When looking to upgrade the power potential of your turbocharged or supercharged vehicle, one of the items that’s included in your “Stage II” and “Stage III” packages is a larger Intercooler. With a larger intercooler, yes, you CAN make more horsepower, and simply by virtue of it having a better design, can make more power than the OEM intercooler – but really, that’s missing the point.

A bigger, high performance intercooler isn’t about making maximum power all the time – a performance intercooler is about enhancing CONSISTENCY. Yes, consistency. That sounds really bizarre, right? But think about what the job of the intercooler is. Cool the air charge. It works like your radiator does, only it’s cooling down the air going into the motor instead of coolant. The air flows through the intercooler and so a cooler air charge is what reaches the throttle body.

Now, consider this: As you make pulls on the dyno or do laps around the track, what builds up? HEAT. And what does heat do? It increases the intake temperature. The intercooler can only manage pulling so much heat out of the air, and if the intercooler gets heat soaked, it can’t help. How much power is this heat costing you? Well, in the case of AWE Tuning’s Audi B8 S5, they found that after 8 consecutive full throttle pulls, the car had LOST TWENTY THREE horsepower. This is what led AWE Tuning to develop their ColdFront system for the B8 S5.

By increasing the size and reducing the pressure drop across the intercooler (relative to stock IC), the larger intercooler can cope with more heat for a longer period of time before heat soak starts to affect it and suck away power. Take a look at the graph above, comparing a Wagner Tuning Performance Intercooler for B8 Audi A4 & A5‘s Intake Air Temperature to that of the stock intercooler – as you can see, the difference is quite stark.

Because a larger cooler can cope with greater heat, you can then do things like run more aggressive boost and timing than you can with the hotter intake temperatures run with the stock intercooler. This is why a performance intercooler is an essential part of modifying your high performance forced-induction vehicle. Not sure what’s the right intercooler for your application? Talk to the Modification Experts – call 714-582-3330 or chat live with an expert at ModBargains.com

ModBargains offers intercoolers from the finest names in the industry, ranging from Race-Oriented units that deliver maximum cooling but require more modding to fit to OEM-fitment oversized intercoolers to bolster the intake air charge cooling capability of your daily driver. We offer Intercoolers from Active Autowerke, AMS Performance, AWE Tuning, Banks, Cobb Tuning, Eurojet, Evolution Racewerks, Fabspeed, Forge Motorsport, Korkar Performance Engineering, Mishimoto, RPI, SPM and Wagner Tuning.

Story by Nicholas Gregson