What’s the big deal about a MINI Cooper S ‘cold air intake’?

Most MINI Cooper S owners are interested in further improving performance on this already sporty high performance car.  A properly designed cold air intake system is a great start at doing just that. 

So why ‘cold air’?  Internal combustion engines require air and fuel to burn. The more efficient this process is, the more horsepower can be developed.  An average engine can use more than 15,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel.  The supercharged MINI Cooper S will typically need 20% more air than a normally aspirated engine!  Cold air is much denser then warm air.  Cooler, or cold air holds more oxygen per cubic foot.  More oxygen in the intake “charge” yields more power developed in each combustion cycle.  Thus, you’re getting more horsepower with the same or better fuel economy.

The MINI Cooper S gets its intake air through two paths.  A duct from the grille area provides direct airflow to the lower portion of the stock air box.  In addition, air flows into the rear of the air box from air flow through the drivers side (left side) cowl vent.  Common practice is to enlarge this inlet area to allow more pressurized air flow to the filter enclosure.  This only solves part of the restriction problem however.

Filter manufacturers and air box suppliers all talk about surface area as a measure of performance.  They take for granted that the physical filter enclosure will deliver enough air to the filter to allow it to do its job without undue restriction of air flow. In the case of the MINI Cooper S, the location of the stock filter (behind the engine) means it is not easy to get cold air to the filter.  In addition, space for the filter is cramped and engine bay heat is quite high because the air filter is located quite near and above the exhaust system.

The MINI MANIA designed ‘ULTRIK’ Cold Air Intake System for the MINI Cooper S is the only intake system on the market that optimizes the air delivered to the filter.  Installing the best filter in the world will do no good if you encase the filter in a metal case so close to the filter that airflow is inhibited.  Tests have shown that filter elements and conical filters in particular, are sensitive to the free-air area surrounding the filter element.  An inadequate open area around the filter creates a restriction in and of itself that inhibits airflow through the element.  This results in less improvement over the stock configuration than is available to achieve. In short, a large filter in a small box will have an effect opposite what is desired.

The MINI Cooper S application is particularly difficult as under hood space is very limited.  We carefully engineered our MINI Cooper Cold Air Intake System enclosure to provide an enclosure larger than stock, and larger than other available filter systems in order to optimize intake tract performance.  The ULTRIK Cold Air Intake System is the not only the largest in the industry but also makes use of the closing of the hood to complete the seal to the top of the box, thus assuring maximum free air around the filter.  Installing the best filter does no good unless you get plenty of unrestricted air around it.  The ‘cold air system’ from other suppliers have an average air capacity of 290 cubic inches. The Ultrik cold air system for the MINI Cooper S has the largest in the industry capacity of 378 cu. inches!  This is a 30% increase is air volume available to the filter element and intake tract, without restriction!  No wonder it works so well!

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