Remember when you used to speak to people on the phone? Now with texting, emails and messengers, we don't have to talk to anybody. And the battery's probably dead from playing games, using the nav software and taking photos anyway.
So while the iPhone revolutionized personal communication, it will also transform how we interact with our modified VWs, Audis and Porsches if AutoSpeed has anything to say about it.
Mark Slazak, owner and president of AutoSpeed in Voorhees, NJ, with his team of programmers and engineers, are the people behind the entire concept. They designed, wrote and wholly created the SpeedPort iPhone app in-house. The aim is to compliment its line of SpeedPort performance software available for most late-model VAG turbo engines, as well as the Golf R32 and Audi S4 V8.
Utilizing their own proprietary SpeedData software suite, AutoSpeed can log up to 1500 simultaneous data points per second which, without getting too technical, allowed them to develop the smoothest performance tune for each application. More than just modified maps, these are completely re-written for improved performance.
To sample this new product, we needed a suitable car. So you may recognize our Mk5 GTI project. It's been a while since the car was in the magazine but it's been running strong over the past few years. The eagle-eyed among you may notice the addition of Hartmann G5 wheels, but like all projects this one has never really been 'finished.'
With the car owned by et photographer and certified Apple junky, Josh Brown, the promise of an iPhone app to access the car's computer was a powerful draw.
The SpeedPort upgrades are performed via the OBD port, so there's no need to open the ECU or physically tamper with the circuitry. The Mk5 GTI is one of many popular VW/Audi applications available, with a number of different programs included in each upgrade.
Pricing depends on the exact model, but the software for our Mk5 2.0T was priced at $599. This included a stock mode, 91-, 93-, and 104-octane performance tunes, a reduced performance valet mode as well as an anti-theft security setting.
Where the Speedport differs from other performance software is that all these options are selected through the SpeedPort iPhone app. The exact number of programs and options can vary, so check with AutoSpeed for your specific application.
Customers without an iPhone can easily change the programs with the SpeedSwitch option for laptop computers provided you have a suitable data cable. However, you won't be able to access the DataDash or fault code scanner.
The SpeedPort app is more than just a new switch for programs. If you visit the SpeedPort website and check out the video, you'll see that it also includes DataDash. This gizmo allows you to monitor (and record) engine parameters in real time. For example, boost pressure, fuel trim, engine speed, vehicle speed, air intake temp, throttle position, engine load and more can all be accessed; though not all at once - limitations on the amount of data available from the OBD port mean you can monitor up to five sources. You can also check and clear engine fault codes, although it's not intended to replace a full diagnostic scan.
Using the app is simple. It's easy to jump in and discover the applications. The primary menu with three options: Profiles (for the performance mode), Scan Code and DataDash (for monitoring engine parameters). You just select the option you desire, and are ready to roll.
The app itself costs $29.99 from the website or Apple's App Store. While the PLX cable (which connects the OBD port wirelessly to your iPhone) is $149.99 from AutoSpeed, their dealers or PLX Devices.
Even if you don't have AutoSpeed software on your VW/Audi, you can still use the iPhone app. You won't be able to change programs, but the DataDash and Scan Code functions work on most 1996-on OBD2 vehicles.
Of course, all of this would be worthless if the software didn't perform, but there is nothing to worry about; it's been impressive thus far...
The AutoSpeed software is designed to work within the limitations of the factory engine, but provide a transformed driving experience. When you step on the gas, you know it isn't stock programming.
Since Project GTI previously had APR software, we had it flashed back to 100% OEM code. In the stock mode it laid down a reasonable 189hp and 204 lb-ft on AutoSpeed's Mustang dyno. This was with all the previous parts in place, including an APR 3'' turbo-back exhaust, Forge Twintercooler FMIC and diverter valve plus a VF intake.
With no other changes, apart from the ASP stage 2 software, the power and torque increased across the board. The dyno showed 223hp and 254 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. And while an extra 50 lb-ft is very impressive, it's important not to get caught up in the 'peak' numbers game, as gains under the curve are substantially higher than that, especially from 3500-5500rpm (see chart).
During the dyno test we discovered a small boost leak, which resulted in a 2psi loss of boost pressure across the rev range. Fortunately, AutoSpeed has an on-site machine shop for custom fabrication, so were able to manufacture a boost tap to connect our GTI to the dyno's sensitive boost gauge for the most accurate monitoring.
Once hooked up we were seeing 18psi at peak, rather than the requested 20psi. This remained constant even as boost dropped up to redline. Mark estimated the lost boost could be worth an additional 10whp, so we hope to check next time we visit Autospeed's NJ HQ for a re-run once the problem is resolved.
Even with our boost leak, Project GTI has no problem ripping through the gears with a sense of urgency. The part-throttle response is excellent, with great off-idle transitions, and the power band never feels 'soft' even when you're taking it easy. Boost builds quickly and the engine is ready to go whenever you are. At full throttle, the revs climb instantly and never fail to leave a smile on our face.
In general, the feel and quality of the new software feels very similar to the previous APR stage 2+, but if anything it responds a fraction quicker. Both are very good upgrades without annoying hiccups, stuttering or flatspots.
While there are many software options available for your VW, Audi or Porsche, SpeedPort offers an excellent performance upgrade and a unique bundle of options accessed through their iPhone app, making it worthy of closer inspection. It's undoubtedly a very cool gadget for anybody looking for a control interface that also offers real-time feedback at a reasonable price.
|Stage 2 SpeedPort software||$599|
|SpeedPort iPhone app||$29.99|
|PLX Devices data cable||$149.99|