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The BOSS vs Cobra Jet Intake Plenums - Which is Better?

Written By: Andrew Cilio

Shop 2010-2014 Intake Manifolds

Adding an intake manifold will gain you some big-time horsepower and Torque numbers, adding to the already lethal bite of your Mustang.

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The Coyote intake system is very efficient, but that doesn't mean there is no room for improvement. Aftermarket plenums produce more power and higher in the RPM range.

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Boss vs Cobra Jet Intake

  • The BOSS intake allows GT Mustangs to look visually identical under the hood to the BOSS
  • The BOSS intake is easily installed and does not require additional components
  •  BOSS intake manifolds feature clean lines and factory badges for enhanced visual appeal
  • COBRA JET intakes produce more top-end horsepower compared to the BOSS plenum, but sacrifice less low-end torque
  • COBRA JET intake manifolds are ideal for Mustang owners in major need of more airflow
  • COBRA JET intake manifolds require the use of a GT500 throttle body, intake tube, air filter, and other supporting mods
Stock Mustang Intake Manifold Versus Cobra Jet Intake
Stock Intake Manifold Versus Cobra Jet Intake

The Coyote Mustang's Intake System Explained

One must first understand the basics of the intake systems, to fully understand where improvements can be most beneficial. While through the years, the intake components on the Mustang have varied somewhat, the general basics remain the same.

First, what are the benefits of a new intake manifold? Upgrading your Mustang's intake manifold is similar in concept to upgrading to a cold air intake. By installing a smoother running, freer flowing manifold, you will allow more air to get to your motor faster, which will increase your low/mid-range torque and add more top end horsepower. It is an important upgrade for any car running forced induction and can have huge benefits on a naturally aspirated build, with the exact power numbers depending of course on what other mods you have planned.

Boss Mustang Intake Manifold
Boss Intake Manifold

The air intake assembly, located between the engine and the driver’s side fender of your Mustang near the front bumper, contains the air filter. The intake system then allows air to flow towards the engine through a specific diameter sized tube, inside this tube on the end closest to the filter is the MAF sensor(mass air flow), this sensor is read by the ECM (electronic control module) to determine exactly how much air is flowing through the entire intake assembly. On the other end of the intake tube (closest to the motor) lies the throttle body. The throttle body allows the ECM to control the amount of air flowing into the engine by opening or closing the intake system with a valve. On the other side of this valve, sitting directly on top of the motor, is the intake plenum.

As you can see in the picture on the left, a lot of time, effort, and engineering were put into making this intake work within the parameters of the stock coyote's designed operating range. One of the main differences on this intake plenum versus those of prior modular motors is the lower location of where the air comes into the plenum in relation to the internal tubing. This design is called a bottom feeder and helps move the air efficiently into the cylinders, especially in the lower RPMs.

2011-2014 GT Mustang Cobra Jet Intake System
Cobra Jet Intake System Kit

Coyote Mustang Intake Manifold Options

A motor as powerful as the coyote requires sufficient airflow to perform at its best. When you compare the aftermarket plenums available, adding the BOSS intake plenum is the easiest and most cost effective way to improve the airflow into the cylinders of your coyote prior to combustion. However, for those looking for maximum top-end horsepower and airflow, the Cobra Jet intake will better meet your needs. It is also important to remember that each component of the air intake assembly works together, so if you’re flowing more air through the plenum, you may want to add an intake and filter along with a custom tune to make certain you are getting all of the performance out your vehicle.

Airaid Mustang Cold Air Intake and Tuner Combo

The Mustang BOSS 302 Intake Mainfold

As previously stated, the factory intake plenum works very well within the stock environment, however, not quite as well as the plenum provided to assist getting air into the BOSS 302. The best part about the BOSS intake plenum is it allows the GT mustangs from 11 to become visually identical under the hood to the BOSS. As an added bonus, the installation of this intake is fairly straightforward and does not require any other expensive components to be changed for the plenum to function at 100%. The clean lines and factory badges of the BOSS intake plenum make this an appealing modification not just for performance improvements, but also for those looking to improve the aesthetics under the hood as well.

As you can clearly see in this picture of the BOSS intake plenum, it has longer runners, and a top feed design for incoming air. This design allows for more air to flow into the cylinders for combustion and more power during high RPM situations, at a cost of slightly less performance down low in the RPM range when comparing it to the stock coyote plenum; typically, enthusiasts have seen an additional 27 peak HP with anywhere from no TQ loss to up to 10 TQ loss. It is also important to remember that in order to take advantage of the increased airflow the BOSS plenum provides, an aftermarket tune is required.

Boss Mustang Engine Bay

COBRA JET Intake Manifold

Another option for those with the need for even more airflow, and who also have a sufficient supply extra cash lying around, is the Cobra Jet Intake Plenum. This item is included on the factory produced 2013 Cobra Jet Drag Car, and is available as an add-on accessory to the coyote motor. It produces power very similar to the BOSS plenum but produces more top-end horsepower while sacrificing less low-end torque than the Boss Intake; users typically see around a 25 peak HP increase with no TQ loss. For those with a major need for more airflow, go with the Cobra Jet. 5.0’s with mild mods or minor plans to add power would be better suited with the Boss intake. The Cobra Jet plenum also requires the use of a GT500 throttle body, and other supporting mods such as an intake tube and air filter.

Ford Racing Oval Style Mustang Throttle Body for Cobra Jet Intakes
Oval Style Throttle Body for Cobra Jet Intake Systems
Fitment includes: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, GT