Kia first released their Stinger GT2 sedan for the 2018 model year and it has been a huge hit since. The top of the line GT2 features the Lambda II V6 3.3 L twin-turbo engine, making 365-368 hp and 376 lb-ft. It is the same engine that is found in the Hyundai Genesis G70, G80, and G90s. It is very reliable and has a ton of power potential for mods. Previously we looked at the top 5 Kia Stinger performance mods, so make sure to check that out.
Speaking of mods, one of the most popular and beneficial upgrades is a Kia Stinger intake. Intakes are often one of the first performance mods done, and they are a great choice for the Lambda II. They really open up the engine for better airflow while amplifying the sweet sounds of the twin-turbos.
Yet, with so many intakes on the market it can be a bit overwhelming at first. That’s why we’re here. This guide will give you the total rundown on Kia Stinger intake upgrades. We look at everything you need to know when thinking about upgrading and buying a new intake, including the different designs, terminology, and benefits. We also give our top 5 recommendations at the end. Let’s get started.
Stinger GT2 Performance Intakes
A performance intake is one of the most common upgrades on the Kia Stinger for several reasons. They add horsepower and torque while improving gas mileage and reducing turbo lag. The larger than stock filters increases the amount of air that can be brought into the engine, and the smoother design of the piping allows for less turbulent and more efficient airflow. Since the Kia Stinger GT2 has twin-turbos it requires twin intakes, one for each turbo.
On turbo cars, the intake connects directly to the compressor side of the turbo. Once air enters the turbo, it gets compressed and fed through the intercooler and into the engine. What is important about intakes is making sure they are able to deliver the coolest air available to the engine. Colder air has more oxygen than hot air, so it increases power and improves gas mileage.
Kia Stinger Cold Air Intakes
There are two main types of Kia Stinger intakes, short ram and cold air intakes. Short ram intakes are generally much cheaper and easier to install than cold air intakes, but they also lack the performance gains. On the Kia Stinger 3.3T, the stock airbox is actually better than nearly any aftermarket ram air intake.
Cold air intakes, however, have been shown to be beneficial on the Kia Stinger. Cold air intakes work by rerouting the filter low in the engine bay or near the fender wall. This idea is that these areas have much colder air than the hot engine bay, so putting the filter there lowers intake temperatures, resulting in more power. Most aftermarket intakes for the V6TT Kia Stinger are the cold air style rather than ram style.
Importantly, it should be noted that the stock airbox on the Kia Stinger GT2 is actually already a cold air style intake. Most aftermarket intakes follow a similar design to stock, which routes the air filters directly onto the fender walls. So while aftermarket intakes are technically cold air intakes, the term is somewhat misleading because the OEM airbox is too.
Kia 3.3 L Turbo Intake Closed vs Open Systems
The next style variation on Lambda II cold air intakes are closed vs open systems, or those with or without airboxes. Closed systems have both advantages and disadvantages when compared with open systems. Closed systems enclose the filter within an airbox to prevent it from being exposed to the open engine bay. Open systems leave the filter out in the open with no protection.
Advantages to closed systems are the airboxes partly shield the filter from the hot engine bay air, allowing for cooler temperatures. They also typically have inlets that reach into the fender or wheel well to grab the coolest possible air. Disadvantages are they are heavier, most costly, and can restrict flow compared with completely open systems. Open systems allow for less restriction because of the lack of an airbox, which improves flow.
In reality, the difference between the two is pretty minimal, especially if it is one of only a few mods on your car. Airboxes generally have a sleeker and more refined appearance, whereas open filters scream race car and fun. The choice is yours, but there is likely not gonna be a huge performance difference.
