Every so often, a product comes along that sets a new standard. When ProCharger launched its i-1 this year, it did just that. Never before has a supercharger been offered with adjustability of any type—much less on the fly from inside the car. But the i-1 does. (Editor's Note: In case you missed it, check out "Innovation of Power" in the May '13 issue.)
Certainly, having the ability to adjust the ratio of your supercharger's transmission alone is a technological breakthrough. But ProCharger has gone a step further than that. At the heart of the adjustability is the variable-ratio transmission, which is controlled electronically from inside the car. The standard control is a knob, and optional is a touch-screen. But why is the adjustability a benefit?
At low rpm, the electric motor can ramp up the supercharger speed, making full boost available at a moment's notice. This is how Competition Mode works. On the other hand, if you're just cruising down the highway, you can switch to Touring Mode, which reduces the ratio, lowering boost. This conserves fuel and makes for a quieter ride.
Or if you prefer, you can select Sport Mode, which behaves more like a typical centrifugal supercharger would. And if you opt for the touch screen, you get a Custom Mode option, which can be programmed to your liking. And if you want to change modes, you can at any time you'd like, while parked or on the fly.
There might be some that shy away from it because of the unknown, but many will simply revel in its abilities. Besides, ProCharger spent over four years doing R&D before it launched this product—you can even opt for the 3-year warranty.
In theory, the i-1 is the supercharger that we've all been waiting for. But just how does it perform on the dyno, street, and track? There's only one way to find out, so we ordered a kit and had it shipped to Lamotta Performance in Longwood, Florida. There, AJ Tompkins offered up his '11 GT for us to molest. With only a clutch upgrade, axle-back, and shifter, AJ's GT was the perfect candidate for this install. With these mods, it made 360 rwhp and 349 lb-ft of torque.
To give us a hand, ProCharger sent Performance Technician Tyler Logan to assist with the install. In under a day and a half, we were back on the dyno. We only had to cut on the front bumper cover and the hood insulator—other than those two things, everything else simply bolted on or plugged in. Considering the intricacy of the kit and the size of the supercharger unit, it fit really well and installed easily.
The kit (PN 1FR215; $8,565) comes with everything you see here, including the handheld tun
On the dyno, power output was up from 360 to 555 rwhp, and torque production peaked at 526 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm. On the street, mode changes were made easily, and differences in each mode was noticeable. On a scorching-hot track day at Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR), it went a best of 11.87 at 121.77 mph.
"Given the 50-plus percent power gain on the dyno, it makes sense that we picked up 13-14 mph and around a second and a half at the track, despite the bad air," said Ken Jones of ProCharger. "It's impressive that not only can you bolt on nearly 200 rwhp to an otherwise-stock 5.0 like AJ's, with only 7.5 pounds of boost, but our 5.0 Mustang customers with i-1's are also reporting that their highway fuel economy has increased by 2-3 mpg."
Stay tuned as we crank up the boost on AJ's GT and push the i-1 to make some serious power in an upcoming issue.