Cold Air Intake Systems Explained for your Naturally Aspirated & Turbo Mazda

Mazda 6 Turbo Performance Intake

Cold air intake systems, are they necessary? Are they worth the extra cost? Does it matter if the engine is turbocharged or not? Will the engine or its performance be hurt without one? We have repeatedly seen these questions on forums and social media groups regarding Mazda’s 3rd and 4th Generation Mazda 3 & 6. To help the Mazda community grow, learn about their cars, and what to do with them, we have written a blog that we hope will help shed some light on these questions and others. 

Most importantly, you will NOT hurt your engine if you use an SRI only on Turbo or Non-Turbo applications.  

What are the typical intake systems available for your Mazda? At CorkSport, we have two primary intake system setups: Short Ram Intake (SRI) System and Cold Air Intake (CAI) System. It is essential to distinguish between the two because you (the Mazda enthusiasts) will ultimately decide which system to use. 

Short Ram Intake (SRI) System

This CorkSport system consists of a filter, billet MAF housing, silicone coupler, a few clamps, and may or may not have a mounting bracket (depending on application). This system is efficient and straightforward (an unrestricted airflow path increases power). This system removes the factory airbox and snorkel. The cost is very effective for the results and provides excellent induction sounds. 

Mazda 6 Turbo Performance Intake

Cold Air Intake (CAI) System

CorkSport’s system consists of the SRI (as mentioned above) plus a heat shield or airbox designed to keep the engine bay heat away from the intake system’s inlet and helps direct cold air induction. This system removes the factory airbox and may or may not reuse the factory snorkel. The cost will be higher than an SRI due to the additional components involved and may muffle some of the induction noises but provide better heat control.

Mazda performance air intake heat shield

OK, is a Cold Air Intake System worth the extra cost and complexity? Does it do anything? Well, in our opinion, yes and no. We have tested this, and we have proven that a heatshield does improve (read reduce) “heat soak” of the intake system, BUT not in the ways most people expect. Below is some data from our 2018 Mazda 6 Turbo with our SRI and then also with our SRI + Heat Shield:

This first graph shows the vehicle idling for a period of time, much like sitting at a stoplight or in traffic. The red graph shows the SRI only, and the blue chart shows the SRI+Heat Shield. It’s pretty apparent the heat shield is helping reduce the amount of engine bay heat being ingested by the intake while the vehicle is sitting. The maximum temperature delta is approximately 15-20deg F. That’s a respectable improvement, and this lower amount of heat soak should, in theory, improve the vehicle’s acceleration from a complete stop. Now let’s look at a graph that combines idling and acceleration up to 50mph

The second graph indicates similar data for the stationary idling period, but more importantly, is what the data tells us once the vehicle starts moving. You see a small spike for both systems (this is due to the engine suddenly ingesting more air), then you see the air temp drop rapidly as the vehicle increases in speed. The vehicle’s forward motion/speed is important because that is how fresh cool ambient air enters the engine bay.

You’ll notice that both the red and blue graphs meet at the same point after the rapid cooling then have a small amount of fluctuation. In a nutshell, both the SRI and SRI+Heat Shield perform about the same once the vehicle is moving. Again, they perform almost identically once the car is rolling.

Next question, does it matter if the vehicle is turbocharged or not? Before we answer that, let’s go over the differences between turbocharged and non-turbocharged systems. 

Turbocharged

The engine is equipped with a turbocharger and an intercooler system to cool the boosted air temperatures before entering the engine. The intercooler system is required to negate the by-product of turbocharging an engine (and thus boost), which is heat. The airflow path is intake -> turbo -> intercooler -> engine.

In a turbocharged engine, the need for and use of a Cold Air Intake System is typically not deemed necessary or very useful. The turbocharger superheats the cooler air it receives from the intake before passing it to the intercooler. The boosted air exiting the turbo is substantially hotter than the ambient air temperatures in your engine bay before it enters the intake – especially true while the vehicle is moving.    

More focus is placed on performance improvements of the intercooler system because that is the primary method to cool the incoming boosted (read “hot”) airflow before it enters the engine. The use of a cold air intake system has little effect on the resulting boost air temps, so the cost-effectiveness is not great. This is precisely why the Mazdaspeed platform focuses on increasing the intake size (ingesting more air = more power), adding a larger turbo (more boost), and increasing the size of the intercooler (additional surface area for cooling) coupled with a professional tune to maximize power.