Kia Stinger 3.3T Intake Benefits
Benefits to upgrading the intake on your Kia Stinger 3.3T are:
- +10-25 hp/tq
- Improved fuel economy
- Increased throttle response
- Reduced turbo lag
- Louder turbo and engine sounds
- Improved engine bay looks
The most obvious benefits, and the reason most people put intakes on their car, are the performance gains. Just an intake alone will add 10-25 hp/tq and increase the entire power band. Since the stock Stinger intake is already a cold air intake, aftermarket Kia Stinger intake gains come from the improved design and larger air filter. The tubing allows for better flow because they are larger than stock, and the larger filter allows for more air to be sucked in.
Other benefits to upgrading to a cold air intake for the Kia Stinger are improved fuel economy, increased throttle response, reduced turbo lag, and the ability to hear the engine and turbos better. The fuel economy gains aren’t drastic, but even just a 1mpg increase can lead to decent savings over a couple of months. The improved throttle response and reduced turbo lag come from the improved airflow of the intake.
The other reasons for cold air intake upgrades on the Kia Stinger are mainly aesthetic: sounds and looks. You will definitely hear an increase under the hood from the turbos and engine after a Kia Stinger intake upgrade. This is due to the increased size of the filter as well as the removal of the restrictive OEM airbox. Looks wise, the aftermarket options look much better than the stock box. You can get powder coated options and several different colors on the aftermarket, allowing you to really customize your engine bay how you want it.
5 Best Kia Stinger Intakes for 3.3L TT
The top 5 intakes for the Kia Stinger 3.3T are:
- Takeda Momentum Cold Air Intake System
- Jonny Tig Cold Air Intake Kit
- AEM Cold Air Intake System
- Injen SP Short Ram Cold Air Intake System
- BMS Performance Dual Intake
Now it’s time to look at our recommendations for the top 5 best Kia Stinger intake upgrades. This is not a complete list of all available intakes, as that list would be too exhaustive and not helpful. Here, we have broken down the top 5 options for intakes on the Kia Stinger GT2 that balance cost, performance, and quality. Let’s get started!
1) Takeda Momentum Cold Air Intake System
The first selection for our list is Takeda’s Kia Stinger Momentum Cold Air Intake System from aFe Power. This is one of the newer intakes on the market but it is already very popular. There were a lot of people specifically waiting for this intake to hit the market before modding, and they have not been disappointed.
AFe claims dyno proven gains of up to 22 hp and 20 lb-ft over stock with just their intake alone. They also claim it can outflow the stock intake by 31%, which is pretty substantial. The Takeda is a closed system where they integrate the filter as part of the airbox. The sealed housing in front funnels cool air directly from behind the grill into the airboxes, making for lower IATs.
The Takeda is in the middle-tier of pricing for Kia Stinger cold air intakes, making it a good deal. The airboxes fit snugly in the fenders and look refined, and they also have a clear cover on the top. This allows for you to view the filter without taking apart the entire intake. Overall, the Takeda Momentum is a solid cold air intake for the Stinger GT2.
2) Jonny Tig 3.3 Stinger Cold Air Intake Kit
Price: $1,050.00 – $1,250.00
Style: Closed with optional covers
The second intake on our list is the top of the line Jonny Tig 3.3 Kia Stinger Cold Air Intake Kit. Jonny Tig is an Australian manufacturer that has been in the Kia Stinger game since the beginning. They have a great reputation for quality and performance within the industry. However, for U.S. buyers it is important to note that shipping times generally take longer than usual with Jonny Tig. Some customers report months of waiting for their items after purchase with sometimes little communication. Everyone always gets their stuff, but keep in mind it might not arrive quickly.
Yet, performance and appearance wise you cannot go wrong with the Jonny Tig intake. The piping is 3” throughout and connects to two very large K&N cone intake filters. The kit also comes with replacements for the factory ducting, which remove restriction and allow for cool air from behind the grill to be fed into the filters. The Jonny Tig intake comes with airboxes that have optional covers, though we recommend them. The covers come in different colors too, allowing for more customization.
Pricewise, the Jonny Tig kit is the most expensive on our list. The cheapest version is $1,050.00, with increases in price depending on the piping. Gains from the Jonny Tig are 15-20 hp/tq, making them right in line with our other options. If you can afford the Jonny Tig it is definitely a solid option, but the price is certainly something to think about.
