The Intake Upgrade Guide for the Lancer Evo X

The Intake Upgrade Guide for the Lancer Evo X. The Mitsubishi Evo X is one of the most well-known and recognisable tuner cars of all time. The Evolution began in the early 1990s as a rally variant of the Mitsubishi Lancer, and it made its debut in America in 2003. The 10th generation Evolution, or Evo X, was powered by the 4B11 engine. It is one of the most modifiable engines ever built, and it responds well to bolt-on additions such as intakes.

Performance intakes are frequently one of the first changes that Evo X owners make when they begin to modify their vehicle. It’s easy to see why; not only are they simple to install and inexpensive, but they also boost power and improve sound. The 4B11 in the Evo X responds exceptionally well to intake improvements.

Previously, we looked at the Top 7 Evo X performance mods as well as Evo X coilover upgrades. This new tutorial will teach you everything you need to know about upgrading the intake on your Evo X. We will go over the advantages, power gains, costs, and so on.

What exactly is a performance intake?

For a variety of reasons, a performance intake is one of the most popular Evo X upgrades. It will not only increase horsepower and torque, but it will also enhance gas mileage and turbo spool. When compared to the stock airbox, the large cone-shaped filter increases the amount of air that can be brought into the engine, and the piping design allows for less turbulent and more efficient airflow.

On turbocharged vehicles, the intake connects directly to the turbo’s compressor side. When air enters the turbo, it is compressed and fed into the engine via the intercooler. What is vital about intakes is that they can supply the coldest air possible to the engine. Because colder air contains more oxygen than hot air, it boosts power and improves gas mileage.

Cold Air Intakes vs. Short Ram

There are two kinds of Evo X intake upgrades: short ram and cold air. Short rams use less piping and deliver air to the engine more quickly. They are intended to be as unrestrictive as possible in order to facilitate maximum air passage. Unfortunately, the location of the filter on short ram intakes makes them vulnerable to hot engine bay air.

Cold air intakes reroute the filter to the engine bay’s bottom or near the headlight or fender. Some will refer to the Evo X’s performance intakes as a cold air intake, but this is incorrect. The filter will be kept in the same location as the stock airbox in most Evo X intakes. That is, they are not real cold air intakes, but they do give lower intake temperatures as compared to typical short rams.

The Heat Shield vs. the Airbox

In terms of performance intakes, they are divided into two categories: those with a heat shield and those without. The airbox is the better of the two since it completely separates the filter from the motor. It permits lower temperatures and more uniform airflow, as well as more reliable MAF scaling and calibration.

The heat shield partially opens the filter and only blocks heat and turbulence from the bottom. It also lacks the standard intake scoop, making it more difficult to draw cold ambient air from outside the engine chamber. In practise, however, there is very little difference between an airbox and a heat shield. However, the airbox is significantly more expensive.

The Advantages of Evo X Intake Upgrades

There are numerous advantages to upgrading the intake on an Evo X, including:

  • +5-25whp
  • +40-56whp (when using a boost controller)
  • improved fuel economy
  • Turbo response has been improved.
  • Enhanced turbo sounds
  • Slowed turbo spool

The most important aspect of a Lancer Evo X intake improvement is the increased power. Installing an intake on an Evo X might result in gains ranging from 5-56whp. The addition of a boost controller makes a significant effect. Gains will most likely be limited to 25whp with just the intake and tuning. Despite this, dynos have indicated improvements of up to 56whp with the addition of a boost controller and tune! For an otherwise stock car, this is quite remarkable.

With an Evo X intake improvement, drivers will also notice a reduction in spool time and an increase in throttle response. The stock airbox is constrictive, and the panel filter impedes a smooth flow. A larger performance intake, on the other hand, allows the engine to breathe easier and get better airflow, which helps the turbo.

Miles on petrol

After installing an Evo X intake improvement, drivers should notice at least a few mpg boost. The 4B11 sends power to an awd system, which reduces gas mileage. While a new intake will not make up the difference, it will help a little bit. However, when people install new intakes, they also tend to drive more aggressively, so finding a happy medium is critical for improved mileage.


The enhanced turbo sounds are one of the most obvious characteristics of an aftermarket intake on the 4B11. The induction of air becomes considerably more noticeable, and the bypass valve is generally audible. Due to the open nature of the intake, those with only a heat shield will be louder than those with a full airbox.


When installing a new intake on the Lancer Evo X, tuning is required. Under wide open throttle, the engine will run lean if not properly tuned. This can cause engine knock, pre-ignition, and misfires, ultimately destroying the engine. There are numerous tuning choices for the Evo X, both online and in-person, so be sure your tuning solution is in place before installing your new intake.

