The workers at ABD Racing, otherwise known as Autobahn Designs, VW tuner extraordinaire out of Riverside, California, had an epiphany one day. Everyone argues over which is better, the 1.8T or the VR6. Fed up with bench racing, ABD set to finding the answer. To do so, however, some basic decisions needed to be made.
To start with, a basic platform needed to be decided. For that, ABD chose to purchase two cars, both '02 models. The two the company chose to pit against each other were a 337 GTI with the 180 hp 1.8T, and a GTI VR6 sporting the new 24v 2.8L VR6. Stock, the VR6 has more power and will undoubtedly out pull the weaker 1.8T, so to prove that fact, we tagged along with ABD while the two stock GTIs were taken to the dyno. After the dyno, the two cars would then be taken back to ABD's home base where tons of aftermarket performance goodies would be bolted to the cars. The ultimate goal of the two cars is to see which car is faster and better once it's tuned.
At R&D Dyno in Gardena, California, we strapped both GTIs down and made a couple passes. The 1.8T GTI put down 156 hp and 161 lb-ft to the wheels. Using a standard 15-percent drivetrain loss, that means the 337 was producing 183.5 flywheel horses, and 189.4 flywheel lb-ft. Volkswagen claims the flywheel numbers to be 180 hp and 173 lb-ft. That means ABD's 337 was putting down some strong numbers
The VR6's dyno run produced 179.6 hp and 181.5 lb-ft at the wheels. Using the same 15-percent drivetrain loss, that means the VR6 was producing 211.3 hp and 213.5 lb-ft at the flywheel. Impressive knowing VW claims flywheel numbers to be 200 hp and 195 lb-ft.
Either ABD had two extraordinary VWs on its hands, or VW really underrates its cars. We know from experience that both are true. We've witnessed 337s dyno in at similar numbers, as well as number a good five horses less. This VR6, on the other hand, is definitely powerful. This is the most powerful stock 24v 2.8L we've witnessed.
To get thing rolling, ABD decided to bolt up quite a few items, so we tagged along to record it all for you. The two items that caught our eyes were an ABD Big Bore intake pipe and Quick Flow intake install on the 24v VR6, and a complete Supersprint exhaust install on the 1.8T and VR6.