Last week’s review I covered the Cobb Tuning Accessport V3, which is one of the most important additions that you can make to your car when you decide to start modding and tuning. As important as the Accessport is to help mod the car, without some aftermarket parts, it really doesn’t do much. Thankfully this week, we can start getting our hands dirty.
When it comes to intakes, there are multiple choices to choose from for the Mazdaspeed platform. Cobb Tuning (cobbtuning.com), JBR (jamesbaroneracing.com) and HTP (hitunedperformance.com) offer choices for the Mazdaspeed 3 as well as Corksport Performance (corksportperformance.com), who I eventually went with. Prices range from $195.00 – $346.47, based on preferences of whether you want a TIP (Turbo Inlet Pipe) or not, and intake diamater (Corksport, Cobb, and JBR offer 2.5″ and 3″ intakes, HTP offers up to a 4″ system). All of them offer a replacement for the restrictive factory intake setup, which has a throttle inlet pipe made of plastic. As well, all of the listed manufacturers provide everything needed for installation in their kits: silicone couplers, clamps, and replacement hoses.
But how do you choose?
After doing the research, I decided to go with the Corksport Stage II SRI ($254.99), as it fit my project budget and I saved on shipping because I purchased it along with some other parts that I will be reviewing later. You can also configure your SRI in different colors on the Corksport site to fit a theme under your hood. My car is blue, so that is what I went with. When the box arrived, everything was nicely wrapped and packaged, with instructions for installation (the instructions provide pictures in case you get stuck) and some Corksport stickers.
Installation was a bit tricky, as it requires a bit of removal of a couple things under hood, but as long as you are patient and study the instructions before the next step, it can be done in an afternoon (you can also watch the Corksport Stage II Power Series Short Ram Intake Installation video here on FiveFiveGarage.com too. I know.. shameless plug). No special tools were required for installation, I used hand tools: mostly a ratchet, sockets, and some extensions. I will say that the engine compartment on a Mazdaspeed 3 is a very cramped affair, and would recommend wearing gloves if you have them to cut down on the scrapes (and to keep that new TIP shiny!). Another recommendation during the installation process would be to pre-fit the turbo outlet coupling to the TIP with the T-band clamp facing up at an angle that makes it easier to reach with an extension and a socket. The area by the turbo outlet is very tight, even with removing the top mount intercooler, it is still a tricky bit of geometry to be able to get the coupler snug on the turbo inlet and be able to get a socket back there. Other than that issue, my installation went pretty smoothly.
After placing the new silicone coupler on the end, you then install the new MAF housing that comes with the intake. It has a built-in airflow straightener, and also has markings showing the direction of airflow so you don’t put it on backwards. The MAF provides two new allen headed screws to bolt in your MAF sensor that you remove from your factory intake. Also included in the SRI kit is a new high-flow air filter. You can get this is other colors at the time of order, but since everything is blue, I just continued the color theme. I was really impressed with the fit and finish on everything once it was assembled, and was really satisfied when I started the car after everything was bolted back up.
One of the deciding reasons I went with Corksport Performance parts, was that not only do they offer great products, but they also provide custom OTS (Off The Shelf) maps as well. After the intake was installed, I used my Accessport to upload a Stage I map for my car on 93 octane and took it for a spin.
Immediately I noticed a change in acceleration as the car felt like it had a bit more pep going through the RPM’s. But the best thing about the intake change? The sound.
A stock Mazdaspeed 3 doesn’t sound like it has a turbo under the hood. You desperately want to hear it, but you can’t and you just have to tell people “trust me, there is a turbo.” Driving normally after the modification, you can’t tell that a change had been made. But allow the RPM’s to get north of 3000, and your ears are blessed with the angelic sound of turbo spool. This is the reason why you drive a turbocharged car!
Plan on your next tank of gas coming quickly, because you are going to want to spool this thing everywhere.
Need to change lanes? WHHOOOSSSHHHHH!
In third gear, but you will get better gas mileage if you go ahead and shift to fourth? WHHHHOOOSSSSHHHHH!!
Just for the hell of it? WHHHHHOOOOOOSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Performance has definitely been improved, and every time I drive now, I have a grin on my face as big as the one in my bumper. Maybe that was Mazda’s idea behind that look all along?