The ECS Tuning MK4 GTI 20th Anniversary

One of the benefits of being a producer and vendor of performance parts is the collection of performance vehicles sitting around the shop that are necessary for testing and development. Our own MK4 GTI 20th Anniversary is one of the cars that always seems to evoke powerful emotions from the ECS family. Not only is this the special Jazz Blue one of 4,000 20th Anniversary GTI’s brought to the states, but it is one of the few modified as extensively as ours is. Some purists may be salty that our MK4 GTI has a notched frame, Air Lift Performance suspension, and a host of other modifications, but we think the results were absolutely fantastic and the parts we developed, as a result, have been some of our best performing mods available to make your own unique MK4 GTI.

Our MK4 GTI features a host of performance and aesthetic improvements straight from our research and development department. Many of these parts check both boxes as both a visual upgrade and performance upgrade, which makes them exceptionally desirable for enthusiasts looking to modify their own cars.

Engine Performance:

The MK4 GTI features our Luft-Technik Intake System in Wrinkle Red as well as the Turbo Inlet Hose. These in-house designed pieces provide cool air to the turbo. Our design eliminates turbulence in the airflow dramatically while increasing the actual volume of air being sucked up by the turbo. This increases the performance noticeably and is especially effective when paired with supporting modifications and software tuning. The horsepower and torque gains measured from this modification alone are evidence as to why these intakes are such popular choices among tuners as early additions to their cars.

Our ECS Silicone Boost Hose Kit further helps airflow by replacing the charge pipes with durable silicone alternative. Silicone has a longer lifespan than the rubber piping it replaces while it withstands higher temperatures and boost pressure for added performance. This kit is a direct fit replacement designed to improve the looks and potential of your engine.

On the same lines, our Silicone Vacuum Hose Kit is also featured in the MK4 GTI. The red hoses not only look fantastic under the hood but provide a measurable increase in durability over their OEM counterparts. These hoses are also designed to fit directly as replacements for an easy fit and factory-like function with the benefit of added performance capability.

We improved the ignition potential as well with our own 2.0t Coil Pack Conversion Kit to eliminate the possibility of misfires under high RPM and boost conditions. We have found these newer coil packs retrofitted onto the 1.8T engine found in the MK4 GTI provide a better spark for more consistent ignition, especially in hard driving conditions.

Finally, our Lightweight Underdrive Pulley Set frees up horsepower by offering a lightweight alternator pulley, power steering pulley, and crank pulley for the MK4 GTI. These underdrive pulleys combine for a ratio that reduces parasitic loads, which leaves more power for acceleration. These pulleys are specifically designed to have a lower moment of inertia, as well, thanks to their light design compared to the factory pulleys they replace. These are a definite must for anyone in the early stages of modifying their own MK4 GTI.

Drivetrain Performance:

Our Performance Drivetrain Mount Kit, which includes the Pendulum Mount, Engine Mount, and Trans mount, stiffens up the driveline for reduced deflection. All these stiffer mounts help the engine stay put under acceleration and deceleration, which means more power is put to the ground rather than lost to soft factory mounts intended for comfort. The years of testing and development behind these mounts have allowed us to find the perfect balance between driveline control and a comfortable ride. Our mounts in this car are barely noticeable as harsher than their factory counterparts but offer the significant benefits of improved power delivery.

The mildly improved power and stiffer driveline are complimented by our Exact-Fit Stainless Steel Clutch Hose, which increases the pedal response of the clutch and improves the feel overall for a better driving experience. While not an absolutely mind-shattering modification, the simple addition of a better clutch hose does add enjoyment behind the wheel for improved feeling during gear changes thanks to better pedal response.

Suspension Performance:

The car is lowered (slammed) on Air Lift Performance V2 air management all around, with Koni Adjustable Shocks in the rear paired with the Air Lift airbags. The management system is now slightly outdated, but the principle remains the same: these bags allow the car to park for shows, drive comfortably on the street, or offer performance benefits for spirited driving by giving you full control over the ride height from the touch of a button. Air Lift is one of the leaders in air suspension, and their product definitely reflects that dedication to performance.

To counter body roll, we chose a 28mm Rear Sway Bar from Neuspeed. The increased diameter of this sway bar provides a stiffer feel from the rear of the car and reduces the amount of roll through the corners, compensating for the rear end’s relative height compared to the rest of the car. The adjustability means we have just as much rigidity increase as we need for our uses, and the polyurethane bushings included help keep the sway bar in place more effectively than the rubber versions seen on factory sway mounts.

Brake Performance:

The rotors on all four corners are our Geomet Coated Slotted Rotors, which resist corrosion and provide an improved stopping force compared to the OEM recommended rotors. This ensures our MK4 GTI will stop when it should with our added power and changes to suspension dynamics.

To further improve the brake feel, our Exact-Fit Stainless Steel Brake Lines feed brake fluid to each caliper and add stiffness to the brake pedal. The added responsiveness makes braking more predictable and the increased durability makes these lines more reliable than the original rubber versions.

Miscellaneous:

The banes of lowered cars are road hazards that can puncture your oil pan. Our ECS Hybrid 1.8T Oil Pan Conversion Kit features a lightweight aluminum crankcase body and a sturdy stamped steel bottom that both strengthens the whole assembly and absorbs impacts better than a single-piece casting version would. This is the perfect option to repair a damaged pan while also ensuring the same hit won’t make your engine puke its oil all over the ground again.

The Hatch Pop Kit we have raved about is naturally equipped to the MK4 GTI. The convenience of a hatch that opens automatically speaks for itself. Who has time to set their groceries or car parts down to open the trunk?

Lastly, our ECS Billet Engine Oil Dipstick replaces the brittle plastic one found in the car from the factory. It does little more than provide a durable and attractive alternative to the original dipstick, but it does match well with existing engine dress and performance modifications to speak to the level of detail attention required to make a unique and attractive car.

Wheels:

This car has seen several sets of wheels through the years. Currently, a set of 18” Style 081 Alzor wheels in matte black sit on each corner. With the car aired out, the 18×8.5 Et35 wheels sit aggressively flush and add to the chunky look.

With all these modifications and a few other beauty touches, our MK4 GTI 20th Anniversary is definitely something that makes you stop and appreciate the potential these cars have. The heritage and affordability make them fantastic platforms for enthusiasts and tuners alike, which is what makes us swoon every time we get the chance to take the car out and put it through its paces.

Want to see everything in the MK4 GTI?

SHOP NOW

Published by

Craig Daugherty

Craig Daugherty is a writer and BMW enthusiast from Nashville, TN. His writing focuses primarily on performance tuning, DIY articles, and automotive history.