Best Mods for the 5.0 Coyote: Performance Parts and More
The Origin of the Wily Coyote
We've already told you everything about it, but before we break down a few performance upgrades for the 5.0 Coyote engine, here's a quick refresher in case you weren't paying attention. Ford brought the 5.0-liter engine back to the Mustang GT in 2011. The Coyote replaced the 4.6-liter V8 that had powered the Mustang GT from 1996-2010. The modular 4.6 is still a great motor, and plenty of enthusiasts have squeezed a ton of performance out of it. But unfortunately the 4.6-liter just wasn't the platform to keep pace with the Bowtie bunch and the Hemi herd, who were hitting the street and track with the 6.2L LS3 and 6.4L Hemi ESF. We're not gonna lie—the Blue Oval was getting smoked. Something needed to be done. Enter, the 5.0-liter Coyote.
Ford engineers not only managed to wedge the larger 302-cubic-inch 5.0L into the tight Mustang GT engine bay, but they also tapped the Coyote for a ton of performance despite being a much smaller platform than what GM and Chrysler offer. Suddenly Ford was back in the race, running neck and neck with the competition.
More Please, Sir
The newest generation of Mustang GTs equipped with the Coyote are awesome performers right off the lot, but that doesn't mean there aren't gains to be made with a few easy modifications. There's always going to be someone wanting to know how to add 100 hp to the 5.0 Coyote. So, buckle up and hold onto something, because we're about to raise the bar on this mofo.
"Scotty, We need more power!"
- Capt. James T. Kirk
First Things First: Bolt On a Cold Air Intake
A good cold air intake is one of the first 5.0 Coyote performance parts you should add to your 5.0 GT. A cold air intake allows more oxygen to flow into your engine. More air equals more combustion, which means more power.
It's probably the easiest mod to install, and a CAI can add 15-20 hp and just as many lb-ft of torque right off the bat. Add to the equation that a cold air intake will increase your Mustang GT's efficiency and fuel economy, it's a no-brainer.
A good exhaust (see below) with headers might give you more gains, but the CAI is the cheapest and quickest way to add power to your Pony.
A note on CAIs: When selecting a cold air intake, be aware if the intake requires a tune or not. Since the cold air intake is allowing more air into the engine, your Mustang GT's computer may not be calibrated to optimize this increase. A computer tune allows you to make sure your car is set up correctly to handle the influx of additional air. Some cold air intakes are designed to work with your car's stock setup right out of the box. Some are not.
Wake Up Your 5.0 (and the Neighbors) With a New Exhaust
We haven't done any scientific research on this, but new exhaust systems are probably the most popular performance upgrades for the 5.0 coyote engine. And for good reason. A high-performance exhaust is among the most noticeable mods for the 5.0 Coyote engine. You'll see modest gains in HP and torque, but the real star of the show is the sound. Anyone who loves performance cars is a sucker for a deep V8 growl. And although the Mustang rolls out of the showroom with a decent set of pipes, there's no substitute for a deep, throaty rumble of a high-performance aftermarket exhaust system.
Just like all of our 5.0 Coyote performance parts, there are a myriad of choices when it comes to choosing an exhaust. To make things easier on yourself, you'll want to be familiar with a few basic terms.
Axleback Exhaust Mods
This is the least expensive option when replacing your stock Mustang GT exhaust. However, it's also the least effective as far as performance gains are concerned. This exhaust mod typically replaces only the mufflers and the exhaust tips. An axleback exhaust mod will no doubt give you a better tone from the pipes, but your hp increase will be nominal if at all. This is the perfect choice for a Mustang GT owner who wants more growl at an affordable price. We can't argue with a budget-friendly decision like that. Check out Lethal Performance's selection of axleback exhausts.
Catback Exhaust Mods
Adding a catback exhaust gives you a good middle ground for performance vs. price. As the name implies, a catback exhaust replaces everything from the catalytic converters back, including the midpipe, intermediate pipe and both mufflers. You'll still use the stock catalytic converters and exhaust manifold, but the increased flow from the catback will give you about a 3% increase in hp and torque and a far more aggressive (and louder) rumble over your stock pipes and mufflers.
This is the most popular choice for Mustang GT owners who opt to replace their stock exhaust.
Headers are often the final (or FIRST, if you want to be literal,) piece in a full performance exhaust makeover. Headers replace the stock exhaust manifold and increase exhaust flow and cut backpressure to raise engine performance and power. And although the headers are the first component in an exhaust system, you don't typically want to start with them without having a good catback exhaust as well. Because although the headers will allow more flow, that extra exhaust won't have much benefit if it just gets choked in the stock pipes and mufflers. So, while a set of headers could cost less than a quality catback exhaust, you normally would include the price of the catback for your total exhaust expense.
A complete exhaust mod with headers provides the best performance and the nastiest (and we mean that in the BEST way possible) sound.
Go Big or Go Home With a Supercharger
No more playing around, buddy boy. If you're looking for the master of all 5.0 Coyote engine upgrades, then a supercharger is what you want. This is the most expensive mod you can choose, but with the big price tag comes massive gains. A supercharger can boost your 5.0L Mustang GT to upwards of 700 hp and more than 600 lb-ft of torque.
Keep in mind that you don't want to just throw a supercharger under the hood and hit the pavement. You'll have too much power for your stock Mustang to handle. To benefit from everything the supercharger has to offer, you'll need beefier tires, a more robust suspension and a more durable drivetrain.
So Many More Options
So now you have a handful of options for performance upgrades for the 5.0 Coyote engine in your Mustang GT. But that's not all of the ways you can mod your Mustang. It's not even close. In addition to components that directly affect your engine's power and performance, you can upgrade the suspension, add spoilers to the front and rear of the car, improve your brakes and transmission, and much more.