There are times when you buy one car, but you really wanted a set of features that are available on another model.  Like, you want all the performance and upgrades of the top of the line sporty version, but you need the utility and convenience of the four door model.  Such was the case with this VW GTi.  The customer liked the look, ease of use, of the 4-door GTi, but longed for the performance of a VW Golf R.  This car was never going to see the track, but they longed to equal or exceed the performance of the Golf R.


Well, that’s what upgrades are for.  Transform this VW GTi 4-door into the same sleeper rocket that a fully tuned Golf R is.  All the normal upgrade boxes get checked:  Suspension, Brakes, Exhaust, Wheels / Style, and of course, Engine Performance.




If you are going to add gobs of power and performance (and we are), then we have to make sure the brakes are up to the task.  The stock VW GTi brakes are not.  The “go to” soluiton is Brembo, and they have just what we need.  Full “big brake kit” for the GTi.  Brembo GT kit, consisting of 4-piston calipers, upgraded performance brake pads, stainless steel brake lines, and their proven Type 3 2-piece, slotted, rotors. 



There’s even a financial advantage here…the Brembo Type-3 rotors will last beyond a single set of brake pads, even more aggressive performance pads, and don’t require replacing with every brake pad change unlike stock rotors, saving money and labor. 



To equal the upgrade on the front, the rear brakes got upgraded slotted StopTech rotors, and the same performance brake pads.


Brake fluid got upgraded (we have seven different grades of brake fluid, for this project we upgraded to Motul 660 from stock) to equal the customers use case.




There are a lot of options when considering suspension upgrades, and usually, a lot of tradeoffs.  The options are normally these:  (a) sport springs, (b) sport springs and performance shocks, (c) height adjustable springs, (d) non-adjustable coil-overs, and finally, (e) adjustable coil-overs.  We tend to lead customers to the adjustable anything option, as needs are different for everyone, and needs change.  The adjustable solution allows those needs to be met over time or if requirements change as well.



Our “go to” solution to achieve the best fit is the Bilstein PSS10 / B16 dual adjustable coil-overs (both rebound and shock compression are adjustable with a single adjustment knob).  The key to this kit though is the ease by which the ride / handling can be changed.  The KW v3 offers a similar solution, but they are often NOT easy to adjust. 


We find that customers often say they want the ride to be like “X”, and then find out they really wanted it to be like “Y”.  The Bilstein kit allows this to be altered quickly and easily.


The other main advantage of the coil-over approach is the ability to adjust the ride height. We wanted to lower the car some, not a lot, as we still wanted plenty of suspension travel, and didn’t want to lose the ease of driving into driveways and over speed bumps.  The range of adjustment in the ride height of the Bilstein kit gives us just what we needed.




This is always more difficult than you would think.  There is such a great variance in what one considers a good exhaust note vs another, along with what one considers to be too quiet while another considers an exhaust too loud.  For this customer, there were two objectives, release some more performance, while also bringing the exhaust volumne up.



Since we knew we were going to use the APR software to tune the performance, the good news here was they also had part of the solution in the exhaust as well.  As full set of upgraded “down pipes” to improve the flow of the exhaust coming out of the turbos, combined with an upgraded resonator less center section.






Besides just wanting some more stylish wheels, we needed the new wheels (18″ diameter) to ensure they could cope with the upgraded, large, Brembo brakes.  Surprisingly, not many wheels could accomplish that.  We found a great option in a set of TSW Flow Formed wheels, in an anthracite color.  Perfect fitment, clearance for the Brembo calipers and rotors, and great looking.




Starting to come together:





When it comes to choosing a software “tune” for VW or Audi, and now many Porsche’s, our “go to” solution is APR.  Proven, reliable, tested, easy to use, many stages and fuel options.


They may or may not be the absolute highest output, that’s not what matters to us.  We want the increase in power, but we want long term reliability.  We have never had any issue w any APR tune or upgrade on any of our customers cars.  We have installed LOTS of APR software upgrades, and they work, and produce great results.


Take a look at the dyno plot for their solution for this VW GTi.  Amazing….just what the customer wanted.



The good thing is they offer a Stage 2 level tune, and also one that supports 91 octane fuel (which is what we have here in California for “premium” fuel).


To make their solution even more flexible, they offer a “mobile” application that users can use to play, measure, gather data, and alter the tune at any time.  APR Mobile.



And there we have it.  A killer VW GTi…producing amazing power and acceleration, great handling, brakes that can stop and take any amount of abuse, and best of all…the car looks great.


Just what the customer wanted.  A four door VW GTi that out does a VW Golf R.



BRracing – producing killer results.