While your Audi is certainly engineered to provide superior performance, it still runs on an internal combustion engine. The key word there is “combustion”. Fuel is ignited, creating an explosion that moves the pistons in your engine, which in turn propels your vehicle down the road. There are several different elements involved in creating the combustion necessary to move your car. Fuel is obvious, and you’ll need a spark as well (from your spark plugs). However, in order for fuel to combust properly, you need plenty of oxygen – this comes from your air intake. Installing a cold air intake on your Audi can offer big performance gains, but you’ll need to know a few things before you start.
Cold Air Intakes vs. Short Ram Intakes
The first thing you’re going to need to do is decide if you want a cold air intake or a short ram intake. While they offer pretty much the same functionality, there are some key differences that you’ll need to understand in order to make an informed decision here.
Cold Air Intakes – As the name implies, cold air intakes deliver colder air to the engine than what is possible through a conventional air filter intake. Cold air is desirable for a number of reasons. For instance, colder air is denser, which offers better combustion.
These intakes take the place of your standard air filter (you’ll have to remove the air box and reroute the intake). Most of the time, the filter sits toward the front of the engine or even within a wheel well to ensure that the optimum amount of cold air is delivered to the engine. However, they’re not without their problems. For example, because of the placement of the filter element, it’s possible for water to get into the system (from heavy rains or from splashing up around the tire).
Short Ram Intakes – Short ram intakes serve pretty much the same function as cold air intakes, but they’re slightly different. The name really says it all – these are shorter systems, and place the filter element very close to the actual intake, usually on the top, front of the engine. This allows short ram intakes to avoid the water problem present with cold air intakes, but it means that the air delivered to the engine is not as cold and dense as what’s possible with the other system.
Making Your Choice
Determining exactly what type of intake system to install on your Audi will take a little bit of time. For instance, if you don’t regularly experience heavy rains (or you choose to install a water protection system), then cold air intakes are definitely the way to go. However, for those who are worried about water, or just want the simplest replacement possible, short ram intakes can certainly be viable options.
In addition to gaining up to 12 HP from changing out your intake, you’ll find that these accessories are available in a range of colors and styles. For example, if you have a particular look that you want for your Audi, you can choose colored metal or plastic intake tubes (aluminum tubes are stronger and more resilient, of course). Colors range from red to blue, green, black and every other color of the rainbow. You can also choose chrome air tubes to match your desired look or to coordinate with other custom accessories you’ve installed.