Float Like a Butterfly, Sting like a Kia? – Performance Intercooler Kit R&D, Part 4 – Intercooler Production Sample

The splash has been made, and those ripples have finally made their way to shore. The proverbial pond that is the auto industry is a big one, but it’s now time to see the end result of our big plans for the Stinger GT’s intercooler upgrade.

There are a few aspects that the Stinger came up short on when it was released into the wild, and we saw the intercooler being a weak link. Given its design, it wouldn’t be able to keep intake air temperatures at an appropriate level after some thrashing and turning up the boost. We last left you with the outline of the new intercooler, but now it’s time for the real deal.

Metamorphosized

Just as Kia emerged from its cocoon with the Stinger, our intercooler is also finalizing its metamorphosis as the production sample pieces arrive at the Mishimoto R&D facility. Let’s get a closer examination on what’s changed.

Most notably, it’s grown. Core size is important for keeping the charged air cool when it comes to front-mounted intercoolers, and we made sure to add plenty of that. The combination of fin surface area and internal core volume makes the biggest difference, and our new design offers a 227in² external fin surface area with a 1029in² internal core volume boasting a 74% and 94% increase in each attribute over the stock unit, respectively.

Sure, size matters for cooling, but the construction of the core also plays an important part in dissipating heat from the charged air. Where the stock intercooler utilized a lightweight tube-and-fin core better suited for commuting, we swapped in a more heavy-duty bar-and-plate core that is for spirited drives and higher boost. The only caveat to this construction is the extra weight. It’s no secret that the bars and plates pack on some extra pounds, but the benefit to the cooler intake air temperature outweigh the extra payload.

Equally as important to the cooling capacity of the core is the way in which the air flows to the internal fins. As we covered in previous segments, the stock end take design is problematic. 90° bends in the end tanks are less than ideal in terms of flow, and Dan had a much better idea when it came to the end tanks. Now sporting a 3” inlet and outlet, our intercooler has a pair of cast aluminum tanks with a much more gradual curve, negating any potential turbulence in flow.

Given the change in end tanks with our intercooler, however, the entire piping system also needed attention in order to function properly. Make sure to check out the brand new components and see just how the piping is evolving alongside the intercooler.

Our Stinger is donning it’s best Harvey Dent impression to show off how our intercooler looks installed both down to the bare bones and fully buttoned up, and our two different color options.

Thanks for Reading!

-Nick

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