MBWorld Members Debate Intake Spacers
Whenever horsepower and dollars meet, there will be arguments.
At the intersection of horsepower gains and dollars spent, only vehicles with compromised designs or forced induction are likely to see big gains for a paltry investment. The late-80’s Toyota Supra turbo can get a healthy horsepower bump with a simple downpipe upgrade. Old Chevrolets with the ubiquitous 350 V8 saw big gains from headers. The point? Neither of those is a naturally aspirated Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Critics and skeptics abound whenever a product claims big gains from small changes.
MBWorld forum member SactownP31 was one of those critics when he heard about the UPD intake spacers for the C63 from Ultimate Performance Design. He actually PM’d one of the vendors, shardul, and gave him a little hell about the spacers. How could a spacer give you a 20-25 hp power gain?
“Spacers eliminate the restrictive air box inlet design found with the OEM air box and filters by raising the air filters up and out of the inlet.”
No way, he thought. SactownP31 said he wanted to either confirm what the reviewers who had also tried the spacers were saying, or double down on the skeptic side of things. He got a discount on the spacer, which retails for $450, and installed it. His experience with the spacer was noticeable, to say the least.
SactownP31 said he felt a noticeable improvement in throttle response, and a “seat of the pants” power gain. We’ll let the description from UPD make the case in favor of the spacers, “[The spacers] eliminate the restrictive air box inlet design found with the OEM air box and filters by raising the air filters up and out of the inlet.” The argument goes like this: the stock filter sticks down close to the bottom of the airbox, and restricts flow. See picture by SactownP31 below of the OEM filter.
For the sake of comparison, take a look at SactownP31’s picture of the installed spacers and high-flow air filter.
Not long after posting the critics and skeptics descended, and many made salient points. We thought the most convincing argument was why didn’t any race team pick this up? Or, for that matter, why didn’t Mercedes or AMG change their design if it restricted airflow so much?
Do you land on the skeptic side, wondering how AMG left 20-25 hp on the table with their intake design? Or do you think a small change could yield a big benefit? The argument is no doubt far from over, though the original thread seems to have cooled down. Next time a skeptic buys a set and gets converted, this conversation will be rehashed. Pop over to the forums and let us know what you think about these intake spacers.