Best Coyote Mustang Performance ModsLast Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle
The 5.0L engine offered in the 2011+ Mustangs is nothing short of impressive with north of 400 horses under the hood. The best part about the Coyote engine, however, is how well it takes to bolt-on modifications -- specifically performance-enhancing modifications.
There are many Coyote-powered Mustangs out there putting out over 400 horsepower to the wheels just with a few simple bolt-on mods. This is typically attained with the tried and true combination of a cold air intake, exhaust system and tune to re-calibrate the engine’s parameters to account for the extra air flow.
We will admit that this article only covers the bottom floor when it comes to getting the most out of your Coyote with basic bolt-ons. However, nothing good comes from a project build that has a bad base to launch off of. You should see impressive power gains just from these modifications. But we should warn you that the “mod bug” is infectious and you’ll definitely want more after a taste of those extra horses!
Coyote Cold Air Intakes
If you’re looking to squeeze some more power out of your 2011+ Mustang GT, your first modification should be adding a cold air intake. Adding a cold air intake will allow your 5.0L engine to breathe easier and more efficiently. This will not only improve fuel economy but also will add a few horses as well. Due to the fact that the factory airbox can sometimes be restrictive, adding an aftermarket cold air intake to your 5.0L Coyote engine will free up some power for sure.
With cold air intakes from some of the best names in the industry like Roush Performance, Airaid, JLT Performance, Steeda and BBK, you’ll be sure to pick up an intake that fits your style and build personality perfectly!
The next best thing you can do to increase power after adding a cold air intake to your GT, is to pick up Mustang tuner as well. Although there are intakes out there that work with the factory calibration, you will surely get more out of your intake if paired with a tune. This is due to the fact that the factory engine calibration can only account for an intake tube up to a certain size. If you were to make that intake tube larger, then the engine wouldn’t run correctly.
That’s where adding a tuner comes in! You can complement the addition of a cold air intake with a free-flowing air filter and larger diameter intake tube with a tune to factor in the additional air entering the engine and you’ll have the recipe for success.
There’s no question that one of the signature ways of telling a Mustang apart from the crowd is by exhaust note. With that said, the factory exhaust that comes on your 2011+ Mustang from the factory is anything but loud and noticeable, especially on the S550. This is due to the fact that Ford needs to meet certain noise regulations when selling a car in the United States (and now overseas with the S550).
Do yourself a favor and give your Mustang GT the gift of an aggressive exhaust note with a cat-back or axle-back exhaust kit. Adding an aftermarket exhaust system to your Mustang will not only give your pony car the growl it deserves, but it will also free up a few horses due to the increased flow of these systems. Pair it with a set of long tube headers and you’ll be well on your way to some serious power numbers.
Tech Tip: Cat-back and axle-back exhaust kits do not require a tune in most cases. However, if you were to take it to the next level with a set of long tube headers, it is highly recommended that you get a tune to support the modification.
If you’re really looking to get everything you can out of your Mustang’s Coyote engine, then there’s no better way to do that than adding a supercharger. A supercharger’s job is to force air into the engine, usually measured by PSI. Unlike a turbocharger, superchargers are belt-driven off the engine and allow for instant torque throughout the entire powerband.
To read more about the similarities and differences between superchargers and turbos for your Mustang, be sure to check out our other resource article!