I've driven this car around with a full exhaust and custom tune for nearly two years, and recently began plotting the next round of upgrades. The first 100whp over stock was pretty easy to attain, but it starts getting expensive after that, and the path forward requires weighing benefits versus compromises.
Although a stock turbo Evo X gains substantial power from tuning, the turbocharger is physically smaller than the one from the Evo IX. When pushed to higher boost levels, the intake air temperature (IAT) rises substantially as the RPM increases. The natural solution to this is a larger front mount intercooler.
I had an upgraded front mount on my VIII, and although the dyno gains weren't very high, the increase in response on the street was very noticeable. It made more sense to get one for the X considering the aforementioned intake air temperatures.
My gut reaction was actually to go to a turbocharger upgrade first, which led me to start talking to Chad Block of CBRD. After some conversation and realizing that a turbo upgrade and injectors was a little more than I could commit to financially at the time, a doorway opened: Chad is currently working on his own CBRD project Ralliart, and he decided to make a slightly smaller and better fitting FMIC for RA owners. The benefit of this to me was that his car already had an Evo X FMIC installed, which I could get for a reduced price. Another CBRD bit I picked up was their 1 piece upper intercooler pipe, and that would replace my two piece aftermarket piece.
Here's the CBRD intercooler, which dwarfs the stocker.
Three days after placing the order, my parts arrived packaged and protected very well, which I was grateful for! Chad promised this installation would not be challenging, and he was right. I'd rate it a 2.5/10 in difficulty. The hardest and most nerve-racking part by far was removing the front bumper. Part of that job requires sheer faith after removal of all bolts, grabbing the sides and pulling with gusto to free the snap locks. Fortunately, I had my father-in-law on hand to help with the removal of the bumper. Evom member i64X calls the front bumper “unwieldy” in his writeup in the X how-to section, and that is a perfect description. You definitely need a buddy to assist and remove it safely without scratching the paint on the car. Once the bumper is out of the way, replacing the intercooler is a snap. Remove coupler hoses, then pull the IC out through the bottom. Be careful you don't bang the IC against the radiator. Married men pay attention, it's best to make sure your wife doesn't come into the garage during installation. She may become alarmed if she isn't used to seeing the front end of your car ripped off.
Upper IC pipe installed.
Fitment was 10/10 for both the upper pipe and the intercooler itself. I maintained my map from Bryan (Razorlab), which we dyno tweaked, and has served me very well so far. It logged clean post installation, but some fine tuning is in order. The car is definitely more responsive on the street, and it feels a little more linear, particularly up high where the stock turbo tends to run out of breath.
Hopefully, next up for me is an upgraded turbo and injectors, I just need to save for a bit in order to make it happen. The current leading candidates are a secondhand Dominator2 or a BBX Lite.