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Intake Manifold Materials: Which One is Best for Performance?

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Intake Manifold Materials - Which one is best for performance?

Intake manifold variations

In the realm of high-performance engines, every component plays a pivotal role in achieving maximum power and efficiency. Among these components, the intake manifold is a critical player, responsible for delivering air to the engine's cylinders. One key consideration in selecting the right intake manifold is the material from which it's constructed. At CPC Manufacturing, we understand that the choice of material can significantly impact your engine's performance. Let's delve into the world of intake manifold materials and explore their strengths and weaknesses.




  • Cost-Effective: Plastic intake manifolds are cost-effective to mass-produce, making them a common choice for Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) applications. Many stock vehicles come equipped with plastic intake manifolds.Ls1 Plastic Intake manifold

  • Design Flexibility: Plastic offers little to no limitation on design, allowing for intricate and complex shapes.

  • Standard Performance: Plastic intake manifolds are designed for standard performance output, making them suitable for everyday driving.


  • Not Suitable for Boosted Applications: Plastic intake manifolds may not withstand the pressure and heat generated in boosted (turbocharged or supercharged) applications.


Cast Aluminum


  • Cost-Effective: Like plastic, cast aluminium intake manifolds are cost-effective to mass-produce, and they are often found in OEM applications.

  • Design Flexibility: While they have some design limitations, cast aluminium manifolds can be post-cast machined, allowing for customised features.

  • Suitable for a Range of Power Outputs: Cast aluminium manifolds are well-suited for a wide range of power outputs and are suitable for many performance applications.


  • Visual Appeal: Cast aluminium manifolds can appear basic under the hood, lacking the aesthetic appeal of other materials.




  • Aesthetic Excellence: Carbon and Kevlar intake manifolds are visually stunning and stand out under the hood, making a strong statement.

  • Lightweight: These materials are incredibly lightweight, reducing the overall weight of the vehicle.Kevlar intake manifold gold anodising


  • Higher Upfront Costs: Carbon and Kevlar materials can be more expensive upfront due to the cost of materials and mold manufacturing.

  • New to Aftermarket: They have only recently become available in the aftermarket, limiting options.

Aluminum Sheet Metal


  • Low Manufacturing Costs: Aluminium sheet metal intake manifolds are cost-effective to manufacture.cast aluminium intake manifold

  • Customisable: They can be easily customised with basic tools, making them suitable for DIY projects.


  • Old School Technology: The manufacturing technology is somewhat old-school, which can limit overall design and potentially hinder performance.


Aluminum Billet


  • Highly Customisable: Billet aluminium intake manifolds offer extensive design flexibility and can be customised to suit specific performance needs.

  • Aesthetic Pleasing: They are aesthetically pleasing and can be colour-matched to your vehicle.Billet aluminium intake manifold

  • Durable: Billet aluminium is known for its durability and longevity, requiring little to no maintenance.

  • Common in Aftermarket: It is the most common material used for aftermarket performance parts, making it readily available.


  • Higher Upfront Costs: Aluminium billet intake manifolds can have higher upfront material costs and CAD/CAM design expenses.


In conclusion, the choice of intake manifold material depends on your specific performance goals and budget. Each material has its own set of advantages and limitations, making it important to consider your engine's needs and intended use. Whether you prioritise cost-effectiveness, aesthetics, or performance, there is an intake manifold material that can help you achieve your goals. At CPC Manufacturing, we offer a wide range of intake manifold options, and we are here to assist you in selecting the ideal material for your engine's performance aspirations.

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