Top 10 Most Popular Mods (Upgrades) for your VW MK7
The MK7 GTI, Golf and Golf R are great and very tune-able platforms. We thought it might be helpful to put out a list of the top 10 most popular MK7 modifications (upgrades) for anyone new to the platform. This list was put together with the input from many members of the MK7 Community. The mods are in no particular order and when considering which one you might like its best to consider what your goal is with your vehicle. Since very few people have unlimited budgets to modify their car, you are going to have to make some tough choices.
If you decide that power is the most important thing to you then performance tuning software should probably be considered. If you prefer handling and or suspension modifications then maybe springs or coilovers are the best place to start. Keep in mind, this is your car and modifying it should be what you want it to be not what others think you should do first.
Performance Software (Chip) Tuning
Performance Tuning software is without a doubt the best bang for you buck when is comes to power out of your MK7 GTI. This is software that is uploaded to the engine computer which adjusts boost, timing, fuel and more to squeeze everything it can out of your 2.0T engine. You can expect to see and additional 100 hp and 89 lbft of torque. There are a few major players in the software tuning space, and they are Unitronic, APR, Eurodyne and Revo. While it is widely debated which one is better all of these will produce similar power results. This important factor when selecting software is find a software dealer who is reputable and can or will take care of you when needed.
One Important note modifying your vehicle has potential to have warranty issues take a look at this video for a more in depth look at this. Video about Chip Tuning and your VW Warranty
Suspension Tuning (Coilovers or Springs)
Lowering your vehicle is a great way to get better handling out of a MK7 GTI. You have 2 main options when it comes to lowering your MK7 GTI, Springs or Coilovers. Springs are a much more affordable option, which gets your car lower without breaking the bank. The one downside to springs is the original shocks are not tuned for the ride height you are changing to. This is not generally an issue as long as you are not going too low. If your keep the drop on your car around 1.0-1.5 in you should be fine with the factory shocks. Coilovers give you the ability to adjust the ride height of your MK7, offering the chance to get the stance your would like. There are tons of coilovers out there on the market, and they have a huge range in price . One thing to keep in mind when purchasing entry level coilovers, no engineering or track testing was done in the development of that product. Entry level coilovers are a great way to give you adjustable ride height but the handling component is going to be the major difference in the price of the coilover setup.
MK7 Golf and GTI Coilover Options
MK7 GTI Lowering Spring Options
High Performance Intake Systems
The intake on your car is intended to be a balance between comfort, efficiency and performance. For this reason the factory airbox (intake) tends to be more restrictive than the aftermarket alternatives. There are plenty of options when it comes to modifying your intake. The most economical choice would be to get a high flow filter which would replace your stock air filter. This removes the restriction created by the stock filter which does not flow as freely as the performance ones (2 versions we offer listed below). To maximize the power increase you are going to want to install a complete intake system. The removes not only the stock air filter but also the stock air box which can also be very restrictive to air flow.
VW MK7 GTI Intake Options
VW MK7 High Flow Drop In Air Filters
3" Downpipe with High Flow Cat
Installing a downpipe is a must for any MK7 owner serious about performance. The downpipe is the main restriction point in the exhaust of the MK7. Pretty much all performance downpipes are going to be 3in performance ones with or without a cat. We generally recommend installing a cat to avoid any emissions inspection related issues. Adding a downpipe coupled with software (Stg 2 for most tuners) you can expect around 27hp and 23 lbft of torque. On the MK7 most performance downpipes will also give you a little more exhaust note, even when coupled with the stock cat back. This ends up being a great addition with more power and a little bit of rasp.
Purchase a Unitronic 3in MK7 GTI Downpipe HERE
Performance Diverter Valve (GFB DV+)
The diverter valve relives boost and recirculates it when letting of the throttle, but when you are on the throttle this valve needs to be strong and hold boost. This is especially true on modified turbo cars like the MK7 GTI, as tuning software will almost certainly increase the boost pressures. The GFB DV+ for VW 2.0T (Shown above) is an incredibly popular choice as it a simple, affordable and effective way to upgrade the stock DV on your MK7 GTI.
Purchase this GFB DV+ Here
We also have a GFB DV+ Install DIY on MK7 GTI
Vent Boost Gauge
For any modified car making sure you know what the vehicle is doing is so important. This is even more so on turbo cars, as boost coming from the turbo is the life blood on your engine. Without a turbo the vehicle will make significantly less power. For this reason it is imperative you know have a boost gauge to make sure you are managing this. Most tuned MK7 GTIs will run anywhere from 21-29lbs of boost max (depending on the tune). Knowing where your vehicle will run on average will allow you to know when something is up (like a boost leak). The gauge pictured above is a P3 Cars MK7 Digital Vent Gauge, this gauge has tons more options which you can click on the product link below. One of the coolest features is a 0-60 timer which allows you to automatically test how quick your car really is.
Torque Arm Insert (Engine Mount)
The torque arm (often referred to as dogbone) mount is located in the subframe of the vehicle. This mount controls the fore and aft movement of the engine. This is especially important upon launching or acceleration, as when you are accelerating the engine wants to torque towards the rear of the vehicle. This torquing with this stock mount can create wheel hop which will adversely affect the acceleration of your MK7 GTI. Most torque mounts are a pretty affordable way to help you put your power to the ground. They are generally inserts that fill the gaps in between the stock mount with a polyurethane which helps tighten up the sloppiness. Please note that this modification while being wildly popular can create more vibration in the vehicle.
Purchase a Stage 1 MK7 Torque Arm Insert (Mount) HERE
Purchase a Stage 2 MK7 Torque Arm Insert (Mount) HERE
Front Mount Intercooler
The factory intercooler can often become heat soaked. Heat soaked defined by Garrett is "When the intercooler can't dissipate the heat that it absorbs from the turbo fast enough. When an intercooler can't cool the charge air by removing the heat from it, it loses its effectiveness. This explains why turbo cars tend to run slower or have slightly less power when the weather is warm." The way to solve this is to upgrade your intercooler to a thicker and or more efficient intercooler. This allows the engine to get cooler air, which is more dense and helps make more power. Check out this article where we have more detail about VW MK7 Intercoolers.
Intercooler Options for your MK7 GTI
Performance Rear Sway Bar
Rear Swar bars are a great way to flatten your MK7 out in turns. This will help decrease body roll and make the vehicle more stable. A rear sway bar on your MK7 is without a doubt the easiest way to improve the handling on your car with minimal cost or labor to install.
European LED Tail Lights for MK7 GTI
LED Tail Lights are without a doubt one of the most popular exterior modifications on the MK7. Shown above are the 3 versions available. To get complete functionality you will need a wiring harness and Take a look HERE for more details about installing MK7 LED Tail Lights on your car.
MK7 LED Tail Light Options