Back in November 2020, we purchased our brand new Volkswagen MK8 Golf GTI development car to begin working on our performance upgrades for this platform.
The visual appearance of the front end seemed to divide opinion across the world. But regardless of whether you’re a fan of that (or not) there’s no doubt a significant amount of tuning potential underneath the bonnet (or hood), if the VW MK7/7.5 platform is anything to go by.
Coinciding this new project with a significant investment in an all-new array of high-end scanning and printing machinery we have been able to get straight to work. And, in a more efficient way than ever before.
New Turbo – Does this mean more performance potential for the MK8 GTI?
The MK8 GTI uses the well-proven formula of FWD with a 2.0T 4-cylinder engine, but with a new Garrett turbocharger unit. Could this new turbocharger unit mean more potential from ECU calibration? It will be interesting to see the results compared to previous models.
After some road testing in standard form (watch that VIDEO HERE), we got straight to work and no sooner was the car up on the ramp than the front end was off! This gave our in-house engineers the opportunity to compare this latest version of the famous Golf GTi model to the previous MK7.
The all-new scanning equipment allows a 3D image to be created – in this case, the engine bay of the GTI Mk8. This means there’s no trial and error fitment like in the past. The scan builds an incredibly accurate replica, which allows the engineering department to use all of the available space for uprated parts.
Our also-new Stratasys F370 3D printing machine then allows sample parts to be printed. Generated in-house so we can crack straight on with trial fitment, too. Not only that, but these parts are also capable of withstanding heat. Meaning the car(s) can be test driven on the road and dyno for development before we put the final pieces into production.
So what have we learnt so far about the GTI Mk8
Well, the good news is that our uprated MQB intercooler fits straight on to the Volkswagen GTI. But that’s about all from a direct fit hardware point of view. New throttle and charge pipes, as well as a completely new intake system, is needed. Which is what we’re currently busy working on.
As always we focus on Stage 1 development first. But at the moment the software tuning side of things is impenetrable. No one yet has full access to the latest ECU that the Volkswagen GTI MK8’s are now using. However, understanding how the stock car performs and feels is essential. Providing our calibration engineers data for future areas of improvement.
No doubt there will be some significant headroom for impressive gains over the stock GTI’s 245PS output. We are excited to see what we can achieve… and will keep you updated.
Continued Volkswagen GTI MK8 Development
Thanks in part to the new machinery we have been able to make some significant progress. Starting with the OEM+ intake, replacement airbox lid, turbo muffler delete and the throttle and charge pipe kit.
As with everything we do, extensive development is critical. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be able to make some significant advancements with the hardware.
We haven’t even touched on the uber-modern interior, digital dash, 7-speed DSG gearbox (or 6-speed manual) and expected GTi refinement yet. Suffice to say it’s a lovely place to be. Yet still divides opinion on social media.
Could this be the best GTi to date? Well, that’s one for you to fight out. The purist love for this platform is strong – but the Volkswagen group continue to amaze with their progression.
We’ll keep this blog updated so you can follow progress.
LIVE UPDATE 17/2/21 // OEM+ Development
Thanks to the 3D scanning advancements we have been able to push on really quickly with some sample air box lids and a 3D printed back hose.
We are prototyping two types of the lid, one based on the OEM style to retain that uber-subtle OEM look and one based around our Carbon Series shape, which features a much smoother design to optimise airflow.
This is a style that is proven on our Volkswagen Golf MK7 (MQB) platform and so we were able to set to work straight away with it on the MK8 GTI.
We will be heading to our external testing facility to flow test both very soon to get some scientific results.
The increased diameter bore at the back of the lid (where the back hose connects to) is less restrictive than the OEM alternative, therefore allowing more air to be fed to the turbo. More air equals more power potential. And, as soon as we can get into the ECU, our software engineers will be able to make the most of all that extra airflow.
We have also been able to press forward with the turbo muffler delete and machined turbo inlet to suit the new turbo that’s used on the MK8 GTi.
We’re pressing forward quickly with this project and will have another update for you soon. We’re working on some more 3D printed test parts and we have some more upgrades going on the car very soon.
Check back here for updates.
LIVE UPDATE 3/3/21 // Bilstein Evo S & RF0 Alloys for the MK8 GTI
So while we’re busy working away on some further hardware parts for the car it was time to get it sitting, handling (and looking) a little better.
Let’s face it – there’s always room for plenty of aesthetic improvement over the factory-spec look. Well in our opinion anyway.
To improve the ride quality, handling and ride height we’ve opted for a set of Bilstein Evo S ‘street’ suspension. These allow a ride height drop of up to 70mm (not that we’re going that low on ours).
Evo S also boasts improved ride comfort over the factory suspension, too, with fixed damper settings designed for “sporty handling” say Bilstein.
For us, Bilstein is always the number one choice. Our Volkswagen 7R sits on the more track-focused Bilstein B16 set-up, while the MK8 GTi is more road-biased making the new Evo S perfect for what we need. Also finished in this stunning new grey colour.
Straight forward install in our HQ Performance Centre with a few alterations at the end to adjust the ride height as preferred, with roughly a 30mm drop over factory.
Wheel & Tyre Upgrade
In addition to that, we fitted our ‘lucky’ MK8 GTI out with a brand new set of our 18” RF0 Flow Formed alloy wheels and 225/40ZR18 Nankang NS-2R tyres. These are spec’d to give the perfect fitment without spacers AND thanks to the Flow Forming technology the rims are super-light.
Big Weight Saving
Placing both the Volkswagen OEM GTi wheels on the scales and the 18” RF0 it soon becomes apparent just how much of a saving! The RF0 rims are 2.75KG lighter EACH (per corner), giving an 11KG total ROTATIONAL weight saving – that’s huge. And something you’ll really be able to feel on the road..
The more performance-focused tyre will also add additional stability (due to the stiffer sidewall) and improved dry weather grip over the OEM-spec Bridgestone.
Of course the final step before taking it out on the open road is to get the geo done and the alignment dialled on our in-house equipment.
What A Difference!
What a difference a drop makes! Not to mention a set of stunning (we are biased of course) 10-spoke rims. A vast improvement over the OEM set up.
Next up will be some more 3D printed parts to compliment the larger diameter air box lids that we are currently testing. Stay tuned…
What do you think to the ‘NEW look’ then?