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AEM ETI Air Intakes & MagnaFlow Cat-back Exhaust System

Allowing our 370Z Nismo to breathe better in seek of more horsepower

Mar 13, 2011


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Pretty much everything has been said about intake and exhaust systems by now. By replacing the factory-equipped units, one hopes to increase airflow and decrease exhaust backpressure, allowing the engine to churn out some extra ponies for your enjoyment.

Sounds simple enough, and it usually is. However, some cars, such as the Nissan 370Z, are extremely finicky when airflow is altered, especially around the MAF sensor area. The ECU doesn’t like different readings, and the usual result is less horsepower than you started with.

AEM has gone to great lengths to remedy this problem by introducing electronic tuning to its intake systems. A black box is connected to the MAF sensor and ensures that the ECU still sees the airflow counts that are within factory calibration, while the larger AEM intake tubes provide more airflow into the engine, resulting in more power. It’s a great and, best of all, safe solution for adding intakes to your 370Z.

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The Nismo Z already comes with a great flowing exhaust system, but MagnaFlow set out to add more power and sound with its stainless steel dual 2.5-inch exhaust system. Using all mandrel-bent piping and a high-flow muffler, MagnaFlow’s exhaust system will wake up your Z from its sedate-sounding stock exhaust sound to a much more lively note.


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With our Nismo Z in stock form, it belted out a solid 303 whp and 249 ft-lbs of torque on Road Race Engineering’s dynapack dyno. On went the MagnaFlow exhaust system, which is a very straightforward and simple install. MagnaFlow uses a slip-on style system to link the piping together, and it allows adjustment in the pipes to get the fitment perfect.

Compared to the Nismo Z exhaust, the MagnaFlow sounds much throatier and more aggressive but without any raspiness or drone during cruising. It’s the perfect blend between being able to hear it and enjoy the sound without being overbearing.

It was back onto the dynapack shortly after the install to see if the exhaust would pick up any more power. We really weren’t expecting much since the Nismo Z exhaust is exceptionally well designed already. After several pulls, the best we could muster was 3 whp and 3 ft-lbs of torque (up to 307 whp and 252 ft-lbs). Mike Welch, owner of RRE, noticed that the ECU richening up the air/fuel mixture with the MagnaFlow compared to the Nismo, which could count for a few ponies, but we’re more happy with the brilliant exhaust note than the small pick up in power.

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For the AEM cold air intakes to be installed, removal of the front bumper is required all in all, you’ll need a good morning to get the intakes seated and everything back in place. On the dyno, the intakes really woke the VQ up by belting out a peak 321whp and 258 ft-lbs of torque. That’s a healthy 18-whp and 9ft-lbs gain. On the street, the Z feels like it revs quicker through the mid to low range. When we punched the throttle before, the Z felt a bit sedate now the intakes provide a great growl while the exhaust roars to life, enhancing the driving experience dramatically. We think there’s some more power to be had from this engine, but that’s going to require ECU tuning, and the folks at Nismo have done such a great job that we aren’t sure it’s worth tinkering with for modest gains, especially when the Z is already so much fun to drive with the new mods.

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Test Mule
’10 Nissan 370Z Nismo Edition

3.7-liter VQ37DE DOHC 24-valve V-6

Relevant Mods

Key Features

AEM ETI Cold Air Intake

  • New electronically tuned sensors eliminate the need for any tube downsizing at the MAF sensor, resulting in more airflow
  • Replacement washer fluid bottle included
  • Dry flow air filters require no oil and are easy to clean

MagnaFlow Stainless Steel Exhaust System

  • Dual 2.5-inch design leading back to a single muffler with 4-inch tips
  • 100 percent stainless-steel, mandrel-bent construction
  • Lifetime warranty


Hawthorne, CA 90250
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Road Race Engineering
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670



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