Non-Turbocharged

The engine is not equipped with a turbocharger and, therefore, does not require an intercooler system. The airflow path is more direct and does not have a cooling system built-in; intake -> engine.  

Since there is no intercooler to cool the incoming air (it’s not needed), the best way to improve air density and performance is with cooler air entering the engine directly. So, a cold air intake on a non-turbo engine can be helpful – especially in warmer climates. 

2019-Mazda-3-air-intake

Let’s Recap: 

In either turbo or non-turbo applications, a heat shield or CAI system will provide varying degrees of benefit in some driving situations. For a turbo application specifically, the usefulness of the CAI system is marginal due to the turbo heating the air it receives from the intake. Instead, investing in an SRI and performance intercooler system is a much better plan.   

For the non-turbo applications, a CAI system is a worthwhile investment because the airflow path is so much more direct, and it’s the only way to help reduce intake air temps and thus increase air density which equals power.  

We hope this has been a helpful and educational blog and lends support as you decide the right path for you and your Mazda! Thanks for tuning in!

-Barett @ CS

Mazda 3 Rear Wiper Delete

Sometimes Form is more important than Function…and sometimes we find features in a vehicle that are not that useful to us.  One of those features happens to be the rear wiper assembly.  We felt this way and many in the community have informed us of this as well.  

With that, we now have Rear Wiper Delete Kits for the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Generation Mazda 3 hatchbacks.  

Mazdaspeed 3/Mazda 3 Wiper Delete for 2010-2013

If you happen to live in one of the fortunate states that don’t get a lot of rain or find yourself not using your rear wiper very often, this is the kit for you.  The CorkSport Rear Wiper Delete Kit completely removes the wiper arm and the motor assembly.  This shaves weight (about 2 pounds) from your car and gets rid of the unsightly rear wiper arm.  

Mazda Hatchback wiper delete

The delete “plug” in the kit is manufactured from 6061-T6 aluminum and finished with a black anodized coating then laser engraved with a sleek CS logo.  While this is a subtle mod for your Mazda, we are always shocked at how much better the rear end looks afterwards.  

2014-2018 Mazda 3 Rear Wiper Delete

2nd Gen 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3/Mazda 3 check out your kit here: Click me!

3rd Gen 2014-2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback check out your kit here: Click me!

4th Gen 2019+ Mazda 3 Hatchback check out your kit here: Click me!

2019+ Mazda 3 Rear Wiper Delete

Thanks for checking out the CorkSport Rear Wiper Deletes!  For all the Gen1 Guys and Gals, we are working on a kit currently, we will have a kit ready mid summer!

-Barett @ CS

The Steering Wheel Your Mazda 3 Deserves

Every time you drive your Mazda you directly interface with four critical controls; seat, pedals, shifter, and the steering wheel.  These control interfaces give you tactile feedback of your driving experience, so why not get the best feedback possible?

Take your driving experience to the next level

We introduce to you the racing inspired and genuine leather clad performance steering wheel from CorkSport Mazda Performance.  We are so excited to bring this option to the community, to give you the opportunity to take your driving experience to the next level. 

This performance steering wheel is designed for the facelift 2017 – 2018 Mazda 3, 2017+ Mazda CX-5 and 2018+ Mazda CX-3.  

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

When we set out to develop a performance steering wheel for the facelift 3rd GEN Mazda 3 we had to define the major attributes needed: Performance, Style, Fitment.  Without these what is the point?  

2017-18 Mazda 3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel
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Performance: While the OEM Mazda wheel has a nice shape to it we wanted to push this further with a more aggressive racing inspired style, deep thumb grooves, and the option for genuine leather or alcantara inserts.  This gives you the choice to fit your style and the confidence on the track, autoX, or back roads.  Sweaty palms? Don’t worry, the high contact area uses perforated genuine leather to help your hands breathe…we got you Fam.

2017+ CX-5 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel
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Style: We’ll say this again, Mazda did a pretty good job on the higher trim level wheels, but if you have a lower trim level with the vinyl/plastic wheel it just looks MEH.  You know what we mean.  Step up your game with the CorkSport Leather Steering Wheel.  It looks so good through the window, even better right in your face, and feels fantastic in your hands. 

