Power Enhancements

I bought a Mk7 GTI because it houses VW’s most potent North American four-cylinder engine (as of this writing in 2017 and aside from the Golf R). It starts with a reportedly under-rated 220 hp and 258 lb-ft. Dynamometer testing by tuners and enthusiasts indicates that the actual output is closer to 235 hp and 270 lb-ft, figures which rival that of tuned engines of earlier generations and already more than my bought-back Stage 2 Jetta TDI. A tune alone transforms the GTI into a different car. It’s quite amazing! APR was having a sale and my work schedule allowed me to visit a tuner during the week.

I had my eye on APR for a LONG time, although I used other tuners for my TDIs. APR is the only company I considered seriously when it was time to amp-up a 2.0T. I was accustomed to being quite pleased with a 30-hp bump in power from my TDIs. APR’s basic “Stage 1” tune bumps the Mk7 GTI’s already-healthy peak output by 81 hp and 111 lb-ft, for a total of 316 hp and 381 lb-ft, even with a factory air filter and exhaust system. Believe it or not, improved fuel economy can also be had with a little self-control… OKAY… A LOT of self-control, which is nearly impossible at this point!  😉

Later, I added another 20 hp and 23 lb-ft, for a total of 336 hp and 404 lb-ft, by adding APR’s downpipe and intercooler, then flashing to APR Stage 2. The car is really responsive and eager to get me into trouble! First gear is worthless because the tires just scald, even with traction control enabled. Second gear is a little better… the wheels still spin, but not as bad. Third gear is where jail time is had!  😉  It’s very easy to quickly find myself at Virginia’s “automatic-reckless-ticket” speed of 80 mph, which comes VERY quickly during a quick pass on a two-lane highway, even with a trailer in tow. HAHA!

Naturally, the endurance of my stock clutch concerned me since I had added over 110 lb-ft to the mix. Mine lasted 15,000 miles with Stage 1 and plenty of towing putting it through its paces (34,000 miles total). I upgraded to an RSR clutch, by HS Tuning, which uses a factory dual-mass flywheel and will hold 480 lb-ft, a limit that I don’t ever expect to exceed. I’m told it feels about the same as a Southbend Stage 2 clutch, but the RSR is quiet as stock. My car still sounds like a sewing machine.  😉  I think my driving style will remain relatively unchanged, except for a few on-ramp blasts and the occasional authoritative pass. 😉 If I’m wrong, then I may need some bail money and a good attorney!

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