VW's 2.0-liter turbocharged direct injection engine was predicted to be both a blessing and a curse for aftermarket part manufacturers. A blessing in that the motor itself and fuel system have evolved to be more robust than the first generation 2.0, but a curse with the higher degree of programming difficulty due to more advanced encryption. In essence, it is more tunable but harder to tune. Considering these changes, we wanted to test how adept some aftermarket manufacturers are at meeting the challenge and how much better the second generation 2.0 TSI responds to aftermarket parts. Our earlier Proven with the first generation 2.0 required fuel system upgrades (fuel pumps and injectors) in order to produce decent power. In theory the second gen should be easier to squeeze power out of-throw on a turbo and some supporting mods and voila-instant power. We shall see.
Engine: 2.0-liter I4, turbocharged
Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission
Current modifications: 18-inch VMR wheels, 225/40 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW tires, H&R suspension
Dyno type: Mustang MD-AWD-500 in 2WD mode
Transmission test gear : Fourth
Temperature: 78° F
Peak power: 183 hp @ 5580 rpm
Peak torque: 194 lb-ft @ 3080 rpm
The baseline and AWE TSI K04 91 octane test utilized the same tank of 91 octane fuel. All horsepower and torque numbers are quoted at the wheels. It is also important to keep in mind that the "Mustang" dyno, when properly calibrated, produces more accurate horsepower and torque numbers. These numbers might seem low when compared to a Dynojet-roughly 10 percent, sometimes even greater if the dyno isn't properly calibrated. While the numbers matter, it's the differences between the runs that help prove or disprove the validity of the manufacturer's horsepower and torque claims.
AWE TSI K04 Kit
S3 Intercooler/AWE Turbo-Back Exhaust/ AWE C|C|B Intake/91 Octane
Peak power: 278 hp @ 5340 rpm
Peak torque: 300 lb-ft @ 4370 rpm
Peak power gain: 98 hp @ 5350 rpm
Peak torque gain: 113 lb-ft @ 4370 rpm
Parts: AWE TSI K04 Turbo kit:
turbocharger, GIAC engine management, coolant line, DV relocation kit (billet DV housing, silicone hoses), silicone discharge hose, firewall gasket, misc. gaskets, studs, bolts, clamps, nuts. MSRP: $2,495
• AWE exhaust: 200-cell HJS metal catalytic converter, downpipe, resonated front pipe. MSRP: $1,339.90 S3 Intercooler: OEM S3 intercooler, silicone hoses, clamps, billet adapter, o-ring. MSRP: $695
• AWE CCB intake: air filter, carbon fiber airbox, air pump filter, silver MAF pipe, silver air filter pipe, flex bellow, silicon reducer, clamps, brackets, nuts, bolts, zip tie, gasket, grommets MSRP: $379.95
• AWE DV w/TSI tap: housing, spring, diaphragm, zip ties, vacuum hose, clamps, boost T, bolts, electronic DV simulator MSRP: $169.90
• Additional recommended supplies: oil filter, $10; VW G12 coolant, $23; 5 liters of oil, $40
• Total parts MSRP: $5,152.75
Tools: Hose clamp pliers, (10/12/16/22mm) combination wrench, 5mm & 8mm hex head socket, (12/13/16/18/21mm) socket, T-30 torx, (M5/M8/M12) triple square, phillips and flathead screwdrivers, ratchet, extension, penetrating lubricant
Installation time: 6-8 hours
• K04 kit contains all the parts required, no additional modifications needed
• Turbo was adapted and modified from original FSI engine to be a direct bolt-on
• GIAC software requires no fueling upgrade to achieve peak performance
• All-aluminum S3 intercooler is a direct replacement for the factory unit and increases cooling capacity by 30%
•German-made 200-cell catalytic converter offers maximum flow without a CEL
•Carbon fiber airbox directs cool air from the grille and helps reduce radiant heat transfer into the intake
• Can be used with the stock airbox, making it the ultimate stealth upgrade
• Multi-piece slip-joint exhaust required a little tweaking to get everything lined up
Due to the time-consuming nature of the AWE K04 turbo kit and additional AWE parts install, we were unable to perform all the dyno work on the same day. The K04 upgrade is a standalone upgrade and AWE recommended we install the supporting modifications to demonstrate the upgrade's full potential. The baseline dyno was performed in the morning and the subsequent dyno tests were performed two days later.
GIAC Race Gas
Performance Program/Sunoco 260 GT Plus 104 Octane
Peak power: 294 hp @ 5295 rpm
Peak torque: 306 lb-ft @ 4480 rpm
Peak power gain: 23 hp @ 6300 rpm
Peak torque gain: 13 lb-ft @ 4910 rpm
GIAC Flashloader Hand-held loaded with race gas performance program
• Very easy to use-with a simple push of the "read' button the LED illuminates the current program setting, thus reducing confusion
• A variety of additional features and programs offer increased security, eliminate prying eyes, and manage power output levels
• Race gas-specific programming maximizes power gains by taking full advantage of the increased octane
• Will also work on street-legal 100 (slight reduction in power gains)
• All the bells and whistles add up to a nice chunk of change
Flashloader Hand-held: $150
Race gas performance program: $100
Installation time: If purchased separately, the upgrade takes approximately one hour
Sunoco 260 GT Plus 104 octane 5-gallon can
• Prevents excess timing retard that can reduce power
• Helps maintain power in extreme temperatures
• Contains no metal compounds that can destroy catalytic converters or oxygen sensors
• A pricey addiction
• Not street legal
The race gas performance program was installed at the same time as the original 91 octane software. So all we had to do was drain the remaining 91 octane from the vehicle's gas tank and pour in the entire five gallons of Sunoco 260 GT Plus 104 Octane.
Upon starting the stone cold GTI for its maiden voyage test drive, I heard a deep and almost troubling rumble emanating from the car's backside-approximating the sound your body makes after some bad Mexican food. But after the car warmed up, the exhaust note mellowed out and the exhaust under idle was more regular and less rumbly. Under acceleration the exhaust had a nice, even tone and deceleration was also smooth, following a classic bell-shaped sound curve. Though there was no raspiness or droning, the overall sound was on the verge of being too loud for my tastes. Right on the cusp-enjoyable to drive but definitely noticeable and could attract unwanted attention.
The GTI was equipped with 18-inch BFG g-Force T/A KDW tires and from a standstill they were able to grip the asphalt and propel the GTI forward. First gear disappeared instantly; in the blink of an eye I found myself easily shifting to third. With a solid, smooth pull to redline even with the A/C on, there was no noticeable performance drop. In low speed, higher gear situations (a great test for power and torque), I hit the accelerator and the car was still able to pull solidly-the GTI passed with flying colors.
Sometimes when you drive a modded car, it's fast but doesn't really feel like it's fast. I now know why they wanted me to put on all the bells and whistles with the KO4. Now the car is giddy fast. When you floor it, the pit of your stomach drops a bit, and you find yourself giggling like a little schoolgirl.
The 104 octane and GIAC race program added another dimension to the GTI's already stellar performance, because let's face it: more power equals more fun.