To design an optimum engine intake system, a flow model for the intake manifold was developed by the method of characteristics. The flow in the intake manifold was one-dimensional, and finite difference equations were derived from the governing equations of flow. The thermodynamic properties inside a cylinder were found by the first law of thermodynamics, and the boundary conditions were formulated using a steady flow model.By comparing the calculated results with experimental data, the appropriate boundary conditions and convergence limits for a flow model were established. From this model, design variables for the intake system were investigated. The optimum manifold length became shorter when the engine speed were increased. The effect of intake valve timings on inlet air mass was also studied by this model. Advancing intake valve opening decreased inlet air mass slightly, and the optimum intake valve closing was found. The difference in inlet air mass between cylinders was very small in this engine.