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5.7 HEMI Cold Air Intake Upgrade Guide

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Zach is a founder of 8020 Media and TuningPro. He’s been repairing, upgrading, tuning, and writing about cars & engines for over a decade. Zach has written over 400 automotive articles and continues to be a lead writer for TuningPro. His passion, experience, and deep technical knowledge make him a go-to resource for readers looking to take their car to the next level.

Cold air intakes are a popular upgrade on many different cars and engines for good reason. They’re cheap, easy to install, often look good, and can help boost performance. The last note is especially important for the Dodge 5.7 HEMI. It’s a great engine but we often state that the big 5.7L V8 is underpowered from the factory. A cold air intake is a great addition to help wake the engine up. In this article, we discuss 5.7 HEMI intake upgrades along with benefits, cost, power gains, and more.

*Much of the general information in this article applies to all 5.7L HEMI engines. However, the product recommendations will specifically focus on the Dodge Charger & Challenger. We have a guide for the Ram 1500.

5.7 HEMI Cold Air Intake - Best 5.7 HEMI Intakes

5.7 HEMI Cold Air Intake Benefits

  • 5-15+whp
  • 5-15+wtq
  • Better fuel economy
  • Improved throttle response
  • Louder engine/induction sounds

Cold air intake horsepower gains can vary widely. On a bone stock 5.7L V8 it’s unlikely you’ll pick up much more than roughly 3-7whp. However, with additional mods, it’s very possible to see gains of 10-15 horsepower and torque from the intake alone. Not bad for an upgrade that’s relatively cheap and simple to install.

Better fuel economy is also a big claim from intake upgrades. It’s usually a pretty small benefit, though. You may see an increase of about 0.1 – 0.5 MPG. Not very noticeable in the short term but over time the fuel savings add up.

Other benefits of a cold air intake include better throttle response and louder engine & induction sounds. Don’t expect any drastic improvements, but they’re still nice benefits of an intake upgrade. Add up all the benefits of a cold air intake and it’s hard to go wrong with a simple, inexpensive mod.

Intake Designs

Cold air intake is a common term that’s often thrown around to describe just about any upgraded intake. In fact, most intakes labeled as “cold air intake” are not true cold air intake systems. A stock location intake doesn’t just magically pull in colder air. To accomplish this, you need to reroute the filter and/or piping to a lower point further from the heat of the engine bay.

Short ram intake is another common term for upgraded air intakes. A ram intake is designed to use air pressure from vehicle motion to increase the pressure flowing through the intake. These short ram intakes draw their air inside the engine bay and are designed to offer a short, smooth path to the engine.

Ultimately, there isn’t always a perfect answer as to which intake is best for the 345 HEMI. However, a true cold air intake will likely offer the best hp gains. It’s always a good idea to go with a quality intake that has actual R&D and testing done. We also recommend opting for high-quality filters from brands like K&N, S&B, etc.

Best 5.7 HEMI V8 Cold Air Intake Upgrades

With some of the background info out of the way it’s time to move on to the best 5.7 HEMI intake upgrades. Please note – this is by no means an exhaustive list. Plenty of awesome Challenger & Charger intakes are on the market. There simply isn’t enough time or space to cover every good 345 HEMI cold air intake.

Instead, we will focus on a few intakes that we believe offer a great balance of price, quality, and performance. That said, let’s jump in and look at some of the best 5.7L V8 Charger & Challenger intakes.

1) 345 HEMI Legmaker V2 CAI Upgrade

Price: $384.99

Fits: 2005-2022+ Challenger, Charger, Magnum, Chrysler 300

Buy Here: 5.7 HEMI Legmaker True Cold Air Intake

The Legmaker true cold air intake for the 345 HEMI is a great all-around option. We really like this intake upgrade for several reasons. For one, it’s a true cold air intake that mounts the filter in the fender area. The intake uses 4″ diameter carbon fiber tubing that looks excellent, in our opinion.

Legmaker uses a high-quality S&B filter with 8-layer protection. S&B makes some of the best air filters around, so there shouldn’t be any concerns there. Anyway, the kit also includes an 18″ IAT extension harness to relocate the sensor and everything else needed for installation.

While this list isn’t in any particular order, the cold air intake from Legmaker might be the best choice. A true CAI with carbon fiber piping and an S&B filter all for less than $400 is hard to beat. If you’re looking for a true cold air intake then look no further; this is an awesome intake choice.

2) 5.7L V8 aFe Magnum Force Cold Air Intake

Price: $433.13 – 455.07

Fits: 2005-2022+ Challenger, Charger, Magnum, Chrysler 300

aFe is a big name when it comes to American muscle car parts, and that’s especially true for their intake kits. The 5.7 HEMI aFe cold air intake is CARB approved meaning it’s legal even in states like California. It also means this product comes at a premium price-wise.

Despite “cold air intake” in the name it’s not a true CAI like the previous Legmaker intake. That doesn’t mean the aFe intake doesn’t still offer good results, though. It outflows the stock 345 HEMI intake by 40%. aFe claims dyno proven gains up to +17hp and +17 lb-ft but we would take those numbers with a grain of salt. It’s certainly possible but not everyone should expect to see power gains that high.

Anyway, the aFe intake is a popular choice for the 5.7 HEMI Challenger and Charger. They’re a large, quality brand that offers well tested and designed products. This aFe cold air intake is an excellent pick if you don’t mind paying a small premium for those factors. K&N and S&B are some other big brands that offer great products for the 5.7 HEMI.

3) Dodge 5.7 HEMI SR Performance Intake Upgrade

Price: $149.99

Fits: 2011-2022+ Challenger & Charger

No list is truly complete without at least one budget-friendly option. SR Performance offers a 5.7 HEMI cold air intake for the 2011+ Charger and Challenger. It’s not the best looking intake around. It’s likely not going to be the best performing option. However, it’s hard to argue with a $150 price tag when most 5.7 HEMI intakes are $300+.

We aren’t quite sure what brand of filter the intake uses or the quality of that filter. If that’s a concern you can buy a K&N or S&B filter that fits the piping. They’re usually about $40-70 depending on the specific cone filter.

The SR Performance 5.7 HEMI cold air intake has thousands of positive reviews. It’s a popular budget option that may be a great choice for some. However, if you don’t mind spending extra we would recommend sticking with something like Legmaker, aFe, K&N, etc.

A Cold Air Intake Is A Great First Mod For Your 5.7 HEMI

The 5.7 HEMI is a great engine that’s known for being underpowered from the factory. It doesn’t make much power considering its large displacement. However, the 345 HEMI responds very well to upgrades and a cold air intake is a great starting point to squeeze out more power.

An intake often shows gains of about 3-7whp on otherwise stock engines, but can pick up 10-15+whp with additional mods. Torque gains should fall roughly in the same ballpark. Additionally, an intake helps improve fuel economy and throttle response. Top that off with a louder engine and exhaust note and an intake offers a lot of benefits for the price.

Legmaker offers a well-priced, carbon fiber, true cold air intake for all years of the 5.7 HEMI Charger and Challenger. It’s one of our top picks for good reason. Otherwise, aFe, K&N, S&B, and some other large brands also offer high-quality intakes. Those on a tighter budget should consider the SR Performance cold air intake for a mere $150. Regardless of your specific choice, a 5.7 HEMI cold air intake is a great performance upgrade.

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