Over the years, we’ve featured lots of big number tuner cars, and yet this VW still elicits a sharp intake of breath.
These are the kind of numbers you might expect from a Bugatti Veyron, if it was strapped to a SuperFlow four-wheel dynamometer, and if that doesn’t grab your attention, may we interest you in a subscription to Cat Fancy magazine?
Jason Koenig from Commerce City, CO, has owned this ’04 R32 since new. He had his eye on the AWD Golf as soon as it was announced, and traded in his B6 Audi A4 1.8Tq in early ’05 when a local dealer offered him one of the last remaining examples.
Up until ’09, Jason took it easy with the modification process, using tried-n-true parts for the exterior and performance. That was before the fateful day Jason met Gabe, and things have never been the same.
Gabe Adams from VW/Audi specialists Bluewater Performance in Denver, CO, drove a similar R32, so the VW enthusiasts already had something in common. But Gabe’s car was turbocharged and had a profound effect on Jason. It was what his life was lacking. Fortunately, Gabe was willing and able to help Jason begin his journey.
Eight hundred and twenty-one all-wheel horsepower. Yes, we’re repeating ourselves, but this is as good a time as any to tell the story behind how Jason’s R32 went from a mild-mannered 240hp hatchback to an altogether different animal.
Like most owners, he didn’t go straight into a major engine build. First of all, he hired Bluewater to install an entirely sufficient R32 turbo system from C2 Motorsports.
“Sufficient” remained valid for almost a year, but we all know how that story goes… Eventually, sufficient gave way to ridiculously insane.
Back at Bluewater, Jason’s R lost its stock pistons, rods, cams and valve gear, all tossed away in favor of a six-pack of forged JE pistons and Integrated Engineering connecting rods, a pair of Schrick 264/260˚ asymmetrical cams, plus a full complement of Supertech valves and springs.
Other hardware additions included a Precision 6765B dual ball-bearing turbo upgrade with a billet wheel, as well as a 38mm TiAL wastegate, larger Garrett front-mounted intercooler, Forge diverter valve and a short-runner intake manifold from United Motorsports.
Fueling the beast involved a set of gigantic 1200cc injectors mated to a Bluewater fuel rail, PRO M80 mass air-flow meter and dual Bosch 044 fuel pumps with an Integrated Engineering surge tank. This was managed by Bluewater’s E85 Flex-Fuel software.
The quoted 821awhp figure (see dyno sheet) was achieved using 25psi boost pressure and E85 fuel. So once again, VW’s 3.2-liter VR6 proves itself to be a stout platform on which to build a reliable performer.
Jason admits the vehicle is no longer a daily-driver but it definitely gets used. Getting the power to the ground through four 235/35 R19 Goodyear Eagle F1s isn’t always easy, but a DM Motorsport clutch, HPA “Agent Orange” Haldex controller and VF-Engineering mounts do their level best.
Stopping is arguably more important than almost anything else, so he added 355mm Brembo rotors and six-piston calipers to the mix, wrapping 19x9" HRE 560R forged wheels around them.
There’s one more thing Jason’s Rocky Mountain R has in common with a Bugatti Veyron; each has height adjustable suspension. The Veyron uses hydraulics to go up and down while the R32 uses air; but both achieve the same goal, right?
Admittedly, we’re going too far to find another Veyron similarity, and it’s Jason’s choice of suspension that introduces the greatest element of controversy for his project. “I don’t race the car, so I didn’t build the car to race,” he declared with a hint of a much-repeated annoyance. “I built it for me. I installed air-ride because my coilovers were too stiff and I was constantly scraping the front bumper on speed bumps and driveways, constantly rubbing the sidewalls. The air suspension is on the car out of necessity.”
We understand why air has become a source of controversy in the Euro scene, but the current systems are actually pretty good, providing a decent balance of ride and handling. Consisting of Bagyard front struts with Bilstein dampers, plus H&R rear shocks and Air Lift bags combined with Accuair E-Level management, the system provides a firm but well-damped ride.
With all its modifications, Jason’s R32 took on a life of its own, and at this point he doesn’t know when it’s going to end. In fact, he still feels there’s room for improvement. However, we’re happy to see he avoided flashy exterior mods, showing more restraint than you might expect from its spec list.
The result is a car that remains an enigma. It’s Bugatti level of power is combined with what the cynical might call a scenester’s choice of air ride. Yet Jason loves his R32 and enjoys attending local VW shows and gatherings and, at the end of the day, that is what it’s all about.
2004 VW R32
Commerce City, CO
3.2L 24v VR6 with 8.5:1 JE pistons, forged Integrated Engineering rods, 264/260˚ Schrick cams, Supertech valves and springs, Precision 6765B dual ball-bearing turbo with billet wheel, 38mm TiAL wastegate, cast turbo manifold, 3" downpipe and AR Designs stainless exhaust with 4" tip, 24x8x3.5" Garrett IC core, stainless steel piping, Forge Supersize DV and Unos manual boost controller, United Motorsports short runner intake, PRO M80 MAF, 1200cc injectors on Bluewater Performance billet fuel rail, dual Bosch 044 fuel pumps with IE surge tank, Aeromotive FPR, 8-AN braided fuel lines, Bluewater Performance FlexFuel software tune, VF-Engineering motor and pendulum mounts, 42 Draft Designs Ultimate oil catch can
six-speed manual with DM Motorsport clutch, aluminum flywheel, HPA Motorsports “Agent Orange” Haldex controller
Brembo GT brake kit with 355mm drilled front rotors and six-piston calipers, drilled two-piece rear rotors, Hawk pads
Bagyard Bomber front bags with Bilstein shocks, Air Lift XL rear bags, H&R shocks, Accuair E-level management, Accuair VU4 manifold, dual Viair 400c compressors, painted five-gallon air tank, Bluewater Performance upper and lower adjustable rear control arms, H&R sway bars
Wheels & Tires
19x9" HRE 560R forged three-piece wheels with charcoal finish, 235/35 R19 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires
Euro R32 front bumper, badgeless two-bar FK grille, Euro R32 stubby mirrors, black B-pillars, Eurogear böser hood, shaved hatch, Audi shark-fin antenna, Hella CELIS headlights and teardrop markers
New South Performance oil and boost gauges, Mk6 GTI red shift knob and boot, HPA roll-bar, rear-seat delete with false floor, relocated dual Odyssey batteries, Kenwood Excelon TV/DVD head unit
Steph, family and friends, Gabe and Andrew at Bluewater Performance (bwperformance.com)