3) AEM Cold Air Intake System
Style: Closed but uncovered
The next Kia Stinger intake on our list is AEM’s cold air intake system. The AEM has been one of the most popular intakes in the Stinger community since its release years ago. It is very well reviewed for its design, performance, and fitment. Many intakes have issues with rubbing and squeezing in on the Kia Stinger GT2, but the AEM does not suffer from this.
The AEM is a closed system with no cover that has a shallower mushroom style cone filter. The lack of cover allows for less restrictive air flow than covered options, but also does a worse job of keeping heat out. The airboxes fit into the fender walls, but they look a bit flimsy. They are also pretty small airboxes, which necessitates the shallower style filter.
The AEM kit is tied as the cheapest option on our list, but that does not mean it doesn’t perform. The AEM is still capable of 10-20 hp/tq gains just by itself. Aesthetically, it definitely appears the cheapest out of all our options, but it still looks pretty decent. For a budget build, the AEM Kia Stinger intake is a solid choice.
4) Injen Short Ram Cold Air Intake System
The Injen Kia Stinger intake is a hybrid design between short ram and cold air styles. It is an open system without any airboxes, and the filters are the most forward facing in any Stinger kit. The K&N cone shaped filters are also one of the largest for any Kia Stinger intake, allowing for lots of induction. It is really more of a short ram intake than a cold air, due to the lack of airboxes and the filter placement, but it still performs very well. Power gains are still 15-20 hp/tq with gains everywhere in the powerband.
Fitment wise the Injen intake is noted for being top of the line. There have been very few reported issues with fitment, which is partially due to the lack of airboxes. The piping is also available in three different colors which contrast the dark blue filter nicely.
The Injen intake is one of the pricier versions on our list, and with the lack of airboxes it can be hard to justify spending so much. But still, the Injen performs well enough to warrant consideration, and tons of high horsepower builds attest to its performance. If you want the racecar look for your Stinger GT2, the Injen is definitely the way to go.
5) Burger Motorsports (BMS) Kia 3.3L V6 Performance Intake
Style: Closed but uncovered
The final intake on our list is the Burger Motorsports (BMS) performance intake. Like the Jonny Tig, it was one of the earliest intakes on the market and it carries a very good reputation. Lots of very high horsepower performance Stinger builds feature the BMS intake, including some 600+hp builds.
The BMS Kia Stinger cold air intake is a closed system that has no cover. It uses the bottom half of the stock airbox connected to a provided shroud that partially encloses the filter. This helps to shield a little bit of the engine heat while still allowing for the least restriction possible. Gains from the BMS are 15-20 hp/tq, and reviewers really note how much more engine and turbo sounds you can hear with it installed.
Pricewise, the BMS kit is the cheapest option on our list along with the AEM. It still performs very well and is available in up to four different color combinations. For budget builds it is really a no brainer, unless you prefer the AEM’s airbox, which is its main competitor.
Stinger 3.3L Turbo Intake Upgrade Summary
Intake upgrades on the Kia Stinger GT2 are fun mods that increase performance while providing aesthetic pleasure. You can gain 10-25 hp/tq with a new intake, and it’ll make your car sound more aggressive and spruce up your engine bay. Tuning is not necessary with an intake upgrade, though it will definitely help squeeze out more power. We looked at a variety of intakes in our guide and all of them are solid choices.
The Takeda intake is one of the newest on the market, but it has already established itself as a good performer. The AEM and BMS intakes are both cheaper options, and they look like it, but they still offer pretty much the same level of performance as the others. The Jonny Tig intake is definitely the cream of the crop, but ordering is a bit prohibitive for non-Australian buyers. Finally, the Injen intake has been on the market for many years and proven to be a solid option.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these intakes. They all offer solid performance gains without breaking the bank too much.
Are you considering an upgraded intake on your 2018+ Kia Stinger?
Let us know in the comments below!