Boost Control Unit

As previously stated, boost controllers have a significant impact on the power gains from an Evo X intake upgrade. Adding a boost controller to your intake configuration can result in 25-36whp more than an intake alone. Boost controllers enable tuners to run higher boost levels than stock while maintaining a more efficient curve. It is an additional investment on top of the intake, but it is well worth it in terms of horsepower/dollar.

Evo X Intakes That Work

Now comes the part that everyone has been waiting for: our list of recommendations. We do not mention every Evo X intake improvement available because it would be far too long. Our list compares the top four options for the 4B11 in terms of quality, price, and power gains. We also don’t include any short ram intakes on the list because they aren’t worth the money when compared to performance intakes. Let’s get this party started!

1) Intake ETS Evo X

Price: $359.00 – $608.00

Heat Shield Design

The Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) Evo X intake is the first on our list. It is one of the most popular and high-flowing intakes on the market. It has a K&N high-flow filter, a billet velocity stack, a heat shield, and a CNC bent mandrel intake pipe. The ETS is one of the most popular and well-respected intakes in the community, and it has been utilised on some lightning fast 7 second Evo Xs.

The ETS consumption provides the greatest gains of any intake. Drivers should expect 10-20whp with simply a tweak. However, with a boost controller set at 22 PSI and a tune, the ETS intake is dyno proven to produce 56whp. That’s with the factory turbo; with an improved turbo, it’s capable of even more.

The ETS intake is highly recommended for the Evo X. It is also available with a 3.5″ large MAF housing for builds with larger turbos than stock, which nearly doubles the price. Anyone with a stock-size turbo, on the other hand, will be fine with the less expensive version.

2) Performance Intake AMS Evo X

Price: $349.95 – $379.95

Design of a Heat Shield

The AMS Evo X Performance intake is the second item on our list. The AMS features a high-flow K&N cone shaped filter and is available in polished silver or wrinkle black. It is, like the ETS, one of the most respected and recommended inputs among the Evo X community.

When combined with a tune, the AMS performance intake gains 10-20whp. However, as with the ETS, combining it with a boost controller and tuning yields much larger gains. With a manual boost controller set to 21 PSI and a tune, AMS promises up to 45whp. The AMS intake lacks an airbox in favour of a heat shield, but it is nonetheless a worthy intake system capable of good flow.

The Intake Upgrade Guide for the Lancer Evo X

3) Cold Air Intake AEM Evo X

Price: $449.99

Airbox is a design concept.

The AEM Evo X Cold Air Intake for the 4B11 is the first intake on our list that has an airbox rather than a heat shield. With the exception of the entry that links to the factory intake scoop, the AEM is totally contained within the airbox. This enables your tuner to produce the most precise MAF scaling while also generating the smoothest and least turbulent flow. It also reduces intake temperatures by slightly isolating the intake from the rest of the engine area.

The AEM cold air intake is also CARB approved, which is important for anyone living in an emissions-restricted state. It has a washable AEM dryflow filter that should last 100,000 miles.

With the AEM intake and a tune, the Evo x gains 10-25whp, and even more with a boost controller and a tune. The AEM was one of the first intake upgrades for the Evo X and has endured the test of time. It is still extremely popular due to its high quality and consistent performance.

4) Evo X SF Cobb Tuning Intake

The Cobb Tuning Evo X SF Intake completes our list. Cobb Tuning has established themselves as a prominent name for Evo X upgrades, and their intake does not disappoint. It has an airbox and a velocity stack to ensure the best and smoothest flow possible. Because it only replaces the filter and not the intake piping, it is a very quick and simple installation.

The Cobb Tuning SF intake, like the AEM, is CARB legal. It will gain 5-15whp with a tune, and a boost controller, like the others, will add even more. Cobb provides free off-the-shelf Accessport maps that are compatible with their SF intake. This means that special tuning isn’t necessary with this intake if you already own an Accessport, because you can use their maps instead of paying for custom maps.

Price: $365.00

Airbox is a design concept.

Evo X SF Intake by Cobb Tuning

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Summary of Evo X Intake Upgrades

Anyone looking to start modding their 4B11 should consider an Evo X intake upgrade. It not only provides significant power gains, especially when combined with a boost controller, but it also allows your turbo to perform more easily and efficiently. An Evo X intake upgrade will improve gas mileage, minimise turbo lag, and provide significant horsepower and torque boosts.

We looked at four alternative performance intake options, which are listed in no particular order. The ETS is an excellent choice, especially for those searching for intakes for large turbo builds, which will necessitate the 3′′ MAF housing. The AMS is another well-known intake that provides comparable quality and performance to the ETS. Cobb Tuning and AEM intakes both have airboxes, therefore they will provide the optimum flow and the lowest intake temperatures.