Genuine leather and/or alcantara, aggressive thumb grooves, and red stitching just bring the whole interior together and to the next level. 

2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

Fitment: This one is a BIG DEAL for two reasons.

EASY

When a part fits correctly it installs easily.  We don’t want you to fight with the install or have to come up with some disconnecting hub or whatnot like other “racing” wheels.  This is a 100% new casting that retains all the OEM connections and fitment. 

SAFETY

While we do use true racing steering wheels with the quick disconnect hubs; these are only on our dedicated track cars with tons of other safety equipment.  Your car is your daily and your weekend toy.  We will not compromise your safety so we designed a performance steering wheel that retains all the controls and airbag like the OEM steering wheel.

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

Alright, let’s pull these three back together.  Racing inspired performance steering wheel that uses genuine leather and gives you the option for alcantara inserts, form follows function because it looks great from the driver’s point of view or any point of view, and you get this without compromising your safety or losing your quick access features on the steering wheel.  

Hold on…there is one thing…

If you have a heated steering wheel from the factory you will lose that feature.  We investigated adding this feature (and we still can if there is enough demand), but damn it is really expensive.  Let us know in the comments and drop us some info in this link if you really want a heated option.  I WANT A HEATED STEERING WHEEL

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

Lastly, we want to mention this; this is can be a tuff performance modification to justify trust me, but once you lay your hands on the wheel and take your first apex you will be sold and wished your Mazda came with it from the factory.  It’s such a visceral feeling that it’s hard to explain.  

With that we will leave you with the obvious decision to make.  Do the right thing for you and your Mazda.

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

-CorkSport

Mazda 3, 2014-2018 Carbon Fiber Engine Cover

We are happy to introduce the CorkSport Carbon Fiber Engine Cover for 2014-2018 Mazda 3, 2014-2018 Mazda 6  non-turbo up to 03/02/2018 build date, 2013-2017 Mazda CX-5, and 2016-2020 Mazda CX-3!

Personalize your look to match your build!

Add some much-needed flair to the engine bay of your Mazda in 10 minutes or less. Offered in two different REAL carbon fiber weave patterns with 4 choices of CS emblem colors so you can personalize your look to match your build. Read on for full details and check out the images!

CorkSport Carbon Fiber Engine Cover for 2014-2018 Mazda 3, 2014-2018 Mazda 6, 2013-2017 Mazda CX-5, and 2016-2020 Mazda CX-3!

The CS carbon engine cover spices up your Mazda’s engine bay with a fantastic 100% real carbon fiber. You have your choice of weave between a regular 2×2 twill weave or “forged” carbon for a little extra cost. The forged carbon was originally developed by Lamborghini and uses chopped strands of carbon instead of the traditional carbon cloth for a unique appearance. Both are finished in high gloss for a truly great look!

CorkSport Carbon Fiber Engine Cover for 2014-2018 Mazda 3, 2014-2018 Mazda 6, 2013-2017 Mazda CX-5, and 2016-2020 Mazda CX-3!

Each CorkSport engine cover is designed to be a direct replacement for your OEM engine cover. We used an OEM cover when creating the design so you can be sure it will fit and look just like OEM. All OEM mounting locations were replicated and then securely bonded to the carbon. The covers sit right where they’re supposed to and don’t cause any vibrations or rattles!

CorkSport Carbon Fiber Engine Cover for 2014-2018 Mazda 3, 2014-2018 Mazda 6, 2013-2017 Mazda CX-5, and 2016-2020 Mazda CX-3!

Add some flair to your engine bay

We finished off the CorkSport CF engine cover with a custom billet aluminum “CS” logo badge. It offers a nice finishing touch that replicates the Mazda badge on the OEM cover. To give it your personal touch, four different anodize colors are available: blue, red, black, and silver. Each color looks great with the carbon background, whether you want a stealthy black look or bright red to match your car’s paint and your CS intake!

CorkSport Carbon Fiber Engine Cover for 2014-2018 Mazda 3, 2014-2018 Mazda 6, 2013-2017 Mazda CX-5, and 2016-2020 Mazda CX-3!

