect the scaling of the MAF and thus do not require a tune. Intakes from companies like AMS or MAP’s own 3.5” intake for the Evo X do require a tune. This is important to keep in mind as you do not want to run an intake that needs scaling without making sure your tune has been properly calibrated.

Another consideration to keep in mind is whether or not your system will require a heat shield of any sort. While engine bay temps would definitely motivate you to keep the intake filter as far from heat as possible, it’s also important to keep in mind where any fans are. In the case of the Mitsubishi Evolution X, without a heat shield the fans that kick on are known for creating some small idle issues.

Whether it’s a panel filter or an entire intake system you’re looking for, MAPerformance has you covered and the MAP team would be happy to help you select the intake system best for your needs.


Article written by: Carl St. James

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