The MKV GTI is a great car. It is a sophisticated and capable platform, the perfect road warrior. Naturally there is always more to be eeked out of anything. After 2 1/2 years of owning my car, it is pretty much modded to my point of contention, bar minor details here and there. How does it stack up to the stocker?
Keep in mind that my car is definitely not anywhere close to being heavily modded. I modded it with the intention that it was going to be a daily driver with the power to squirt through traffic and occasionally fly through some canyons. It has to be comfortable and quiet.
So what have I done?
Lets start off with the engine. Everyone loves more power. The 2.0 turbo in the GTI has 200 HP and 207 ft/lbs of torque. That is plenty for a daily driver, plenty to squirt through traffic with. But not adding even a little bit more wouldn’t be much fun now would it?
So I added a BSH intake (thanks sis!) and the diverter valve kit. The powerband gets shifted slightly to the right but nothing drastic. The intake itself doesn’t really add too much power until you get chipped. The diverter valve is there as preemptive modding. Preemptive you say? Why for chipping of course. Until the recent revision D diverter valve, even stock GTI’s were ripping through them. Read the post about the dv for more info.
Now comes the fun part, the chip. The immense rush of torque from the chip is just too awesome for words. If you have the cash, this is highly recommended stuff. It turns the GTI into the ultimate daily commuter. Need to pass? No worries! Downshift and go……………………….
The chip raises the boost limit and adjusts timing to make some awesome power past about 3k rpm. A lot of what you feel is just the enormous torque swell. And what a swell it is. It really is a ton of fun. Effortless passing is effortless…
How does the GTI respond to power mods you say? It does very well in fact. With a relatively sophisticated chassis, the MKV can hold some decent power and still be well balanced. The extra power doesn’t overwhelm the chassis. The power mods I have done are very mild. The intake (BSH) hardly makes any noise. The chip doesn’t increase noise. The original, factory character of the GTI stays very much intact, but now it is more fun.
In the next installments, I’ll talk about suspension, and then all the little mods that help tie everything together.
Well, this was a one time installment…Read about why here> -A revised look as suspension modification-
I’m mostly back to stock now, barring a few parts. The stock intake has been back on with the addition of a Carbonio scoop. The stock pcv is back on. The stock springs are on with the addition of Koni Sports dampers. I have some under body braces in the mid and rear and I still have APR Stage 1 but that is pretty much it.
I have to restate that this car in stock to near stock form is fantastic as a daily driver. Engine power is not the strongest around but it has plenty of passing power and torque. You always want more (power) but not because of any particular deficiency, just human nature to want more. Objectively, the FSI just does what you ask. Plugs along in traffic, has enough power to get out of the way, and loves to play along if you’re in the mood. DSG is always fun to play with and the manual control is useful. Handling is responsive and smooth. Koni Sports add an extra level of control. It is such a well rounded package that it is hard to really fault it when you take a look at it. Of course, nothing is faultless but the faults tend to melt away. Nonetheless, it would be useless to not list them.
A few nitpicks
I really wish this engine had better gas mileage in the city. In heavy city traffic, I’ve seen mpg numbers in the low teens. Highway mpg is good enough for me but I would love to average a little closer to 30 (I average about 25 now).
The DSG transmission can get noisy/rough when being hustled at lower speeds. It doesn’t affect driving but makes the car feel rougher than it has to be.
Certain interior bits love to creak. The door seals are the biggest offenders. Noises arise from the dash when the road is rougher. Minor rattles also appear and disappear. It’s annoying because the interior has held up so well. On smooth roads, it’s all quiet though. Oh well, what can you do?
I must say that this engine requires more attention to detail than others I’ve seen (all naturally aspirated, Toyota, Hyundai). Little things like the pcv valve and the diverter valve and various sensors need to be watched more. They don’t fail too often but when they do, they can cause all sorts of weird problems, problems that a regular owner will not know to look for. The cam follower needs a little worrying and oil levels can dip below minimum in the span of an oil change. The VAG-COM diagnostics suite is worth the high price of entry if you own one of these cars. You may never have to use it but it has saved me a trip to the dealer’s many times.
My particular example of the FSI has been very reliable. Never left me stranded. If you are a diligent owner, this engine is fantastic. If you prefer to worry less, this engine may cause you more grief than you bargained for. If you purchase a car with this engine, do the maintenance required. If something needs repair, don’t hold it off. This is key to keeping everything running and repair costs low.
Don’t shy away from involvement with your car’s workings. You will detect problems faster and be armed with more knowledge when you do need to seek a shop. If you end up being able to fix it yourself, you’ll even save some money. It’s satisfying to fix a problem and not be at the dealer’s mercy. Plus, you’ll be one with your car. 😉