If you are one of the growing numbers of MK7 GTI owners, then chances are you love the car for its quirky responsiveness, convenience, and of course the 2.0T gen3 engine powering the little hot hatchback. For the everyday driver, you can’t ask for a much better package. The MK7 GTI, like its predecessors, is more than just a sporty daily driver. The beauty of the GTI name is that it provides exhilarating thrills behind the wheel and offers a fun driving experience without sacrificing cabin space or your savings account. But what if you want to have a little more fun? The aftermarket tuning community loves the GTI and gives owners the ability to make it something incredible. With a little advice from us here at ECS Tuning, we can help you add over 150HP easily from the little GTI and turn it into a completely different car.

While the MK7 GTI it isn’t as powerful from the factory as it’s angrier brother, the Golf R, the GTI still offers quite a punch in its stock form. With the IS38 turbocharger from the Golf R, you can replace your factory IS20 turbo to increase the boost dramatically. Our IS38 Turbo Upgrade Kit is everything you need to perform the upgrade mechanically. This kit will work with your factory intake, downpipe, and intercooler, but for real power, we will need to address those factors as well. The provided hardware, gaskets, seals, and spark plugs allow you to physically interchange all necessary components to complete the procedure to get your build underway.

The IS38 turbo upgrade will, of course, require ECU tuning. We have had incredible success with the APR IS38 programming. From their tests, the software provides an increase in horsepower from your now IS38-equipped 2.0T that pushes the peak output to 386 HP on 93 octane fuel. This massive gain takes your 230 HP engine and adds over 150 HP reliably while retaining the factory downpipe and exhaust. However, for the best results, we still have some work to do.

A performance intake, like our Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Air Induction System, will improve airflow and is necessary for using the IS38 APR software. With this less restrictive intake, your air volume and rate of flow will increase and intake air temperatures will decrease, providing a much-needed increase in efficiency for your MK7 GTI.

Beyond the intake, we highly recommend adding a better flowing downpipe as well. While you can use the factory downpipe with the modifications we have already covered, you will see the biggest improvements when your exhaust flow rate is optimized. Reducing the restriction further with our Turbo Muffler Delete will also give you the best exhaust flow as well as smile-inducing turbo spool noise as you depress the throttle.

Finally, in order to ensure maximum turbocharger efficiency, we need to provide the best cooling possible to the pressurized air being fed to the engine by the turbo. When turbos compress air, they allow more air and thus more fuel to be introduced into the combustion chamber for a bigger explosion. This is the basic principle behind forced induction. When air is compressed, however, that generates heat as the molecules present in the air are squeezed together and create friction. A better intercooler and more efficient intercooler piping will allow your intake air to stay colder and provide the most power. The Neuspeed kit is specifically designed to provide the best cooling for your IS38-equipped MK7 GTI and is the one we recommend using for your build.

With the bigger IS38 Turbo Upgrade Kit, a performance downpipe, Turbo Muffler Delete, Neuspeed Intercooler Kit, and APR IS38 software, your GTI will be sitting pretty with nearly double its factory horsepower. This series of upgrades is not only the best way to achieve mind-boggling power out of the little four-cylinder but is also our recommended method for doing so reliably. Driving to and from work with another 150HP at your disposal sounds a lot more fun, right?