If you’re looking to add some flair to your engine bay and impress at your local car meet, check out the CorkSport Carbon Fiber Engine Cover. Be sure to check out the product listing for more pictures and don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions, we’re happy to help!

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30!

Love your new Mazda 3 but find yourself missing some excitement? Already have our Short Ram Intake and out Strut Tower Bar? CS has come to help. We are proud to announce the CorkSport Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30!

Help your engine breathe!

Add some much-needed volume to your 4th GEN and help the engine breathe while doing so. It’s a great balance of growl under hard acceleration, yet quiet while cruising, plus you get a nice visual boost to the back of your ride. Read on for full details, and be sure to check out the product video for sound clips! (Mazda3 pictured below is OE ride height. If you are looking for more low, check out our 4th Gen Mazda 3 Lowering Springs!)

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
4th Gen Lowering Springs

The CorkSport ABE replaces the restrictive OEM muffler section with high flowing, mandrel bent 304 stainless steel piping and a pass-through resonator. This allows for a great sound that is just loud enough to make your backroads journey fun without ruining your daily commute.

A deep and great sound

The tone is deep with some nice growl to it that you’ll love to hear. Due to the unique, offset inlet flange, we ended up going with the single asymmetrical resonator for the best tone combined with drone elimination. We tested multiple resonator combinations before determining the single long resonator was the best setup.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
CorkSport Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30

The sound was not our only focus, however. We’ve increased the piping diameter to minimize flow restrictions in the exhaust. The piping diameter was increased from the OEM of 50-55mm (depending on where you measure) to 63.5mm (2.50 inch). The OEM muffler section has a lot of twists, turns, and flow restriction to quiet down your Sky-G. The free flowing resonator eliminates this flow restriction, and when combined with the larger piping, lets the 2.5 breathe better.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
CorkSport

The sound and performance also comes with a visual gain. Exhaust tips are increased in size up to 90mm to better fill in the bumper cutouts of the BP Mazda 3. Each tip is dual wall construction that uses a rotated slant cut design. This helps the tips follow the curve of the bumper just like the OEM tips. Each tip is finished off with a laser engraved CorkSport name badge for a nice detail.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
View our selection of Axle back Exhausts

The GEN4 Mazda 3 exhaust also allowed us to bring in a feature we have never had before: adjustable tip length. Each tip is attached using a slip fitting and exhaust band clamp to provide secure and exhaust-leak-free performance.

Three different tip length options

This slip fitting gives you up to 10mm of length adjustment to really dial in the look you’re going for. That is not even the best part though! We are offering three different tip length options for you all to choose from: Hatchback, Hatchback w/Appearance Kit, Sedan, and CX-30.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
View our selection of Axle back Exhausts

The sedan tip option is the longest in order to fit the longer rear end of the sedan models. While not intended you could put these on a hatchback if you’re into the “blast pipe” look.

Adjustable tip lengths

The Hatchback W/Appearance Kit tip option is the medium length tip. These are intended for hatchbacks equipped with Mazda’s factory Appearance Package and are also the optimal length for the CX-30. This offers an aggressive look to match the aggressive nature of the Mazda Aero Kit. These tips can also be used on a non-aero kit hatch, however, they would stick out too far for most people’s taste.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
CorkSport Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30

The Hatchback without the Aero Kit tip option is the shortest option and is intended for regular hatchbacks without the Mazda Aero Kit. You can also run these tips on hatches with the aero kit if you’re going for a more conservative look, but they tend to disappear in the bumper skirt.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30
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Made entirely from polished 304 stainless steel

As usual, each CorkSport 2019+ MZ3 axle-back exhaust is made entirely from polished 304 stainless steel for the best in appearance and corrosion resistance. Each joint is TIG welded for strength while the inlet flange is laser cut to ensure a perfect fit. Each exhaust comes with all hardware needed for install, including exhaust clamps for the tips. You also get full color installation instructions and support for any installation questions you may have.

Axle Back Exhaust for 2019+ Mazda 3 & CX-30

We strongly encourage you to visit the product listing for more pictures and to check out the product video for sound and video clips. This exhaust is fantastic, especially for a daily driver. Let us know what you think, and share other 4th GEN parts you want to see!